This section provides information on the basic information held and required for work places with children.
All information about a child is kept on a file or folder or on a computer system, all this information has to be up to date incase of emergency.
All visitors should be CRB checked before entering the child care establishment and should give there full details including contact details to the place.
Legislation and Guidelines
Every carer of a child in England must be aware of the current legislation, guidelines and laws. The Health and Safety at work act 1974 is the most important piece of legislation relating to health and safety. There are a few main points that work places involving children and employees must take into account -
* Employers must ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of employees and those affected by their work.
* Settings with five or more employees must have a written safety policy which must include specific procedures to cover emergencies such as accidents and events that require evacuation of the building.
* Settings with five or more employees must carry out a risk assessment and show how risks are minimized.
* Employers must provide for health and safety in relation to the area of work and the use of equipment (toys) etc.
Other regulations of health and safety have been added since the introduction of the act.
There is also other Health and Safety regulations such as the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 - this act requires employers to display official posters etc giving basic information on health and safety law so the staffs are always aware of the requirements of the health and safety acts.
All people whom care for children should be aware of the health and safety requirements without having to refer to any legislations or guidelines although it is good to have them available. Another guideline that helps to keep children safe is the Reporting of injury and dangerous occurrences regulations 1995. This requires that all work places involving children must provide an accident report book with separate sections for reporting accidents to children and adults. Any injury that requires a member of staff to take more than three days off must be reported to the relevant authority. The local environmental health or social services departments will advise members of staff on the reporting procedures.
Health and Safety with food is very important and there are many guidelines to be followed around food safety. The General Food Hygiene regulations 1995 state that settings which prepare or provide food for children must register with the environmental health department of the local authority. They must then insure that people handling and preparing food have had basic training such as the Basic Food Hygiene Certificate.
The Food Safety Act 1990 is more or less the same as the other act but applies to anyone who is involved in the production, processing, storage, distribution or sale of food. It ensures that any of the above people are not unfit to work or have had an injury or illness. The food must not be contaminated or falsely misleadingly described, it must be of high quality and defiantly not contaminated.
Another act that must be followed is the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002. This act requires employers to control exposure to hazardous substances by ensuring they are kept separately in a marked locked cupboard. This act shows eight steps that employers and employees should consider:
1. Assess the risk.
2. Decide what precautions are needed.
3. Prevention of exposure.
4. Ensure that control measures are used and maintained.
5. Monitor the exposure
6. Carry out appropriate health surveillance.
7. Prepare plans and procedures to deal with accidents, incidents and emergencies.
8. Ensure employees are properly informed, trained and supervised.
It goes without saying that all work places have to try and reduce the risk of accidents and all dangerous substances such as bleach or cleaning products and children's medication should be out of reach of children and under lock and key.
The Children act 2004 is different to any of the other legislations or guidelines because it involves all sorts of aspects in caring for children and also their families. The Children Act 2004 places a duty on services to ensure that every child, whatever their background or circumstances, to have the support they need to:
* Be happy.
* Stay safe.
* Enjoy and achieve through learning.
* Make a positive contribution to society.
* Achieve economic well-being. This means that the Children and Families will have easier access to information and advice services at a local level, earlier support for parents experiencing difficulties, Practitioners from Social Services and Education working together in teams, one point of contact for information and assessment and ensure the welfare and safety for children and young people who may be at risk. Another act which does a similar thing to the Children act 2004 is the Childcare act 2006.
Risks In any Childcare facility or establishment there will always be an element of risk, weather it is running in the playground or climbing on the apparatus. All people who care for children should be aware of the possibilities of injury or harm, not just to the children but to themselves, families and visitors. All child care workers should encourage children to take safe risks as they explore their environment, and develop new skills.
The main risks to people within a child care establishment is the risk of injury but also the possibility of infection such as illness from other people which can spread, or the possibility of danger from an electricity plug etc. Careful planning and thought will help to reduce the potential harm to any child. Under health and safety laws all settings are required to undertake risk assessment. The most efficient way of conducting a correct risk assessment is to use all teams of staff. To help people know what to check and look for good practice checklists are provided to members of staff.
Risk Assessment To ensure a healthy, safe and secure environment carers should be able to identify potential hazards and risks and take action to reduce them. A risk assessment is the checking of equipment and facilities indoors and out doors and making a written note of any possible risks. Risk assessments must also be carried out on an outing etc. Employees would carry out a risk assessment check daily noting if anything as not as it should be. Many of the risks in a nursery could be potentially dangerous and all children and adults should be aware of this. All employees should be aware of the possible risks concerning the risks stated on the list, they should know what to look for and how to prevent and report it.
Risk Assessment procedures Not only is risk assessments carried out on equipment and places they are also used on checking personal information is safe and secure and that no unauthorized person can access the information. Risk assessments must be carried out very often and defiantly once a day if not more. Carers should also be aware that some children can be risks to themselves and others and carers should be supervising the children according to age and abilities, as some children will need more supervision than others. I will now show many of the risks that are there and what could happen if they the risk assessment is not carried out correctly.
Indoors Toilets -have more that one danger as children could lock themselves inside the cubical - this would be prevented by teaching the children about toilet safety and having high locks on toilet doors. Children could slip on wet floors, or fall while climbing so - wet floors should be wiped immediately and child steps for high toilets should be provided. Another risk is bacteria flourishing so - appropriate hygiene procedures should be followed and correct disinfectants should be used accordingly and all cleaning materials should be locked in a cupboard out of children's reach. Finally children could burn themselves on hot water so - the thermostat which controls the temperature must never be too high, and should be regularly checked.
Electric Sockets - the main risk with this is that a child could poke an object into the socket - this can be prevented simply by using socket covers on sockets not in use. Doors - There are two main risks with doors these are the fact that children could escape, Children could also trap there fingers in the doors - this can be prevented by locking doors and making sure fire doors are assessable but not easily escapable. Also doors should be slow closing mechanism with safety covers on edges of doors. Stairs - the main and only risk with stairs is the fact that children can fall down them.
This is simply prevented by having safety gates safely locked and by occupying children while using the stairs and teaching them how to use the hand rail correctly. Window - Children can fall out of windows so they must always be locked and safety glass should be installed. If windows need to be open they should only be open up to the child safety lock. Theses are the main risks in any establishment with children. Not only should care workers be looking out for these risks they should be looking out for any other potential risks or hazards.
Procedures for hygiene control Infection prevention - To prevent infection in children, carer's must follow correct procedures of health and safety. Correct hand washing materials and disinfectants must be provided and used regularly.
Personal Hygiene - Personal hygiene is very important especially when handling food or children as they are more prone to infection than adults. Adults must maintain high levels of hygiene to avoid bacteria transferring from their hands and clothing onto babies and children, good hand washing is essential in preventing the spread of infection and reducing the risk of cross-contamination. It is best to use liquid soap from a dispenser than a soap bar, as liquid soap is less likely to become contaminated.
Health and Safety ~ Food Hygiene ~ Food Handling -
Food storage is an essential health and safety matter and certain rules should be followed with the regulations. Food should be stored at the correct temperatures; below 4oC for fridges, and -18oC for freezers. All raw food such as meat should be stored below fresh food in the fridge. All food should be covered with something such as cling film. Sandwiches should be prepared just prior to eating, and dry ingredients should be stored in air tight containers.
Food preparation should be very careful and hands should be washed before and after handling food, and before handling raw and cooked food. When using towels they should be disposed of correctly or wash after use. Food should not be reheated, and all food should be thoroughly cooked and should have been left to cool for a few minutes before consumed. If the food handler smokes they should not smoke before preparing food. If anyone who prepares food has had or shows any sign of diarrhea or vomiting they should not prepare food and should be sent home. Most importantly carer's who prepare food should have completed a food hygiene course.
Before food is prepared all surfaces should be cleaned this should be done regularly. Spills should always be cleaned up promptly. Any waste or waste disposal units should be in sealed bins which are far away from the food preparation area. A good food handler is a non smoker and who is clean and is very aware of the procedures and hygiene control.
Dealing with bodily fluids and waste - While there is general concern about infections such as HIV, there is no evidence to suggest that HIV can spread through these body fluids. However there is a risk that blood-borne viruses such as hepatitis C and HIV may be spread by blood-to-blood contact. A child may be HIV positive or have hepatitis without the carers knowing about it, so it is essential that all accidents or incidents that involve body fluids are managed by following the appropriate procedures.