A safe working environment is important for all workers. That includes ensuring schools are safe for students, school staff and visitors.
There are a number of resources available for school boards, principals and teachers to help maintain a safe working environment:
The Ministry of Labour works to advance safe, fair and harmonious workplace practices that are essential to the social and economic well-being of the people of Ontario.
Check out this video and watch as a Ministry of Labour inspector explains what he looks for when visiting chemistry labs and shop classes in schools.
The ministry also offers resources, such as Live Safe, Work Smart — a set of resources for school staff. Although Live Safe! Work Smart! refers to earlier versions of the curriculum, it suggests lessons and activities that may be useful for teachers and students.
To provide a safe and suitable learning environment for school staff and students, it is critical that classroom practice and the learning environment complies with relevant federal, provincial and municipal health and safety legislation and by-laws, including:
The Ministry of Labour provides links to health and safety system partners, including:
Public Services Health & Safety Association serves Ontario's public service sectors, including universities, colleges, school boards, municipalities, health and community care organizations, emergency services and First Nations. They help organizations to identify and reduce workplace risks and hazards to prevent injuries, illness and disease.
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board provides no-fault workers' compensation and promotes workplace health and safety. For information about prevention, claims forms, health issues, return-to-work programs, and links to other health and safety organizations, visit the WSIB website.
The School Boards Co-operative Inc. also offers services to school boards in maintaining a healthy workplace, including attendance support, WSIB claim management, health and safety, and actuarial services. Visit the website for resources.
Health and safety knowledge and skills are part of the mandatory learning expectations in the curriculum. It is part of every revised elementary and secondary curriculum policy document in a variety of ways — in a section on Health and Safety in the program planning chapter of each document and in the learning expectations, examples and teacher prompts.
Safety is addressed in more detail in subjects such as:
Students involved in cooperative education and work experience must receive instruction on health and safety in the workplace. This includes students working towards a Specialist High-Skills Major who must receive health and safety training relevant to the sector in which they are specializing.
For additional information, see:
Memos from the Deputy Minister to Directors of Education on student and staff safety: