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Last Updated: Sunday, 31 December 2006, 00:10 GMT
Teachers awarded accident payouts
Pupils at school
The union says that schools should be safer environments
Scotland's biggest teaching union has revealed that its members claimed 171,954 in compensation last year for accidents and attacks at work.

The Educational Institute of Scotland said that when legal fees were added, the total bill to the public purse in 2005/2006 was 250,000.

In one case a teacher who fell in a school car park was awarded 50,000.

EIS General Secretary, Ronnie Smith, said health and safety for staff in schools and colleges should be better.

The union said that the number of serious incidents and the level of compensation awarded had remained almost unchanged since 2004/2005.

It said that fact was an illustration of slow progress and that much more needed to be done to make all schools and colleges a safe place for teaching and learning.

Teachers, in common with many other public service workers, are far too often on the receiving end of assaults in the course of their work
Ronnie Smith
EIS general secretary

Mr Smith, said: "The lack of progress in making our schools and colleges the safest possible environment for teaching and learning is a real cause for concern.

"While it is a fact of life that accidents occur, all employers have an obligation to do everything they can to protect their employees and to ensure that they can work in a safe and secure environment."

He said that many of the personal injury incidents fell into the category of being "avoidable incidents".

Trips or falls

Mr Smith insisted that if employers took more care in providing safe facilities for pupils and teachers, then injuries of the avoidable kind would become less common.

He said: "The figures on compensation claims held by the EIS show that the biggest risk to teachers and lecturers in the workplace remains slips, trips or falls.

"Teachers, in common with many other public service workers, are far too often on the receiving end of assaults in the course of their work.

"Employers have a duty to assess and minimise the risk facing teachers, and also to send a clear message that all violent conduct - physical or verbal - will not be tolerated or condoned."

Some of the major awards to EIS members in 2005/2006 included;

  • 50,000 - injury following slip in school car park

  • 5,000 - injury after slipping on water

  • 2,475 - injured while trying to break up pupils fighting

  • 4,500 - hearing loss due to exposure to noise

  • 3,000 - injury after tripping over mat

  • 4,000 - injury after being hit in the face by heavy door

  • 4,000 - injuries to shoulder caused by pushing pupils in wheelchairs

  • 18,625 - injuries to face following assault

  • 1,000 - hit by pupils

  • 3,500 - attack by pupil

  • 26,184 - punched by pupil

Survey reveals teachers' concerns
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07 Sep 06 |  Scotland
Large rise in attacks on teachers
31 Mar 06 |  Scotland
Consultation on teacher anonymity
18 Jul 05 |  Scotland

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