Risk assessment and geography teachers: a survey
Recently the issue of health and safety procedures on field trips and school visits has come to the fore, as a result of a series of tragedies involving the deaths of pupils. A review of some of the recent court cases and inquests involving the victims of field trips was undertaken. This indicated that schools and teachers are failing to implement risk assessment procedures which are a requirement of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The research focuses on the perceptions and practices of geography teachers as leaders of field trips. A central question is whether or not geography field trips are operating to acceptable safety standards. A questionnaire was constructed which set out to explore a sample of Northern Ireland geography teachers' attitudes to issues of liability and risk assessment. The findings indicate that teachers' compliance with Regulation 3, the requirement to conduct adequate risk assessments is variable, and a small proportion never undertake any risk assessments. The majority of respondents indicated that they had not received any training in conducting risk assessments. The findings raise concerns about the self-regulation of safety procedures by teachers on field trips.
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