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How to Make Safety a Priority at Your Nursery

June 7, 2019 8:58 am
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It’s your responsibility as the childcare provider to ensure safety is a priority in the minds of your staff and onsite workers. Doing this will help you remain compliant with the EYFS Statutory Framework and ensure incidents are reduced. Of course, incidents can never be completely eradicated, but with the right procedures in place, you can give the children in your care the perfect environment for development.

Here are some of the steps you can take to accomplish this:

Regularly Upskill Staff

Whether it’s providing every staff member with an instructional manual or apps that can help them, you should recognise that the only way they’ll be up-to-date with the latest developments is if they’re continually learning. Not all staff members will understand the likelihood of an incident transpiring from something minuscule, and they may only notice hazards when there are substantial risks involved.

Get Parents Involved In Maintaining Safety

The risk involved in caring for children shouldn’t be placed squarely at the feet of childcare providers; instead, parents and providers should share this responsibility and, in the process, create an environment that is most enriching for the children in their care. This means parents should be encouraged to give their input on what they think could improve safety on the premises, or on outings. In addition, parents can offer advice, point out potential hazards, and be a part of the solution. This can be done in the form of questionnaires. By making health and safety a community effort, you’ll find that it’s easier to maintain. Another benefit of getting parents involved is that it creates Open-Ended Communication which helps to build trust and a stronger partnership.

You can read more about building a strong partnership with parents here.

Create Appropriate Consequences For Offending Staff

If you witness a staff member compromising their personal safety, the safety of other staff members or children in your care, warn them and take note. Remember, the consequences for their actions need to equal the severity of the repercussions of their actions. For example, if a minor incident could be caused by their actions, only a concerned warning may be necessary. However, if you notice a repeat in behaviour that goes against legislation you should take the appropriate steps. Not only will this help the offending staff member rectify their behaviour, but it sends a message to other staff that safety is paramount and that offenders will be held accountable, regardless of whether or not an incident occurs. There could be many examples here. One could be that a practitioner simply leaves their bag unattended and open, giving access to the children to find potentially harmful objects inside.

Make Safety An Everyday Thing

Sometimes an incident can occur because of a lapse in judgement shown by a staff member, or it could be an approach that prevents them from behaving in a suitable manner. Therefore, in addition to making reporting easier, make sure safety is on the mind of staff at all times. Wherever possible lead by example, gently critiquing staff who aren’t doing as expected. This way you’re avoiding and preventing incidents from happening.

Record everyday accidents with the Child Accident Report Forms – used to record any accidents a child has had whilst under the supervision of an early years provider.

Learn From Other Providers and Experts

The field of health and safety is constantly changing; you may find that there are instances where there isn’t an instruction manual or guide regarding the particular circumstance you find yourself in. In such situations, you should try to seek advice or information from other providers and experts who have the experience and knowledge to assist.

Make Assessments Easy To Complete

The point of the risk assessment is not to serve health and safety officials or even appease Statutory Frameworks, but rather to eradicate hazards and minimise any risks that could be detrimental to children and those working at the facility. For this reason, the assessment you choose to use should be one that’s relatively easy to complete but thorough enough to be a base on which you create solutions.

Read more on Risk Assesment, take a look at our article – Risk Management In UK Early Years Setting.

Adapt To New Risks

The role of your risk assessments shouldn’t be to satisfy legal requirements, but rather should be to improve the learning environment. This means that assessing risk and hazards should be done in a way that allows and makes room for change.

Take a look at our Risk Assesment Record, this makes completing risk assessments quick and easy. The Risk Assessment Record logbook includes risk assessment templates with sections for daily, weekly and monthly risk assessments which will need to be carried out.

Following the steps and tips outlined here should help you achieve a safer environment for the young minds whose safety has been entrusted to you.

If you want to read more on Risk Assesment, take a look at our article – Risk Management In UK Early Years Setting.