EIS: councils must update teachers’ risk assessments

A number of local authorities in Scotland are failing in their duty of care to their teacher employees with regards to individual risk assessments.

Saturday, 10th October 2020, 7:30 am
Larry Flanagan, EIS general secretary, said: “It is simply unacceptable for local authorities to fail to keep individual risk assessments for teachers up-to-date."

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) has written to all directors of education to highlight that individual risk assessments must be updated to take account of the rapidly evolving circumstances related to Covid-19.

A recent survey of teachers across Scotland, carried out by the EIS, indicated that 16 per cent of teachers were in Covid-19 ‘at-risk’ categories, four per cent were in a shielding category prior to August 1 and one per cent identify as Black and Minority Ethnic (BME).

These are the groups of teachers for whom updated individual risk assessments are an issue of particular concern, given the higher risk Covid-19 poses to people in these categories.

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Larry Flanagan, EIS general secretary, said: “Local authorities have a clear duty of care to the teachers that they employ.

“It is simply unacceptable, and a breach of that duty of care, for local authorities to fail to keep individual risk assessments for teachers up-to-date to account for the changing risk factors associated with Covid-19.

“A failure to review risk assessments in light of significant change would mean that risk assessments would not be suitable or sufficient in terms of Health & Safety at work regulations.

“Additionally, it would also be at odds with current advice from Public Health Scotland.

“Given the rising level of infection across the community, it is essential that local authorities update their individual risk assessments to ensure that the staff in our schools remain safe in their places of work.”

The EIS has isued a warning to local authorities that, where they have failed in their duty of care, it will move to initiate collective grievances against them.