Principles of Risk Management for schools ISO 31000:2009 Risk Management

By Outback Safety / 1 July 2015

Risk management (RM) is:

  • a systematic process of threat identification, assessment and control
  • which seeks to prevent or minimise the potential consequences to school activities
  • without diminishing the curriculum’s intent.


Principle 1: Risk management creates and protects value.

Risk management contributes to the demonstrable achievement of objectives and improvement of performance in, for example, human health and safety, security, legal and regulatory compliance, public acceptance, environmental protection, product quality, project management, efficiency in operations, governance and reputation.

Principle 2: Risk management is an integral part of all organizational processes.

Risk management is not a stand-alone activity that is separate from the main activities and processes of the organization. Risk management is part of the responsibilities of management and an integral part of all organizational processes, including strategic planning and all project and change management processes.

Principle 3: Risk management is part of decision making.

Risk management helps decision makers make informed choices, prioritize actions and distinguish among alternative courses of action.

Principle 4: Risk management explicitly addresses uncertainty.

Risk management explicitly takes account of uncertainty, the nature of that uncertainty, and how it can be addressed.

Principle 5: Risk management is systematic, structured and timely.

A systematic, timely and structured approach to risk management contributes to efficiency and to consistent, comparable and reliable results.

Principle 6: Risk management is based on the best available information.

The inputs to the process of managing risk are based on information sources such as historical data, experience, stakeholder feedback, observation, forecasts and expert judgement.

However, decision makers should inform themselves of, and should take into account, any limitations of the data or modelling used or the possibility of divergence among experts.

Principle 7: Risk management is tailored.

Risk management is aligned with the school’s external and internal context and risk profile.

Principle 8: Risk management takes human and cultural factors into account.

Risk management recognises the capabilities, perceptions and intentions of external and internal people that can facilitate or hinder achievement of the school’s objectives.

Principle 9: Risk management is transparent and inclusive.

Appropriate and timely involvement of stakeholders and, in particular, decision makers at all levels of the school, ensures that risk management remains relevant and up-to-date. Involvement also allows stakeholders to be properly represented and to have their views taken into account in determining risk criteria.

Principle 10: Risk management is dynamic, iterative and responsive to change.

Risk management continually senses and responds to change. As external and internal events occur, context and knowledge change, monitoring and review of risks take place, new risks emerge, some change, and others disappear.

Principle 11: Risk management facilitates continual improvement of the school.

Schools should develop and implement strategies to improve their risk management maturity alongside all other aspects of their school.

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WHS in Schools: Excursions for NT schools

By Outback Safety / 21 April 2015

More and more teachers in the Northern Territory choose to leave the classroom to provide the ultimate learning experience for the students and that is great.

With a risk management focus, the vast majority of teachers researching and planning for students to leave the classroom request only two documents from potential providers, that is, their “risk management documentation” and public liability insurance.

Ideally, school should have the following policies and procedures relating to risk management during excursions as well as First aid kits:

  1. Emergency Management Planning Procedure together with list of phone numbers (crisis directory)
  2. Parent/Carer Consent
  3. Planning and Approvals
  4. Staffing and Supervision
  5. Student Medical Information
  6. Student Preparation and Behaviour
  7. Accident Recording and Reporting
  8. Emergency Management Planning Procedure together with list of phone numbers (crisis directory)
  9. First Aid Needs
  10. Health Care Needs
  11. Health Support Planning Forms
  12. Portable First Aid Kits

Schools should also be able to enter into dialogue about safety with a provider, asking about the company’s safety track record – how many first aid incidents there have been in the past twelve months; how many of these have required further medical assistance etc. (A provider’s response to this request is also the ideal way to find out how that company values safety and risk management).

A second example of good safety management from school executives, principals and members of the board pertains to how much they value the experience being undertaken and how much they are willing to pay for safety. What it should represent is value for money – correct safety measures = quality risk management = value for money.

A third example of good safety management is evident when an organisation considers the time of year they choose to participate in activity outside the school grounds. Important questions need to be asked in regards to weather conditions. Will it be too hot? Will participants more likely suffer from sun exposure?

To ensure the health and safety of students and staff, schools are required to proactively manage all aspects of excursions. The school’s duty of care to students extends to school excursions, SSTs and camps, which are integral to students’ educational programs. Activities conducted away from schools may increase risks and therefore the standard of care required must reflect the increase in identified risks.

Schools must be able to demonstrate that activities have been thoroughly planned to ensure that students, staff and others will be safe whilst undertaking the activity. Any potential risks must have been identified and managed and there must be a planned response in case of an emergency. However, documentation need not be excessive but it has to be comprehensive enough.


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Work placements – Obligations of an educator (WHS in NT schools)

By Outback Safety / 10 March 2015

Does school have an obligation to a student if the school provides the work placement in the Northern Territory?

While some might argue that school is not responsible, prevention is always better than cure. So, there are a number of considerations that both employers and educators will need to take into account before the work placement:

  • Does the workplace have a documented WHS policy, developed in consultation with employees, stating a commitment to a safe workplace?
  • Is there a process for consulting with all employees on WHS matters and enabling employees to report hazards?
  • Is there a specific induction programme for workplace students and does it include training on evacuation and emergency procedures, and safe and correct work practices, including the use of tools, machinery and equipment?
  • Are all foreseeable hazards that may cause injury to work placement students and other workers identified and controlled?
  • Are records of previous student placements including time spent at the workplace, details of induction, training, incidents and injuries reviewed?
  • Does the workplace have sufficient staffing resources to provide skilled and close supervision that students on a work placement are likely to require?

These are just a couple of questions schools might consider while providing work placement.

It is important to remember that for many work placement is the first taste of employment and the student will not be able to compare this experience to any other experience in his life and that is why students are particularly vulnerable to unsafe practices.

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Work Health and Safety in Schools

By Outback Safety / 23 February 2015

safety school

Schools are in fact quite high risk environments with a lot of various interests intertwined together.

Now when harmonisation has arrived – with the exception of Western Australia and Victoria all jurisdictions in Australia are now bound by the provisions of the harmonised work health and safety legislation. All businesses or undertakings operating in NSW, ACT, Queensland, Northern Territory, South Australia and Tasmania, including schools, must now comply with the legislation.

As was identified by SafeWork Australia a good school safety management system will:

Ensure health and safety responsibilities are identified and known, including responsibilities set out in health and safety legislation.


Have senior managers taking an active role in health and safety.


Encourage supervisor involvement in health and safety.


Have health and safety representatives who are actively and broadly involved in health and safety management system activity.


Have effective health and safety committees.


Have a planned approach to hazard identification and risk assessment.


Give high priority and consistent attention to control of hazards at source.


Have a comprehensive approach to workplace inspections and incident investigations.


Have developed purchasing systems, including contractor management solutions.

Do you know whether your school’s safety management system will measure up? How can you find out? As specialists in providing health and safety consulting services to the education sector we can assist by providing the following services in addition to helping you to build the above system:

  • safety management system assessment (measurement, compliance and development)
  • operational risk assessments
  • health and safety training and coaching
  • safety culture development

We can measure your existing safety management system’s capability and, if needs be, help you achieve compliance, best practice or certification level in Safety. Call now for a free, no obligation consultation: 8911 0408 or 1300 856  310 0 or email

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