Hazards in childcare cannot be taken lightly. Keeping children and workers safe is a key responsibility of all childcare centres.
Keeping children safe is a multi-faceted task involving education, supervision, and crucially, the childcare environment, It is simply impossible to watch all children all the time, so hazard identification and elimination becomes a key part of the strategy.
This article aims to provide you with a guide to identifying the common hazards in childcare as well as the not so common so that you can effectively make the childcare facility a safer environment for all parties.
Vigilance is the key to identifying hazards in childcare. Hazard identification is not something that simply can be done every quarter and then forgotten. To this end, daily checks should be conducted of all indoor and outdoor areas. A system should be in place that ensures all hazards are reported and acted upon.
To support these daily checks, there should be regular safety audits conducted as well as having food safety plans and infection control policies and procedures in place. These policies and procedures will help to identify and eliminate any potential hazards prior to them arising.
While every workplace and childcare facility is unique and will present its own challenges there are some common hazards to look for when addressing the question – what are the possible hazards in an early child care facility? These commonly found hazards include -:
Once childcare centres must take every step to identify risks and then manage them in an appropriate manner.
Risk management is an ongoing process that involves the following steps.
It is important to recognise that risk management is an ongoing process that must be practised in any environment where children or childcare workers are present. Regardless of where the childcare service is operating – either on site or on excursion, childcare providers must carry out appropriate safety checks to ensure everyone’s safety.
Once hazards in childcare have been identified, it is critical that appropriate steps are taken to control, manage and mitigate risks. Some common ways to mitigate and control include-;
By its nature any hazard can potentially cause harm. Hazards are present in many different forms Armed with a simple checklist, parents, guardians and childcare workers can take a look at the childcare centre and identify any potential hazards that could cause harm to children or workers. Some common hazards in childcare to look out for are described in the following checklist.
Physical risks to children and educators van involve such actions as bending, twisting or reaching. Obstacles that could cause slipping, tripping and falling have the potential to cause painful and costly soft tissue or back injuries. Childcare educators required to work on the floor with children represent a risk to themselves and others.. Similarly, workers or children deciding to stand on chairs to reach materials are taking an unnecessary risk.
Things to critically examine include :
Mechanical or electrical risks can be caused by any piece of machinery, equipment, or kitchen appliance. Besides representing mechanical hazards, there is also some risk of fire if items are not properly maintained.
Things to look for include
Chemical risks can be present in substances that contain acids, poisons or aggressive cleaning agents. Risks from exposure or improper use include fire, and poisoning.
Things to look for:
Biological risks include such nasties as bacteria, viruses, mould, and vermin. Where these things are present there are risks of cross-contamination and food poisoning.
Things to look for:
Psychosocial risks can be evidenced by such things as workplace stress, bullying and harassment.