School operations

Environmental Hygiene

1 Identify potential exposure

The principal and/or their delegate, in consultation with the Health and Safety Representative (HSR) and employees, must identify all potential contaminants that employees may be exposed to in the school.

In all instances the principal and/or their delegate must record the identified contaminants in the ‘Hazard Description’ column of the OHS risk register (XLSX)External Link and assess the level of risk and document risk controls.

Examples of contaminants that may be found in the school include:

  1. Physical:
    Radiation, Vibration, Temperature, Light / UV, Humidity, Ventilation, Noise (see Noise Management Policy)
  2. Chemical:
    Vapour, Gases, Dust, Mist, Fumes, Corrosives, Solvents
  3. Biological:
    Fungi including Mould, Bacteria, Mites, Yeasts, Viruses, Enzymes, Body fluids

The principal and/or their delegate should consider all means of exposure when identifying hazards, for example, inhalation, ingestion, absorption and injection. Contaminants may be identified when:

  • previous school monitoring results are reviewed
  • an incident or illness is reported in the school
  • requested by regulatory authorities or external auditors
  • a new task or chemical is introduced into the school
  • the work environment is changed e.g. suspected mould (see Note below)
  • new or additional information relating to acceptable exposure standards becomes available.

Note: Mould is not always easy to recognise. It often appears to be a stain, smudge or discolouration. The most common moulds are black, green or white. However, mould can be many other colours ranging from grey to orange to brown. Mould is associated with damp buildings and is commonly found:

  • on roof materials above ceilings
  • around windows
  • near water fountains
  • on walls and ceiling tiles
  • in books and carpet.
Chapter 1 of the Environmental Hygiene Procedure on identifying potential employee exposure to contaminants in schools

Reviewed 30 April 2024

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