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School duty to provide PPE to staff

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Rott Weiler, Aug 27, 2020.

  1. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Now that schools are starting to tell staff that they must wear masks in school it's worth knowing that the law is that if the employer makes it a requirement to wear PPE then

    (a) the employer must provide the PPE, and
    (b) the employer cannot charge for it.

    It was different when schools were saying 'you aren't required to war masks but you can if you want to'. But as soon as they make it a requirement (even if it's only a requirement in some parts of the school, eg outside classrooms) H&S law kicks in and the school must provide free of charge. Provide to employees, no obligation to provide to pupils.

    HSE confirmation and guidance here

    https://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/faqs/ppe.htm
     
  2. averagedan

    averagedan Established commenter

    This is one of those things that you wonder why it hasn't already happened.... We handed out masks last year for the staff looking after the key worker groups.
     
  3. thejudgesscoresarein

    thejudgesscoresarein Established commenter

    IMHO, these should have been rolled out to schools back in April and May. Not now in September.

    I retired in July and then, there was no comms regarding PPE. Although most of us pretty much have our own PPE now in line with current legislations, but staff cannot be forced to use their own.

    I have been speaking with the headteacher who officially takes over my role from the 1st September, they mentioned that the school had received a significant amount of PPE delivered for the staff last week.
     
  4. celago22

    celago22 Established commenter

    That's good to know--thanks.
    I agree, PPE should have been provided way back in March!
     
  5. install

    install Star commenter

    Imagine the member of staff that doesn’t have their own mask with them though. There will be some leaders cutting costs by providing no masks and demanding that staff wear their own. With Unions so weak I cannot see a school employee arguing if no masks are provided for teachers to use. And I can see most bringing their own out of common sense and even if their bosses are too tight or to forward thinking to have ordered any.

    Even then, are employers allowed to wash them if provided by their school and will these be daily masks?
     
    Rott Weiler likes this.
  6. install

    install Star commenter

    edit

    Even then, are ‘employees’ allowed to wash them if provided by their school and will these be daily masks?
     
  7. averagedan

    averagedan Established commenter

    I should hope so.... Fabric masks are pretty useless if you just keep them on without washing them.
     
  8. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Which schools have said this?
    No one asked about it yesterday or today in the union zoom meetings, which would be odd if this was a trend.

    I imagine most staff would prefer to wear their own, or would refuse point blank unless school provided one.
     
  9. install

    install Star commenter

    Exactly. So where it’s a demand to wear them, employers would need to provide more than 1 mask per teacher. Let’s say 3?

    Indeed one wonders if all teachers will receive training and get checks that they are wearing masks properly too. One would hope so. I somehow doubt it.
     
  10. install

    install Star commenter

    Several secondary schools and academies I am aware of have asked staff to bring their own. Most likely to wear in corridors and crowded places. I agree many staff would most likely prefer to wear their own - but the choice would be good. And one wonders about the quality of masks that staff would decide to wear anyway. Clearly in places the Unions are not asking staff either about this anyway and are keeping their weak stance on employer provision of PPE. What interesting will be if training and checks will be done ( where the demand is to wear them) to see if they are being worn correctly.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2020
    agathamorse likes this.
  11. friedgreentomatoes

    friedgreentomatoes Star commenter

    My school today said masks would be mandatory in corridors, staircases and "communal spaces".
     
    agathamorse and install like this.
  12. hhhh

    hhhh Star commenter

    I would hope that schools provide ones which have clear sections for the mouth-so they can communicate with students. Even if it's only in the corridors (and who knows if it will soon be in all classrooms too), deaf children who are just starting in Year 7 are scared enough, and as the Children's Society says, Deaf children, and those with certain SEND, might as well not be in school if teachers wear opaque masks. They can be cleaned quite easily too.
     
  13. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    No idea! I've seen it reported though.

    If yours doesn't you can ignore my thread!
     
    agathamorse and install like this.
  14. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    As HSE says on the link in post #1

    "Employers should, therefore, provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and training in its usage to their employees...."
    You'd hope that on such a key legal requirement unions would be onto it straight away if schools weren't complying with their legal H&S duty. Wouldn't you?:)
     
    bajan and install like this.
  15. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Another thought. If the school makes mask wearing a requirement but staff have to buy their own and school refuses to reimburse cost is the cost of buying masks to wear in school tax deductible? Keep those receipts!
     
    bajan, agathamorse and install like this.
  16. install

    install Star commenter

    Agree. Sadly in some schools (not all) we know CEOs/HTs can get away with this. Some may even have it as been ticked off on their minutes as being done thinking they will get away with it once time has passed. The Unions are incredibly weak.
     
  17. ACOYEAR8

    ACOYEAR8 Star commenter

    I do not know if PPE will be provided, though pretty certain it will be if required, but i'm not waiting to discover the answer. I've got my own.
     
    install likes this.
  18. install

    install Star commenter

    Agree. Again I think many schools will not in reality buy masks in for their front line staff. They may for the HT and Senior Staff (who ironically are hiding away in offices ) and possibly admin -front line staff. That’s life in some schools these days.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2020
    celago22 likes this.
  19. install

    install Star commenter

    Schools in areas seem to be deliberately silent on the matter when it comes to buying them in.

    I know many schools where masks won’t be provided by the employer. I think staff prefer their own but the choice would be good. I also doubt very much if personal masks will even be checked to see if they are the proper ones or are been worn correctly.
     
  20. ACOYEAR8

    ACOYEAR8 Star commenter

    This is the issue with masks for students.
    Checks that masks have not been worn continuously all week ?
    Checks that masks are worn properly and handled properly ?
    I'm all for checking tbh. Had a student yesterday, mask was too big for him, called home and explained, no issues.
     
    install likes this.

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