School Facilities & Maintenance

Building Security

Building SecurityThe level and type of building security will vary from school to school. Several factors must be considered when determining the level of security for your school, such as:

  • Location of the school – urban vs rural, local crime rates (vandalism, arson, assaults);
  • Age of students attending school – elementary vs secondary;
  • Building design – alcoves, hiding spaces, roof access, over grown shrubs;
  • After-hours use of the building;

One of the major problems with school buildings is the number of entry points. Most of these entrances are in remote parts of the building, making it difficult for the office staff to “intercept” visitors before they can proceed to other parts of the building.

Risk Management Recommendations

During School Hours:

  1. Restrict external access to the building. Fire codes require exit doors to open freely from the inside, but entrance into the building should only be permitted through designated doors.
  1. The designated entrance doors should channel all “traffic” into the main office of the school, a reception area or main lobby where school staff are on duty. Where possible, install remote locking systems for front entrances.
  2. All visitors should be required sign in and out. It is highly recommended that badges marked “VISITOR” be issued. Visitors should not be left to wander the halls looking for the person they are meeting. If possible, have them wait in the central area for the person they are meeting.
  3. All school staff should be aware of the visitor sign-in policy. An unknown person wandering the halls without a “VISITOR” badge should be escorted to the main office. If this is not possible, or there is resistance or personal threat, do not challenge the person – contact the office immediately and request assistance.

After School Hours:

  1. See section on “Permit Holders”
  2. Special events, such as dances, graduation ceremonies, parent-teacher nights, fun fairs, etc. may require special security measures. Contact your Board office.

Winter & Wet Weather Maintenance

Since 1987, OSBIE has paid out millions in third party fall related claims. The majority of these injuries are usually the result of inadequate salting and sanding procedures during winter months. A smaller, but still significant number of claims occur on wet surfaces inside the building – the result of melting snow or rainy weather.

Often these claims could have been successfully defended if the school had maintained accurate documentation of their winter maintenance programs. In the absence of proper documentation, the courts will be less likely to accept that a school took all reasonable steps to prevent a hazardous situation.

Risk Management Recommendations:

Winter Months

  1. If an outside contractor has been hired to clear the snow, the contract should state clearly when snow removal is to be conducted, or when salting/sanding is to occur. The activities of outside contractors should be documented in a Maintenance Log Book.
  2. During the progress of a snowfall, a regular inspection of all walkways, parking lots and roofs should be conducted to monitor the build-up of ice and snow. The date/time of the inspection, and any corrective measures should be documented in a log book at the school.
  3. Place safety cones around entrance ways, internal stairs or any other areas which may be wet from snow tracked in from outside. Mop up excess moisture and dry as soon as possible.
  4. Ensure staff are provided for snow clearing activities that may be required for permit-holders using the premises after regular school hours.

Spring/Summer Months:

  1. A visual inspection of all external walkways and stairwells should be conducted weekly, or after a heavy rainfall. The date/time of the inspection and any corrective measures should be documented in a log book at the school.
  2. If you have uneven sidewalks or other fall hazards on your school premise we recommend using bright florescent spray paint or cones to warn students, teachers and visitors of the hazards until it can be repaired.
  3. In the parking lots be on the look-out for:
      • Pot holes – Recommendation: use bright fluorescent spray paint or cones
      • Protruding rebar – Recommendation: remove or hammer back down
      • Faded speed bumps – Recommendation: repaint promptly
      • Burnt out lights – Recommendation: regular inspection of all outdoor lighting

    These hazards can cause injuries or vehicle damage.

  4. In the spring, fencing around the school could be damaged from the winter’s snow removal routines.
    • Clip off any protruding wires, hooks or sharp piece.
    • Cover the hazard with the orange snow fencing until it can be repaired.
    • Make announcements for students to stay away from the area!
  5. During rainy weather, place safety cones around entrance ways, internal stairs or any other areas which may become wet due to foot traffic. Mop up excess moisture and dry as soon as possible.