- Technology Can Cause Hazard of Falling – wax115
In many classrooms across the country there are several tripping hazards. This might be a good time to do a safety check to define the problems and reduce the possibility of accidents by giving careful attention to these hazards. This is often overlooked due to the strong emphasis, and understandably so, on instructional matters.
Electrical Cords as a Danger in the Classroom
Walk into an average classroom from elementary through high school and one might see cords strung here and there. Of course, they are necessary to provide both power and networking capabilities essential for instruction.
Some cords protrude from the teacher’s desk – making loops and at times even becoming possible shock hazards, especially for younger children. Even though students have become quite adept and accepting of these, it’s easy to conjecture dangerous scenarios these situations could possibly cause.
Not only could injuries be suffered from falling, but also tripping on a cord could pull off objects or equipment which could then bring about further injuries. Many rooms have carts which may have additional cords dangling or looped. This could catch clothing and be a factor in falls or other injuries. People at risk include the students, volunteers, staff, and visitors. This could include family and friends who come to see school programs as well as older adults at Grandparents Day events in the classroom.
Tips on Fixing Electrical Cord Hazards in Schools
Although people don’t fall every day, just one bad fall could have major consequences. Most of all, such incidents are easily prevented. Naturally, the easiest fix is going wireless, but that isn’t possible in every circumstance, and will probably take considerable time to transition in that direction.
Plastic PVC or other plumbing pipe and cord covers can be used to organize dangling and looped electrical cords and computer cables in order to prevent injuries. Hardware stores also sell floor runners to cover a minimal number of cords. Other retailers sell a variety of cord organizers. Also, the same dark gray foam which is used to wrap pipes can be cut down one side to allow easy access for adjustments and changes which are often needed when keeping up with technology.
Making Effective School District Policies About Cord Safety
Overall, schools do an excellent job of keeping children safe. When a school or district has a clear policy and enforces it with training and providing materials necessary for compliance, any targeted situation usually improves drastically. This is due to the massive and concentrated efforts directed at a particular problem or challenge.
There will need to be a financial commitment to make it happen, yet it is worth the effort to make cord safety come in alignment with all the other safety measures to protect students, staff, and visitors. The problem with expecting each teacher to handle this individually is partly the unfair drain on their personal budgets, as well as too much variation of handyman skills to bring their cords in compliance with optimal safety standards.
But it goes further than that. A school or district would benefit from a safety audit and clear safety standards, using consistent materials and methods known to be effective for the purpose. Since the district bears the burden of liability, it is incumbent upon them to provide consistency in standards and materials. People skilled in that task could set up acceptable handling systems for the cord problems which are now so visible in many classes.
It would only take avoiding one lawsuit to fund the rather simple fixes which are needed. Classrooms can be safer with cords and cables under control and in compliance with safe practices. In addiiton, weighing the personal pain experienced in falls against the rather simple measures which can be taken to keep students and staff safe makes cord and cable safety an urgent matter.
School safety with electrical cords and cables is necessary in today’s schools which are so full of technology. There are rather simple ways to prevent classroom hazards from becoming painful situations. In addition to the need to keep pupils safe and avoid lawsuits, there is a need for compliance with the spirit of the law and practices regarding accessibility for handicapped individuals.
This would be a good year for schools to deal with the safety problem of cords or cables which are dangling and looped or stretched across the floor creating risks for tripping. It can be done with minimal effort, and the advantages of such prevention are numerous.
Copyright by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use in print or online.