Following on from my communications with Workplace Health and Safety I received the following response from Ministry of Education regarding BYOD obligations. In short … schools are on their own (sort of).
Thank you for your inquiry about the use of digital devices by students.
One important point to consider is that health and safety is everybody’s responsibility, not just staff. In schools the primary duty of care for health and safety rests with the Board of Trustees as schools are self governing. How Boards manage this process is the decision of individual schools.
To ensure a positive health and safety culture, as well as compliance, at all workplaces the general expectation is that schools will review their practices in this area to ensure they are meeting the requirements. Our practical guide and factsheets will support principals and boards to meet their obligations.
Recently we launched our health and safety practical guide for boards of trustees and school leaders. The guide provides clear explanations, example policies, procedures and checklists. We have also separated out the individual tools and put write-enabled versions under the appropriate sections on the webspace.
The health and safety risks about students’ use of digital devices should be part of a school’s risk management plan. Boards can seek guidance from agencies that have professional oversight for health and safety, such as this Accident Compensation Commission guide on safe computer use. The following link may be of use: http://www.acc.co.nz/PRD_EXT_CSMP/groups/external_ip/documents/guide/wpc090196.pdf
The Ministry of Education has a range of guides for schools that touch on the introduction of digital devices, however they do not specifically cover the health and safety risks associated with long term use of those devices. The guides focus on:
- online behaviour http://www.education.govt.nz/school/managing-and-supporting-students/student-behaviour-help-and-guidance/searching-and-removing-student-property/digital-technology-guide-for-schools/digital-technology-safe-and-responsible-use-in-schools/ and the companion guide http://www.education.govt.nz/school/managing-and-supporting-students/student-behaviour-help-and-guidance/searching-and-removing-student-property/digital-technology-guide-for-schools/
- the establishment of e-Learning environments http://elearning.tki.org.nz/
Guidelines aim to provide assistance for schools to identify any risks that may be associated with environment (school location), technology and behaviour (students or staff) so that the legally required procedures are put in place by schools and their procedures address their own unique circumstances and needs.
I hope my response helps
Enquiries National Team | Ministry of Education | AG
33 Bowen St, Wellington