ECP recommends that due care and consideration is given to the receiving of dangerous goods at school reception areas.
This is certainly a consideration any Board of Trustees needs to take account of as the potential liabilities are considerable.
Reception areas are frequented by untrained staff, unwitting members of the public (even pre-schoolers who may be with parents) and school children.
School receptionists are receiving dangerous goods and they are not qualified in their handling of these hazardous chemicals.
In case of a spillage or breakage of any dangerous goods, are there safety procedures in place to deal with an emergency?
It is strongly recommended that a safety cabinet is present at a reception area for the storage of dangerous goods prior to their collection by trained technicians.
Ideally there should be two small cabinets to keep separate classes of dangerous goods e.g. acids and alkalis.
A storage cabinet will:
1. Isolate any problem e.g. breakage and subsequent leakage
2. Prevent tampering by irresponsible children
3. Prevent accidental contact by members of the public.
The school reception staff should be given a certain amount of training to familiarise themselves with chemical spill risks and the importance of using safety cabinets for dangerous goods storage while the goods are at reception. Consideration should be given to a proper goods receiving location correctly signposted and accessible to chemical couriers.
It is recommended that a dangerous goods certifier inspect a school receiving area and suggest procedures to be followed to minimise any risk.
You should contact several certifiers to discuss which services they offer and what fees apply. Search for a Test Certifier.
There should also be an Approved Handler at each school so there is someone to advise, for instance, reception staff.
To check if you need an approved handler, use the online hazardous substances calculator to work out which key HSNO controls you need in place at your workplace. You can search the Environmental Protection Authority's Approved Hazardous Substances with Controls register to search for specific substances. The register lists the substance's classification and all controls placed on it -