Are you a crèche or school owner? What measures have you taken to safeguard the lives of the precious ones in your care? Have you looked at the existing policies to see if your caregivers are in tune with modern health and safety policies?
Article 24, UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that ‘’Children have the rights to be as healthy as possible, live and play in a safe, healthy unpolluted environment and benefit from preventive health care and education’’.
Often times in crèches and nursery schools, babies and children are left to crawl, roll, or run about on their own although supervised as a part of their learning process. It is the duty of Crèche and School owners to provide children with a healthy, safe and stimulating environment in which to learn and play. Every staff should be provided with basic first aid training and be made aware of potential hazards within the nursery and the surrounding environment and actively protect children from hazards.
A Health and Safety Policy is a written statement by an employer stating the company’s commitment for the protection of the health and safety of employees and general public. Crèches and Schools are required to develop and implement a local Health and Safety Policy that they adhere strictly to, to ensure who does what, when and how usually a Health and Safety team.
A Health and Safety Policy could contain statements along these lines:
- Involve and motivate nursery staff in all matters concerning Health & Safety.
- There should be trained first aid staff including paediatric first aid training to help prevent accidents, injuries and ill-health and to identify and eliminate hazardous situations.
- To carry out workplace health, safety and welfare inspections;
- Achieve a high standard of occupational health, safety, welfare and hygiene.
- Control situations likely to be hazardous to health and safety in the nursery or cause damage to persons or equipment.
- Hygiene rules relating to bodily fluids should be followed with particular care and all staff and caregivers should be aware of how infections can be transmitted.
- Waste should be stored in appropriate containers and disposed of in line with health and safety regulations.
- Ensuring that adequate provision of health and safety notices and warning signs are prominently displayed and comply with the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations.
- Ensure that adequate security arrangements are maintained.
- Ensuring the general cleanliness of the premises and that adequate welfare facilities are provided.
- Ensuring that adequate fire safety arrangements and emergency procedures are implemented and maintained.
- Arranging for the regular testing and maintenance of electrical equipment.
These statements are not exhaustive as Health and Safety policy statements are expression of the values and norms of what a school stands for.
Thus a Health and Safety Policy statement could run into 3-4 pages of these assertions.
What measures have you put in place to safeguard these precious ones in your care? Caregivers are key to a successful implementation of healthy and safety policies. Train them and retrain them for a better safety environment in your creche, nursery and schools.