South Point pioneers implementation of a rigorous health and safety policy
Ensuring safety and security for its vast number of pupils has always been the priority for South Point. It can feel the pulse of parents and guardians who leave their dear wards in the care of School year after year. South Point is like the second home for all pupils who come here to study. And it is as safe, risk-free, hygienic and secure as their home is.
The South Point Education Society received the OHSAS 18001:2007 Occupational Health and Safety Management Certification from the British Standards Institution (BSI) in respect of South Point School, Mandeville Gardens, and South Point High School, Ballygunge Place, at a happy ceremony on 2 August 2017.
The Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series (OHSAS 18001:2007) is an international standard and it stipulates processes to identify, control and decrease the risks, associated with health and safety in the organization concerned, for all its stakeholders. The Certification ensures that a rigorous health and safety policy is in place in the organization and that it protects all stakeholders who are occupants of the premises, including teachers and staff, parents, visitors and, most importantly, pupils, against possible occupational risks and reduces the likelihood of accidents. It may be pointed out that South Point is one of the largest schools in the world, with a student strength presently of around 12,000.
Shri Venkataram Arabolu, Managing Director of BSI India, has praised the initiative by South Point for pioneering the implementation of the rigorous health and safety policy to ensure that all occupants of the two premises are protected from occupational risks and accidents. He mentioned that South Point is the first school in India to be awarded with the OHSAS 18001:2007 Certification by the British Standards Institution which owns and publishes this standard worldwide.
Shri Krishna Damani, Trustee, South Point Education Society, extols the untiring efforts of all our teaching and administrative staff, who have left no stone unturned to ensure that South Point shines as a model school on the education firmament. In early 2012, the School felt the need to adopt a structured approach in addressing the issues of safety and occupational health in its premises. Thus began the journey of implementing an Occupational Health & Safety Management System in both the Schools operated by the South Point Education Society. South Point is the first school in Kolkata, if not the entire Eastern India, to have received the OHSAS 18001:2007 certification.
In 2012, SPES appointed a reputed Switzerland-based inspection and certification body to conduct a detailed school safety audit for both the Junior and High Schools. The School buildings are decades old, more than 50 years in some of the wings. It took School more than three years to address various points raised in the audit, mainly due to large investments that were required, retro-fitting on the old structure of the buildings, legal obligations like obtaining and renewing various licences from Government authorities, implementing recommendations from the Fire Department, Kolkata Police and so on. Majority of the infrastructural development work could only be undertaken during vacations, and the Schools continued to operate as per schedule. An OHSAS Implementation Team was formed, comprising selected members of the administrative, teaching and other support staff, to implement the OHSAS requirements in the School context. The team, ably supported by a reputed and qualified Consultant, practised a process-based approach to identify the various hazards and risks associated with the day-to-day school activities documented Safe Operational Control Procedures to be adopted.
An elaborate training and awareness campaign was organized, starting from teachers and percolating down to the pupils of the junior-most class of the School. Emergency Response Teams have been formed at both buildings, involving a cross-section of the School staff. They have been trained on firefighting, earthquake management, on steps to be undertaken during terror threats, first aid measures and other emergency procedures. An OHS Internal Audit Team has been formed to audit the Schools’ OHS management system and identify areas of improvement. Such audits will be conducted every six months. This will ensure that the OHS Management System remains dynamic and keep countering newer hazards, risks and threats.
Some of the key infrastructure development measures undertaken during the course of OHSAS implementation, in the last four-five years in the School are:
The total amount spent at both the premises for augmenting all related infrastructure measures stands in excess of ₹ 2 crores.
The Priyamvada Birla Scholarship will be awarded every year, starting from 2013, to meritorious students belonging to the low income group, pursuing their studies in under-graduate courses in Colleges and Institutes in West Bengal on Merit cum Means Basis.