Health and safety

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Support children and young people’s health and safety

2.4 – Explain how health and safety risk assessments are monitored and reviewed;

Health and safety and risk assessments are a major part of the primary school. A major risk assessment is carried out at the start of each new school year to make sure all risks are being covered and new ones identified so they can be closely monitored through out the whole school year.

The health and safety policy is also reviewed at the start of the school year, checking all school equipment (computers, doors, gates, classrooms, kitchens) to make sure it is all safe for the pupils and staff to use, and if any problem is identified it is addressed and fixed accordingly. All staff are aware of health and safety and are constantly assessing the area that they are working in or the activity they are carrying out. All staff work alongside the EYFS framework which considers all aspects of children’s welfare including safeguarding, suitable persons, suitable premises and equipment.

One of the major health and safety polices which is addressed and very closely reviewed is the allergies of all current and new pupils. Each classroom is given a pupil list with pictures and allergies of all the pupils in the school and all staff and pupils are reminded of who they are and what foods to bring into the school or give to the children.

The risk/health and safety assessment is reviewed during the school year if a new piece of equipment is brought into the school in or a new pupil arrives. Other issues may need an action plan which sets out what needs to be actioned, how long this may take and by whom it should be carried out. The action plans are then reviewed within a manageable time frame to ensure the action has been completed. Some hazards can be dealt with straight away as they arise such as removing a trip hazard or cleaning up a spillage.

A risk assessment is only valid at the time it is carried out.

3.1 – Explain why it is important to take a balanced approach to risk management

Any activity a child does involves some risk – even something as simple as painting. If the activity is well planned and organised, with thought given to possible risks, the likelihood of an accident or injury should be minimal.

The secret is to balance the risk of an activity against the benefit to and safety of the child. Risk and challenge are important to a child or young person’s development.

Avoiding all risks and challenge would result in a very timid adult lacking in many everyday skills and abilities. It would be very easy to respond to all risks to which children are exposed by not allowing them to explore or experiment.

Children need to explore their environment – it is one of the ways in which they learn – but it needs to be a ‘safe’ environment where risk is controlled by adults. It is important that children are given the freedom to develop their skills, with adult support but not too much intervention.

Understanding the stage of development a child is at and their individual needs can help you to provide the right amount of risk in activities, for example children under the age of 8 cannot safely judge the speed or distance of a car on the road, so a child under the age of 8 should never be allowed to cross the road alone. Compare this to a 10 or 11 year old, the risk assessment would be different for this age group because at this stage of their development they would know more things through the life experiences they have been through compared to a younger child.

Adults in care of children have policies and procedures in place to ensure everything runs smoothly and that everyone is safe – but we must have a balanced approach to risk management not a neurotic or lackadaisical
approach.

3.2 – Explain the dilemma between the rights and choices of children and young people and health and safety requirements

All children have clear rights to learn and develop into adults, and be protected from harm, as identified by the UN Convention on the rights of the child.

They have the right to make their own decisions yet we have a duty of care to ensure the children in our care don’t get harmed or injured, so we have to let children make there own decisions yet if we think it will cause them injuries we have to step in and stop them making that decision.

The dilemma accrues when trying to promote choice and own decision making as we know children can’t make all the right choices themselves since they are children. However through exploring new experiences and making choices, children learn and develop the skills necessary to support them into their adult lives. Therefore it is the responsibility of parents and carers to identify potential dangers, and make the decision on when it is appropriate to allow the child to undertake an activity or make a choice.

Within my work role I have the responsibility of encouraging children to make choices to explore and progress their learning and developing skills, while ensuring that the activities and situations support the individual needs and abilities of the children, in a safe and well controlled environment, so that all children are protected from harm.

It is essential that we explain why we have prevented them from carrying out their chosen action, and encourage them to think of the risks they may of faced, or others around them may have faced. This supports children’s understanding and awareness of their own safety and that of others, while encouraging them become aware of risks and consequences

3.3 – Give example from own practice of supporting children or young people
to assess and manage risk

I would tell a child to go pick up a pair of scissors to cut out a page, however when walking back to their table they had the blade side up pointing to other children in the class. I let the child decide to hold the scissors like that, yet as I have a duty of care I told the child to not hold or carry scissors like that and told them to carry it by the blade since it could cause harm to others or themselves.

I managed a potential risk, by stopping the child from doing something the wrong way, and in the process teaching and explaining to the child why I stopped them from carrying scissors a certain way. This will then hopefully encourage them to think of risks in the future.

4.1/4.2 – Explain the policies and procedures of the setting in response to accidents, incidents, emergencies and illness

As an early years setting we have policies and procedures in place for how we respond to accidents, incidents, emergencies and illness and procedures for reporting and recording.

Sickness and illness:

The school’s policy for the exclusion of children with sick or infectious children is sent home in a booklet with every pupil at the start of each school year, these include the period of time we require a child to stay home following a bout of sickness or diarrhea or other infectious illness such a chicken pox. When infectious illness is discovered, such as head lice, parents are notified by signs being put up. If a child, following consultation with a qualified medical professional has an infectious disease which is on the notifiable diseases list then Ofsted are informed. If a child becomes ill whilst at the setting there parent/carer are called, if they are not available we have a list of authorised emergency contacts who can come and collect the child, until such time the child is cared for in an appropriate area of the setting. If a child becomes unwell and is a cause
for serious concern then an ambulance would be called.

Certain illnesses as Meningitis need rapid action, there are posters in our staff room to advise people on what to do should meningitis be suspected, age specific symptom lists and aids to diagnose such as the glass test. We have procedures and specific cleaning kit for use on spilled bodily fluids.

Accident/First Aid:

We have qualified first aiders in the school. The first aiders are listed on a notice for everyone to see should they require help. If a child has an accident at the setting and requires first aid then the relevant qualified person will use the settings first aid kit which is easily accessible and regularly checked. When an accident occurs we fill out or accident book which details, where, when, how and what treatment was administered. The parents/carer is then informed and asked to sign it and send the form back into the school. If the injury is more severe and requires further medical attention then the parent/carer or authorised is contacted and informed or following signed consent on the settings registration form the child can be taken to the nearest Accident and Emergency unit.

We have a duty to inform Ofsted and the Health and Safety Executive of any injury that requires treatment by a medical professional or in the event of the death. Reviewing the accident book half termly allows us to identify any potential or actual hazards.

Incidents:

When an incident occurs at the school we record it in our incident book which is kept in the office filing cabinet. An incident could be a break in or theft, vandalism, dangerous occurrence, injury or fatality. In the incident book we record the date and time of the incident, nature of the event, who was affected, what was done about it .

Any follow up, or insurance claim made, should also be recorded. We comply with current HSE Regulations and report to the Health and Safety executive.

Emergencies:

We have our emergency procedures displayed at specific points around the school so that no matter where you are there is a copy within easy view such as the toilets or school foyer.

These procedures state what to do in the event of a fire and/or evacuation. Our Headmaster is responsible for the procedures ensuring they are up-to-date and in place. We carry out regular fire drills so that the children know what to expect and also to identify any issues with our procedure. The dates and time taken to carry out fire drills are recorded

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