Support Children and Young People’s Health and Safety Awareness of Healthy and Safety is one of the most important factors in all workplaces. Safety is an essential basic human need, and it is vital that we allow everyone to feel as safe and secure as possible in life. So that there is a low risk of someone becoming hurt or ill, it is important to ensure the environment is safe before allowing anyone to work on the premises. We must be aware of how to provide a safe, healthy environment for children and young people, without risk of accident or emergencies taking place.
When planning a healthy, safe environment for children and young people, it is essential to take a number of factors into consideration. These factors are; the age and developmental capabilities of the children or young people, specific needs of children and young people, the needs of families and carers, the function and purpose of the environments and services provided the duty of care, line of responsibility, and desired outcomes for children and young people. It is vital however, to begin all planning with the needs of each individual child or young person.
It is important to remember every child is an individual, and although a lot of the planning for a healthy safe environment is common sense, it is essential we look at the factors closely to ensure nothing is missed in planning. The age and developmental capabilities of the child or young person are a basic factor in providing health and safety. If you are providing a caring environment for babies, the room in which they are being cared for in must be warm, and have facilities for hygienically changing nappies.
If you are providing an outdoor play area for older children, it needs to be planned to ensure minimum risk, and allow vigorous physical play. When providing the essential care for children and young people with specific needs, such as someone who has a disability, the child must have full access to available activities. That means that it is essential to ensure activities are planned so as to be in accordance to all children in your care. The environment in which the setting is within must suit the individual, which means sometimes having to adapt the layout and equipment to ensure specific needs are met.
Recognising the needs of families and carers of the children is a basic planning need. If a setting has an outbreak of an infectious disease, such as measles, for the health and wellbeing of a parent who is pregnant, it would be advisable to inform them of this outbreak, and encourage them to take their child out of the setting, so as not to cause any complications within the pregnancy. Also, if there was an outbreak of Head Lice in a nursery or school, practitioners MUST inform parents or carers, so that they can check and treat their children, to prevent the spread within nursery and their own families health.
When planning healthy and safe indoor and outdoor activities, it is important to remember that not all settings are built for the purpose. This means that the environment may be shared between two workplace organisations, for example a playgroup at a church hall, which is also used on a night for a Badminton Club. They must arrange between them that equipment is put away effectively so that the setting can function as a safe, healthy environment for both organisations. When working with children and young people, we have a duty of care towards them.
This means that we must show a responsibility towards them, so as to act in the best of their interest. The health and safety needs of the children must override principle when planning. In the Every Child Matters scheme, two of the desired outcomes for children are ‘Stay Safe’ and ‘Be Healthy’. All settings must pay close attention to the statuary desired outcomes which are relevant to the age range of children whom they are providing for. This means that practitioners must ensure that they are giving children the best possible chance of maintaining these outcomes as possible.
Each and every person who is working within a setting has a responsibility of the health and safety of the children, young people and other members of staff within the workforce. It should be made clear that there is a ‘line of responsibility’, so that each member of staff is aware whom they should report any incidents too. Staff members must know their own responsibilities, as well as those of the other staff members. This means that should a problem arise which is outside their responsibility they know who to refer back to. (1. ) Health and safety must be monitored and maintained to ensure that no accidents or incidents occur. All members of staff, including students in the workplace must be made aware of the policies and procedures covering areas such as; safety, health and hygiene, safety at arrival and departure times and on outings, prevention of illness and first aid, fire prevention and staffing ratios and supervision. These policies must be reviewed regularly, and revised when needed. In a child care setting a specific member of staff usually has the responsibility for the health and safety policies and procedures.
Policies enforcing health and safety aim to make sure that all members of the staff, the children and young people, and the families of the children are protected from harm. Every childcare setting should have a policy which maintains the safety of children and young people within their care, as well as visitors to the setting. Policies vary between settings, but most enforce security measures such as stating the purpose of their visit, which they are coming to see and providing identification.
It is important to ensure that the degree of supervision toward the children is properly monitored. The main way of reducing any risk of harm towards the children and young people is by ensuring that there is adequate adult to child ratios for any activities. The number of adults who should be present at each time depends on the number of children or young people involved, the age of those involved, and the type of activity which is being undergone. Practitioners need to be conscious of any potential risks in the setting, and the possible impact of these risks.
All areas in which children and young people are being cared for should be checked thoroughly for hygiene and safety at the start and end of each working day. To prevent accidents and ill health, risk assessments take place, to help people think about what could go wrong, and ways which they could prevent further problems from occurring. They do this by looking for hazards, deciding who might be harmed and how, weighing up the risk, deciding whether existing precautions are enough and deciding what further precautions are needed to reduce risk, and then recording all findings. 1. 2) Every care setting should have a copy of the current legislation, and guidance documents which are relevant to the services provided.
The Health and Safety executive produces guidance on a number of issues relating to Health and Safety. The main purpose of the guidance is to interpret the law and help people to understand what the law requires. This is essential in ensuring that people comply with the laws regarding Health and Safety. (1. ) The most important pieces of legislation relating to health and safety in childcare settings in the United Kingdom are; Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, COSSH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002, Food Handling Regulations 1995, Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997, and, Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992. Each of these pieces of legislation are equally as important in ensuring that the upmost health and safety is provided in childcare settings.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, states that employers have a duty to; make the workplace as safe as possible, display a health and safety guidance poster, or a hand out leaflet with the same information. They must decide upon how to manage health and safety, and this must be stated within a workplace policy. The employees of the company also have a duty to work safely. They must follow all guidance which is given, and should never work in a way which would put themselves and others in danger. If there is ever any problem, the employee has a duty to report these, so that can be resolved quickly and efficiently.
Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH), states that, safe workplaces depend on a careful approach to cleaning materials, or other hazardous substances. There should be risk assessments taken for each substance which could cause harm, such as bleach or solvents. This will tell workers about the dangers, and what they can do to minimise the risks which are involved. Every workplace must keep a COSHH file which will list all of the hazardous substances which are used within the setting.
For each substance it must detail; where they are kept, how they are labelled, and the effects of their misuse. If your setting prepares of handles food, then you must lawfully comply to the Food Handling Regulations 1995. This piece of legislation covers various issues which would seem to be common sense, such as washing your hands before and after preparing food, and making sure that food is stored safely, at the correct temperature. It also includes knowledge of how to use safe practices when using knives, chopping board and so on.
To ensure this is being thoroughly complied with, there should be someone within the setting who has undergone training to receive a Basic Food Hygiene certificate. In the setting, there must be a designated fire officer, who complies with the Fire Precautions Regulations. This officer must check that all childcare and education settings comply with the initial registration process. The evacuation process should be in place, and practiced regularly, so all members of the setting including the children, are aware of what to do if the fire drill is sounded.
The designated fire exits must always be unlocked, with nothing obstructing the path. Lifting and carrying children, or moving equipment which is used in the setting could lead to a manual handling injury. The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, states that when lifting any equipment, you must be assessed to see that you can do this without causing harm to yourself or others. If a member of staff is pregnant, then the manager has a duty to re-assess any lifting she may undergo, to ensure it is of accordance with her change of condition. 1. 4) Almost every human task involves a certain element of risk, and it is essential that children learn how to cope with this. Everyone is entitled to keeping safe, but if you act too cautiously you may restrict learning experiences. The environment where you may be caring for children must be both safe and challenging, as they must be reminded that the world can be a dangerous place and that they must learn from experience. A complete risk free environment will lack any challenges, and that will leave children to becoming bored and irritable.
Rather than removing any equipment from the environments which could cause harm, practitioners should instead teach children how to use the objects in a safer manner. A child who is sheltered from risk, and overprotected from challenge, is less likely to be able to make judgements about life situations without the help of others. Children and you people need to see and experience consequences of not taking care, as just being told about possible dangers is not entirely enough. (3. 1) Frequently, practitioners come across the challenge of balancing out the need for safety, against the need for a child to explore risk.
If we do not allow children to explore risk in a safe environment, where there is a qualified first aider, then they will seek out risk taking when an adult is not around, which can cause harm to the child. Risk challenge is very important to the development of children, as avoiding all risks could lead to the child becoming unaware of everyday dangers. This would deprive them of developing their own abilities to control dangerous situations in later life. (3. 2) In order to support children and young people to assess and manage risk, practitioners must intervene if they feel that an individual is at risk of harming themselves in some way.
By using the appropriate language to the age and understanding of the individual, the practitioner must ask open ended questions to probe the child or young person to identify why they could cause themselves possible harm. This means that the adult and child work in partnership to come up with a solution to the problem. This will give children a better understanding of how they are able to identify and stop any possible dangers. As children and young people grow up, they need to be taught about keeping safe, and how they can avoid accidents and injuries.
An example of how to support children and young people to manage risk may be asking the child to tidy away the skipping ropes in the yard, and then probing them to explain why they need to tidy them away, and what would happen if there were not collected in. This would lead them to understand action and consequence of the dangers. In my setting, to avoid assess and manage risk tables have safe guards on the corners, so that they are not sharp and they cannot harm themselves. (3. 3) In every setting working with children, there are possible accidents, incidents and emergencies, which could take place.
Every workplace setting must have policies and procedures on how to record these issues. Parents of children who are involved in an accident, incident or emergency must be made aware of the details of the issue. If the injury is minor, such as a grazed knee, then the practitioner will ensure that the parent is told of the injury when they collect the child. However in the case of a major accident, incident or emergency, the parent/carer of the child must be made aware as soon as possible, so that they can be involved in any decisions on what to do with the child.
Every workplace by law must have an Accident Reporting Book, and must maintain record of accidents within the setting. In order to do this the information which must be recorded includes, the name of the person injured, the date and time of the injury, where the accident happened, what exactly happened, what injuries occurred, what treatment was given, the name and signature of the person who is dealing with the accident, the person who is witness to report, and the signature of the parent or carer.
There must be duplicate copies of the form so that the child’s parent/carer can be given one, and the other copy is kept as evidence in the Accident Reporting Book. If a child becomes unwell while in the care of your setting, you must initially report it to the manager or supervisor, and it must then be recorded in the daily record of the child. The details which must be recorded are; when the child first showed signs of being unwell, the signs and symptoms, any action which is taken, and progression of the illness since first noticed.
In the workplace there would be various policies and procedures which would be in the response to accidents, incidents, emergencies and illnesses. For example, there may be a policy regarding infectious illness and diseases, which would state that any child that is ill should not be brought into the setting until they have been clear of all symptoms for 48 hours. The setting must be informed immediately of any child that has contracted an infectious disease.
The setting will then inform all parents appropriately. In the case of an emergency, they may have a missing/lost child procedure, which would state that if any child goes missing whilst in the care of the setting, action would be taken as follows. The procedure may state that identification of the missing child must be needed, a member of the staff would search for the child, whilst the police and parents of the child are also contacted at the decision of the manager/deputy manager of the setting. (4. 1)(4. 2)