Even in the best-run nurseries accidents can still happen.
But with an effective health & safety policy, the risks of serious illness or injury can be significantly reduced.
A routine of daily checks, safety procedures and staff training will reduce the risks in your nursery.
Here are a few ways you can boost the safety of your nursery.
Check the general safety of the building both indoors and out.
Check for any storm damage such as broken tiles or gutters, fallen trees or branches or broken glass. Also check for signs of vandalism, litter such as cans or ring pulls and also check for animal faeces.
You must check all entrances and exits are clear, check any padlocks are working, check outside gates and fences for damage, make sure security doors and any intercoms are in working order.
Don’t forget to check all lighting is in working order, this applies both inside the nursery and also outside.
Any outdoor play areas and equipment must be checked for safety; any broken equipment must be labelled as such and removed.
Fire protection and safety training are essential and your nursery is required by law to hold regular fire drills.
Unannounced fire drills where all nursery practitioners and children should leave the building in a safe and timely manner should be done regularly.
Care should be taken not to scare the children and a routine of regular fire drills is an effective method of showing the children the fire alarm is just a signal to leave the building and not a warning that the world is coming to the end.
An important part of the role of a nursery practitioner is to implement risk assessments in the nursery.
A risk assessment helps recognise hazards and risks to employees, children and also visitors.
Risk assessment encourages managers and key staff to think about what could go wrong, so that they can control the situation before accidents or ill health occur.
Anticipating risks and hazards and having a plan of action will greatly reduce the chances of accidents or injury in your nursery.
All new staff should have an induction where all your nurseries health and safety procedures are clearly explained. A printout of your procedures should be given to them with their induction pack.
Fire safety and evacuation procedure training should be given to all staff backed up by regular drills.
Paediatric first aid training is now mandatory for all nursery practitioners if they are to be included in your numbers. Certified training backed up by refresher training should be given.
All staff need to know your procedures for illnesses such as meningitis, hepatitis as well as sickness and diarrhoea.
Train your staff to identify risks and how to report them. For instance what to do if the equipment is broken or if outdoor play equipment is suitable for children within a specific age range.
All staff must know how to turn off gas, electricity and water supplies and how to safely use all equipment in the nursery.
Branded ID badges are the perfect way to easily recognise who is allowed in your nursery. It is also an easy way for your staff as well as other visitors to identify who is a visitor and who actually works in your nursery.
In addition, they covey professionalism to parents and reassure them that you take the safety of their children seriously.
Checking doors and gates are in working order has already been mentioned but it is worth highlighting the importance of keeping them shut and secure.
Ideally, an intercom should be used on your main entrance where identification can be checked before your door is even opened.
Signs for parents and visitors reminding them to securely shut doors or gates behind them when entering or leaving should be prominently displayed.
For the security of your staff and also the children it is highly advised that when opening or shutting the nursery your key holders should be accompanied by at least one other member of staff. Additionally, all keys should be kept track of and recovered in the event of a change of staff.