Students nowadays need to carry a range of different things with them to school – various books, coats, P.E. kit, even laptops and tablets. Requiring pupils to keep all of their belongings with them all day, throughout numerous classroom changes and breaks, can be a real safety hazard. Bags and coats lying on the floor and in corridors can present trip risks and serious problems if you need to evacuate the building. Lockers let students leave everything behind in one secure space and only carry the essentials that they need for their next classes.
And with the increase in value of those items – not just the electronics but the coats and books, too – comes a need for added security. Twenty or 30 years ago a simple cloakroom would have sufficed in most premises, but students and their parents now expect a secure space that they can call their own. Purchasing lockers is the answer.
Metal lockers are simply the best in class when it comes to high-traffic, frequent use environments. They can withstand the abuse of door slamming and crowds of people bumping into them better than any other locker material. In addition, they are very easy to maintain. With little input from janitorial staff a good quality metal locker should last you for many, many years.
The size of the lockers that you get will be informed by the number of students you have and the amount of space you have. You’ll need one locker per student, and bear in mind that a winter coat and a backpack can quickly fill up a compartment, so lockers should be as large as you have the space for to ensure they can be used effectively.
A large, multi-compartment metal locker unit is quite heavy, even when empty. Pupils are unlikely to treat the locker unit with the care and attention that you could expect from adults, so you should make sure that it is securely anchored to the wall and/or floor – otherwise it might topple over and injure your students or staff.
When you think of metal lockers, you probably think of plain, unfinished, utilitarian units. These are still available, and are of course perfectly functional – but there’s no need to limit yourself. You can easily find metal lockers that are more stylishly finished in a large range of both muted and bold colours – why not brighten up your hallways or locker rooms?
If you are looking for students to store wet coats or used sports kits in their lockers, you’ll want to think about ventilation. Choices range from simple louvres in the doors to intricate perforation patterns – all of which will minimise the build-up of stale and musty odours.
Hooks and shelves
Depending on the size of the locker you go for you will need to think about the internal set-up. Taller lockers can make use of coat hooks, whereas smaller lockers will probably only have a shelf to separate items. Whichever the case, make sure that the internal components are of good quality and can withstand the rigours of near-constant use.
Modern powder-coat finishes can incorporate an antimicrobial surface into your lockers. This will greatly reduce the likelihood of germs and bacteria from making a home on your lockers and spreading through your school community.
As a standard, you should ensure that all lockers you have on your school premises are tested for reaction to fire and for fire resistance. The relevant standard to look out for here is EN 13501-1 – lockers built to this specification should limit the spread of fire.
Author Bio: First Mats started life as safety matting specialists, but have since expanded to become a complete industrial and commercial supplies company. The focus of First Mats is to provide safety-focused products that improve the wellbeing of staff through quality approved products, backed up by extensive knowledge. www.firstmats.co.uk