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Jay on Health & Safety HERO

Health and Safety at the British International School Hanoi

Jay Graham
Jay Graham (7 posts) Deputy Head of Secondary View Profile

Warren Buffet once said, ‘somebody is sitting in the shade today because somebody planted a tree a long time ago.’ I see this statement as having particular relevance to the field of health and safety which has, for long, been a passion of mine.

We can often forget that the myriad of safety features that cushion our journey through life is the result of when things have gone wrong. Safety does not happen by accident but most certainly as a consequence of it.

Safety changes following high profile air accidents happen very quickly. Safety changes requiring behavioural changes, even with regulatory support, can take time. The UK Road Safety Act of 1967 introduced clear drink-driving limits. For many years, it was still acceptable as long as you were not caught. Over decades, attitudes have shifted considerably. Today in the UK, if you drive a car under the influence of alcohol, your spouse might even call the police on you; feelings are that strong.

Safety within a different geographical context can present complications and frustrations, particularly when one has come from a nation with strictly enforced regulations and viable resources, infrastructure and support to secure safer outcomes. In my time in the Middle East, I watched as the regulatory framework tightened but the will of those in charge of enterprise to move health and safety forward remained loose. Vietnam is even farther back down the track in terms of its position on health and safety. As the nation and the economy continue to prosper, the importance of health and safety in schools and places of work will become more prominent. We feel we can play a leading role in taking this agenda forward but some changes will not happen overnight, particularly when dealing with parties outside of our domain. Yet, we will persevere because we care.

Healthy & Safety 1

At BIS, we place the highest importance on health and safety. We are a British International School, one of fifty-six Nord Anglia Education schools, and we are ambitious in aspiring to the high standards rightly demanded and enforced in the UK. We have made huge strides forward in our practice. Here are some of the things we are proud of:

  • We have state-of-the-art fire detection and fire suppression systems, and regularly run drills to ensure all persons have left the building in under two minutes and are accounted for very swiftly.
  • We have a skilled Emergency Response Team to deal with extraordinary emergencies who are linked via radio communications. Supporting this are effective procedures to deal with a range of crises.
  • We have improved risk management considerably and have detailed risk assessments for all school activities on and off-site. Our staff know what to do to manage risk but can react well if things go wrong.
  • We have an outstanding Facilities Management Department equipped with engineers to repair concerns swiftly, be they broken electrical sockets or gas safety systems in our science laboratories.
  • We report on incidents, including near misses, and use this information to learn and improve our practice. We continue to educate our children and provide training to staff to meet any organic need that is identified.
  • We leave no stone unturned in our regular health and safety audits and make repairs to premises or changes to practice where it is appropriate to do so.

Finally, health and safety is the responsibility of all of us in our school community. We are stronger as a unit with collective ears and eyes. If you see anything that concerns you when on-site or hear anything from your children that alarms you, do contact us immediately.