School operations

Outdoor Activities and Working Outdoors

Some school staff, such as maintenance workers, gardeners and PE teachers, may be required to work outdoors on school grounds for extended periods of time, exposing them to further risks.

The principal or their delegate must work with relevant staff or health and safety representatives (where elected) to identify hazards and mitigate these risks.

Some common outdoor activities undertaken by school staff in which hazards may be identified can include, but are not limited to:

  • when supervising students during scheduled breaks (for example, lunchtime or recess)
  • when conducting outdoor lessons (for example, PE or science)
  • when conducting outdoor sports and games
  • during school fetes, sports carnivals or other events
  • during working bees and general maintenance and gardening.

Hazards associated with outdoor activities can include, but are not limited to:

  • traffic and pedestrian movements
  • ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure
  • adverse weather conditions (for example, lightning, rain, strong winds, ice, temperature extremes)
  • falling from height
  • natural disasters (for example, storms, fire, floods, earthquakes)
  • animals and insects (for example mosquito-borne diseases)
  • noxious plants
  • general environment (for example, sharp objects, trip hazards, terrain)
  • work-related violence.

Further consultation with staff who have reported pre-existing medical conditions may be required, as these may be exacerbated by undertaking activities or work outdoors.

Conducting regular workplace inspections may assist with identifying hazards associated with outdoor activities and working outdoors. For advice and guidance on how to conduct workplace inspections, please refer to the Workplace Safety Inspections policy.

The risk assessment template (DOCX)External Link may be used to assess hazards that have been newly identified at the school (that is, not currently covered in the school OHS risk register), or where there is unknown information about the hazard that requires further assessment.

There are also dedicated policies for activities or environments which may pose further risks to staff beyond those identified in this policy and procedure:

Includes examples of outdoor activities and associated hazards

Reviewed 27 September 2023

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