Every school trip will be risk assessed not just for the trip itself, but the journey there and back. Transporting pupils, staff and helpers needs to be properly and carefully assessed so that the safest journey can be provided. It is not enough to obtain three quotes and then just choose the cheapest simply because it is cheap – see film clip https://youtu.be/t-2uHzL2BzU. Care needs to be taken to make sure the company a school hires from is legally compliant and that it employs professionally trained drivers who are CPC holders. Professional drivers will have to undergo medicals at regular intervals to make sure they are fit to drive and have eye tests to check if they need driving glasses. They are more likely to be trained in all aspects of transporting all age groups of passengers, will understand all the associated regulations governing them and be familiar with undertaking emergency evacuations of a coach. PSV drivers have the same legal obligations and powers as that of an airline pilot or sea captain. Their word is final.
The written risk assessment should include risks to…
Only someone suitably qualified with a clear understanding of safety belt laws, duty of care requirements and a good background knowledge of the coach and minibus industry should undertake this type of assessment which should include...
- The type of safety belt provision for all occupants taking into account age and size of passengers to be carried and if any have special requirements.
- Whether child seat or booster cushions for younger passengers are required.
- A safety belt policy and details of enforcement of the wearing of safety belts.
- The emergency procedure in place and if the youngest passenger can clearly understand this. The school should also look at any emergency procedures the transport company already has in place. Understanding both the role of the driver and that their instructions must be followed is crucial.
- Taking account of the weather.
- Ensuring drivers hold the correct licenses and are CPC certified.
- Checking the insurance cover held by the transport operator and background history for compliance with the regulations.
- Party leaders reading and understanding the transport company’s health and safety policy and detail how this will be monitored.
- Arrangements for toilet stops and other organised stops on route.
- A system for counting all members of the party on and off the vehicle at every stop to ensure no-one is left behind.
- A system to establish any medical needs of any member of the party are logged for every trip.
- A seating plan.
- Making two named members of the party responsible for checking where the emergency and safety equipment is stored on board the vehicle and that it is complete and correct and checking that the emergency exit door is unlocked prior to the start of each journey.
- What safety and emergency equipment should be provided by the school such as torches, foil wraps, whistles for use in the event of a road traffic collision.