End of year prep for a healthy fall

Published in the June 2014 NJEA Reporter

Health & Safety CommitteeTaking stock of problems

As the school year comes to a close, it is a good time for members to think about what repairs and maintenance can be undertaken in their classrooms or other work areas over the summer to ensure a safe and healthy building for the next school year. Staff members can examine their work areas for needed repairs and work together to discover building-wide problems. These inspection suggestions  can serve as a starting point for staff.

 A collective effort

The examination is best done as a walk-through inspection, taking pictures of problem areas. While each staff person knows the problems in his or her own work area, there are advantages to working together. If your local association has a health and safety committee (HSC), the committee can take the lead organizing the effort. Your UniServ field representative can offer assistance at all phases of the process. See below for steps in a cooperative process.The committee or other member representatives should develop a prioritized list that can serve as a guide to custodial and maintenance personnel. The list and photos should be included in a written request to members of administration, who might include the principal, superintendent or facilities manager. Copies of all requests should be provided to the local association. NJEA resources, including the Health and Safety Manual and past NJEA Reporter articles, can help with the task.

Team effort can produce an effective outcome

  • Staff can come together to discuss common problems that can be grouped together, such as malfunctioning Univents, or insect and rodent infestations.
  • The committee can use a walk-through checklist provided in the NJEA Health and Safety Manual.
  • Maintenance staff should participate in a final walk-through, both to see problems, and to give feedback on needed repairs or maintenance.
  • Staff representatives, a health and safety committee, or other local association offcials can create a prioritized list of needed repairs and upgrades, grouped in a logical way, complete with photos, and present it to the administration.
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For an alphabetical list of past articles on a variety of health and safety issues, see this index.