Health and safety general standards
We believe that the health and safety of children is of paramount importance. We make our setting a safe and healthy place for children, parents, staff and volunteers.
- We aim to make children, parents, staff and volunteers aware of health and safety issues and to minimise the hazards and risks to enable the children to thrive in a healthy and safe environment.
- Our member of staff responsible for health and safety is:
- She is/ competent to carry out these responsibilities.
- She has undertaken health and safety training and regularly updates her knowledge and understanding.
- We display the necessary health and safety poster in
We have public liability insurance and employers' liability insurance. The certificate for public liability insurance is displayed in:
- Our induction training for staff and volunteers includes a clear explanation of health and safety issues, so that all adults are able to adhere to our policy and procedures as they understand their shared responsibility for health and safety. The induction training covers matters of employee well-being, including safe lifting and the storage of potentially dangerous substances.
- We keep records of these induction training sessions and new staff ,volunteers are asked to sign the records to confirm that they have taken part.
- We explain health and safety issues to the parents of new children, so that they understand the part played by these issues in the daily life of the setting.
- As necessary, health and safety training is included in the annual training plans of staff, and health and safety is discussed regularly at our staff meetings.
- We operate a no-smoking policy.
- We make children aware of health and safety issues through discussions, planned activities and routines.
- Low level windows are made from materials that prevent accidental breakage or we ensure that they are made safe.
- We ensure that windows are protected from accidental breakage or vandalism from people outside the building.
- Our windows above the ground floor are secured so that children cannot climb through them.
- We ensure that any blind cords are secured safely and do not pose a strangulation risk for young children.
- We take precautions to prevent children's fingers from being trapped in doors.
Floors and walkways
- All our floor surfaces are checked daily to ensure they are clean and not uneven, wet or damaged. Any wet spills are mopped up immediately.
- Walkways and stairs are left clear and uncluttered.
- We ensure that all electrical/gas equipment conforms to safety requirements and is checked regularly.
- Our boiler/electrical switch gear/meter cupboard is not accessible to the children.
- Fires, heaters, electric sockets, wires and leads are properly guarded and we teach the children not to touch them.
- There are sufficient sockets in our setting to prevent overloading.
- We switch electrical devices off from the plug after use.
- We ensure that the temperature of hot water is controlled to prevent scalds.
- Lighting and ventilation is adequate in all areas of our setting, including storage areas.
- All our resources and materials, which are used by the children, are stored safely.
- All our equipment and resources are stored or stacked safely to prevent them accidentally falling or collapsing.
- Our outdoor area is securely fenced. All gates and fences are childproof and safe.
- Our] outdoor area is checked for safety and cleared of rubbish, animal droppings and any other unsafe items before it is used.
- Adults and children are alerted to the dangers of poisonous plants, herbicides and pesticides.
- We leave receptacles upturned to prevent collection of rainwater. Where water can form a pool on equipment, it is emptied and cleaned before children start playing outside.
- Our outdoor sand pit is covered when not in use and is cleaned regularly.
- We check that children are suitably attired for the weather conditions and type of outdoor activities; ensuring that suncream is applied and hats are worn during the summer months.
- We supervise outdoor activities at all times; and particularly children on climbing equipment.
- We seek information from the Public Health England to ensure that we keep up-to-date with the latest recommendations.
- Our daily routines encourage the children to learn about personal hygiene.
- We have a daily cleaning routine for the setting, which includes the play room(s), kitchen, rest area, toilets and nappy changing areas. Children do not have unsupervised access to the kitchen.
- We have a schedule for cleaning resources and equipment, dressing-up clothes and furnishings.
- The toilet area has a high standard of hygiene, including hand washing and drying facilities and disposal facilities for nappies.
- We implement good hygiene practices by:
- cleaning tables between activities;
- cleaning and checking toilets regularly;
- wearing protective clothing - such as aprons and disposable gloves - as appropriate;
- providing sets of clean clothes;
- providing tissues and wipes; and
Activities, resources and repairs
- Before purchase or loan, we check equipment and resources to ensure that they are safe for the ages and stages of the children currently attending the setting.
- We keep a full inventory of all items in the setting for audit and insurance purposes.
- The layout of our play equipment allows adults and children to move safely and freely between activities.
- All our equipment is regularly checked for cleanliness and safety, and any dangerous items are repaired or discarded.
- We make safe and separate from general use any areas that are unsafe because of repair is needed.
- All our materials, including paint and glue, are non-toxic.
- We ensure that sand is clean and suitable for children's play.
- Physical play is constantly supervised.
- We teach children to handle and store tools safely.
- We check children who are sleeping at regular intervals of at least every ten minutes. This is recorded with the times checked and the initials of the person undertaking the check.
- If children fall asleep in-situ, it may be necessary to move or wake them to make sure they are comfortable.
- Children learn about health, safety and personal hygiene through the activities [we/I] provide and the routines we follow.
- Any faulty equipment is removed from use and is repaired. If it cannot be repaired it is discarded. Large pieces of equipment are discarded only with [the consent of the manager and the management team/my consent].
Jewellery and accessories
- Our staff do not wear jewellery or fashion accessories, such as belts or high heels, that may pose a danger to themselves or children.
- Parents must ensure that any jewellery worn by children poses no danger; particularly earrings which may get pulled, bracelets which can get caught when climbing or necklaces that may pose a risk of strangulation.
- We ensure that hair accessories are removed before children sleep or rest.
Safety of adults
- We ensure that adults are provided with guidance about the safe storage, movement, lifting and erection of large pieces of equipment.
- We provide safe equipment for adults to use when they need to reach up to store equipment
- We ensure that all warning signs are clear and in appropriate languages.
- We ensure that adults do not remain in the building on their own.
- We record the sickness of staff and their involvement in accidents. The records are reviewed termly to identify any issues that need to be addressed.
Control of substances hazardous to health
- Our staff implement the current guidelines of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH).
- We keep a record of all substances that may be hazardous to health - such as cleaning chemicals, or gardening chemicals if used and where they are stored.
- Hazardous substances are stored safely away from the children.
- We carry out a risk assessment for all chemicals used in the setting. This states what the risks are and what to do if they have contact with eyes or skin or are ingested.
- We keep all cleaning chemicals in their original containers.
- We keep the chemicals used in the setting to the minimum in order to ensure health and hygiene is maintained. We do not use:
- anti-bacterial soap/hand wash, unless specifically advised during an infection outbreak such as Pandemic flu; or
- anti-bacterial cleaning agents, except in the toilets, nappy changing area and food preparation areas. Anti-bacterial spays are not used when children are nearby.
- Environmental factors are taken into account when purchasing, using and disposing of chemicals.
- All members of staff are vigilant and use chemicals safely.
- Members of staff wear protective gloves when using cleaning chemicals.
2 Maintaining children’s safety and security on premises
We maintain the highest possible security of our premises to ensure that each child is safely cared for during their time with us.
Children's personal safety
- We ensure all employed staff have been checked for criminal records via an enhanced disclosure with children’s barred list check through the Disclosure and Barring Service.
- Adults do not normally supervise children on their own.
- All children are supervised by adults at all times.
- Whenever children are on the premises at least two adults are present.
- We carry out risk assessments to ensure children are not made vulnerable within any part of our premises, nor by any activity.
- Systems are in place for the safe arrival and departure of children.
- The times of the children's arrivals and departures are recorded.
- The arrival and departure times of visitors is recorded.
- Our systems prevent unauthorised access to our premises.
- Our systems prevent children from leaving our premises unnoticed.
- Our staff check the identity of any person who is not known before they enter the premises.
- The personal possessions of staff and volunteers are securely stored during sessions.
Animals in the setting
Children learn about the natural world, its animals and other living creatures, as part of the Learning and Development Requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage. This may include contact with animals, or other living creatures, either in the setting or on visits. We aim to ensure that this is in accordance with sensible hygiene and safety controls.
Animals in the setting as pets
- We take account of the views of parents and children when selecting an animal or creature to keep as a pet in the setting, as well as any allergies or issues that individual children may have any animals or creatures.
- We carry out a risk assessment with a knowledgeable person accounting for any hygiene or safety risks posed by the animal or creature.
- We provide suitable housing for the animal or creature and ensure this is cleaned out regularly and is kept safely.
- Our staff are knowledgeable of the pet’s welfare and dietary needs and ensure that the correct food is offered, at the right times.
- We make arrangements for weekend and holiday care for the animal or creature.
- We register with the local vet and take out appropriate pet care health insurance.
- We make sure all vaccinations and other regular health measures, such as de-worming, are up-to-date and recorded.
- We teach children the correct handling and care of the animal or creature and supervise them at all times.
- We ensure that children wash their hands after handling the animal or creature and do not have contact with animal soil or soiled bedding.
- We wear disposable gloves when cleaning housing or handling soiled bedding.
- If animals or creatures are brought in by visitors to show the children, they are the responsibility of their owner.
- The owner carries out a risk assessment, detailing how the animal or creature is to be handled and how any safety or hygiene issues will be addressed.
Visits to farms
- Before a visit to a farm, we carry out a risk assessment - this may take account of safety factors listed in the farm’s own risk assessment, which should be viewed.
- We contact the venue in advance of the visit to ensure that there has been no recent outbreak of E.coli or other infections. If there has been an outbreak, we will review the visit and may decide to postpone it.
- We follow our outings procedure.
- Children wash and dry their hands thoroughly after contact with animals.
- Outdoor footwear worn to visit farms is cleaned of mud and debris as soon as possible on departure and should not be worn indoors.
- We advise staff and volunteers who are, or may be, pregnant to avoid contact with ewes and to consult their GP before the visit.
Staff personal safety including home visits
This setting believes that the health and safety of all staff is of paramount importance and that all staff have the right to work in a safe environment. We support safe working both on and off the premises, acknowledging the needs and diversity of children and their family.
- All staff in the building early in the morning, or late in the evening, ensure doors and windows are locked.
- Where possible, at least the first two members of staff to arrive in the building arrive together, and the last two members of staff in the building leave together.
- Minimal petty cash is kept on the premises.
- Members of staff make a note in the diary of meetings they are attending, who they are meeting and when they are expected back.
- Managers have good liaison with local police and ask for advice on safe practice where there are issues or concerns.
Where staff members conduct home visits, this is done at the manager’s discretion and the following health and safety considerations apply:
- Prior to a home visit the key person and manager undertake a risk assessment that is specific to the visit being undertaken.
- Members of staff normally do home visits in pairs – usually the manager/deputy manager with the key person.
- Each home visit is recorded in the diary with the name and address of the family being visited, prior to the visit taking place.
- Staff alert an agreed contact person in the setting when they are leaving to do the home visit and advise on their expected time of return.
- If there is any reason for staff to feel concerned about entering premises, they do not do so, for example, if a parent appears drunk.
- Members of staff carry a mobile phone when going out on a home visit.
- Staff identify an emergency word/phrase, which is made known to all staff in the setting, so that if they feel extremely threatened or in danger on a home visit they can covertly alert other members of staff via a telephone call to the situation. Use of the agreed word/phrase will initiate an immediate 999 call to be made.
- If staff do not return from the home visit at the designated time, the contact person attempts to phone them and continues to do so until they make contact.
- If no contact is made after a reasonable amount of time has passed, the contact person rings the police.
Dealing with agitated parents in the setting
- If a parent appears to be angry, mentally agitated or possibly hostile, two members of staff will lead the parent away from the children to a less open area, but will not shut the door behind them.
- If the person is standing, staff will remain standing.
- Members of staff will try to empathise and ensure that the language they use can be easily understood.
- Staff will speak in low, even tones, below the voice level of the parent.
- Members of staff will make it clear that they want to listen and seek solutions.
- If the person makes threats and continues to be angry, members of staff make it clear that they will be unable to discuss the issue until the person stops shouting or being abusive, while avoiding potentially inflammatory expressions such as ‘calm down’ or ‘be reasonable’.
- If threats or abuse continues, members of staff will explain that the police will be called and emphasise the inappropriateness of such behaviour in front of children.
- After the event, details are recorded in the child’s personal file together with any decisions made with the parents to rectify the situation and any correspondence regarding the incident.
We comply with health and safety regulations and the Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage in making our setting a no-smoking environment - both indoors and outdoors.
- All staff, parents and volunteers are made aware of our No-smoking Policy.
- No-smoking signs are displayed prominently.
- The No-smoking Policy is stated in information for parents and staff.
- We actively encourage no-smoking by having information for parents and staff about where to get help to stop smoking if they are seeking this information.
- Staff who smoke do not do so during working hours, unless on a scheduled break and off the premises.
- Staff who smoke during working hours and travelling to and from work must not do so whilst wearing a setting uniform, or must at least cover the uniform.
- E-cigarettes are not permitted to be used on the premises
- Staff who smoke or use e-cigarettes during their scheduled breaks go to off site or well away from the premises.
- Staff who smoke during their break make every effort to reduce the effects of odour and passive smoking for children and colleagues
- Smoking is not permitted in any vehicles belonging to the setting.
- Staff are made aware that failure to adhere to this policy and procedures may result in disciplinary action.
- It is a criminal offence for employees to smoke in smoke-free areas, with a fixed penalty of £50 or prosecution and a fine of up to £200.
Fire safety and emergency evacuation
We ensure the highest possible standard of fire precautions are in place. The person in charge and our staff are familiar with the current legal requirements. Where necessary we seek the advice of a competent person, such as our Fire Officer or Fire Safety Consultant. A Fire Safety Log Book is used to record the findings of risk assessment, any actions taken or incidents that have occurred and our fire drills.. We ensure our policy is in line with the procedures specific to our building, making reasonable adjustments as required.
Fire safety risk assessment
- The basis of fire safety is risk assessment, carried out by a ‘competent person’.
- The manager has received training in fire safety sufficient to be competent to carry out the risk assessment; this will be written where there are more than five staff and will follow the Government guidance Fire Safety Risk Assessment - Educational Premises (HMG 2006).
- Our fire safety risk assessment focuses on the following for each area of the setting:
- Electrical plugs, wires and sockets.
- Electrical items.
- Gas boilers.
- Flammable materials – including furniture, furnishings, paper etc.
- Flammable chemicals.
- Means of escape.
- Anything else identified.
- Where we rent premises, we will ensure that we have a copy of the fire safety risk assessment that applies to the building and that we contribute to regular reviews.
Fire safety precautions taken
- We ensure that fire doors are clearly marked, never obstructed and easily opened from the inside.
- We ensure that smoke detectors/alarms and fire fighting appliances conform to BS EN standards, are fitted in appropriate high risk areas of the building and are checked as specified by the manufacturer.
- We have all electrical equipment checked annually by a qualified electrician. Any faulty electrical equipment is taken out of use and either repaired or replaced.
- We ensure sockets are covered. Our emergency evacuation procedures are approved by the Fire Safety Officer and are:
- clearly displayed in the premises;
- explained to new members of staff, volunteers and parents; and
- practised regularly, at least once every six weeks.
- Records are kept of fire drills and of the servicing of fire safety equipment.
Emergency evacuation procedure
Every setting is different and the evacuation procedure will be suitable for each setting. It must cover procedures for practice drills including:
- How children are familiar with the sound of the fire alarm.
- How the children, staff and parents know where the fire exits are.
- How children are led from the building to the assembly point.
- How children will be accounted for and who by.
- How long it takes to get the children out safely.
- Who calls the emergency services, and when, in the event of a real fire.
- How parents are contacted.
We hold fire drills termly and record the following information about each fire drill in the Fire Safety Log Book:
- The date and time of the drill.
- Number of adults and children involved.
- How long it took to evacuate.
- Whether there were any problems that delayed evacuation.
- Any further action taken to improve the drill procedure.
We believe that the health and safety of children is of paramount importance. We make our setting a safe and healthy place for children, parents, staff and volunteers by assessing and minimising the hazards and risks to enable the children to thrive in a healthy and safe environment.
Risk assessment means:
Taking note of aspects of your workplace and activities that could cause harm, either to yourself or to others, and deciding what needs to be done to prevent that harm, making sure this is adhered to.
The law does not require that all risk is eliminated, but that ‘reasonable precaution’ is taken. This is particularly important when balancing the need for children to be able to take appropriate risks through physically challenging play. Children need the opportunity to work out what is not safe and what they should do when faced with a risk.
Health and safety risk assessments inform procedures. Staff and parents should be involved in reviewing risk assessments and procedures – they are the ones with first-hand knowledge as to whether the control measures are effective – and they can give an informed view to help update procedures accordingly.
This policy is based on the five steps below:
- Identification of a risk: Where is it and what is it?
- Who is at risk: Childcare staff, children, parents, cooks, cleaners etc?
- Assessment as to whether the level of a risk is high, medium, low. This takes into account both the likelihood of it happening, as well as the possible impact if it did.
- Control measures to reduce/eliminate risk: What will you need to do, or ensure others will do, in order to reduce that risk?
- Monitoring and review: How do you know if what you have said is working, or is thorough enough? If it is not working, it will need to be amended, or maybe there is a better solution.
- Our manager undertake training and ensure [our/my] staff and volunteers have adequate training in health and safety matters.
- Our risk assessment process covers adults and children and includes:
- determining where it is helpful to make some written risk assessments in relation to specific issues, to inform staff, practice, and to demonstrate how we are managing risks if asked by parents and carers and inspectors;
- checking for and noting hazards and risks indoors and outside, in relation to our premises and activities;
- assessing the level of risk and who might be affected;
- deciding which areas need attention; and
- developing an action plan that specifies the action required, the time-scales for action, the person responsible for the action and any funding required.
- Where more than five staff and volunteers are employed, the risk assessment is written and is reviewed regularly.
- We maintain lists of health and safety issues, which are checked daily before the session begins, as well as those that are checked on a weekly and termly basis when a full risk assessment is carried out.
- Our manager ensures that checks, such as electricity and gas safety checks, and any necessary work to the setting premises are carried out annually and records are kept.
- Our manager ensures that staff members carry out risk assessments that include relevant aspects of fire safety, food safety for all areas of the premises.
- Our manager ensures that staff members carry out risk assessments for work practice including:
- changing children;
- preparation and serving of food/drink for children;
- children with allergies;
- cooking activities with children;
- supervising outdoor play and indoor/outdoor climbing equipment;
- [putting babies or young children to sleep;]
- assessment, use and storage of equipment for disabled children;
- the use and storage of substances which may be hazardous to health, such as cleaning chemicals;
- visitors to the setting who are bring equipment or animals as part of children’s learning experiences; and
- following any incidents involving threats against staff or volunteers.
- Our manager ensures that staff members carry out risk assessments for off-site activities if required, including:
- children’s outings (including use of public transport)
- forest school and beach school
- home visits; and
- other off-site duties such as attending meetings, banking etc.
- We take precautions to reduce the risks of exposure to Legionella (Legionnaires disease). Our manager ensure that we are familiar with the HSE guidance and risk assess accordingly/have seen the risk assessment relevant to the premises from the landlord.
Supervision of children on outings and visits
Children benefit from being taken outside of the premises on visits or trips to local parks, or other suitable venues, for activities which enhance their learning experiences. We ensure that there are procedures to keep children safe on outings; all [staff and] volunteers are aware of and follow the procedures as laid out below.
- All off site activity has a clearly identified educational purpose with specific learning and development outcomes.
- There is a designated lead for each excursion who is clear about their responsibility as designated lead.
- We ask parents to sign a general consent on registration for their children to be taken out on local short outings as a part of the daily activities of the setting. This general consent details the venues used for daily activities.
- We assess the risks for each local venue used for daily activities, which is reviewed regularly.
- We always ask parents to sign specific consent forms before major outings; and the risks are assessed before the outing takes place.
- Our manager and all staff taking part in the outing sign off every risk assessment.
- Children with allergies or other specific needs have a separate risk assessment completed i.e. child with allergies visiting a supermarket.
- An excursion will not go ahead if concerns are raised about its viability at any point.
- Any written outing risk assessments are made available for parents to see.
- Our adult to child ratio is high, normally one adult to two children, depending on their age, sensibility and the type of venue, as well as how it is to be reached.
- A minimum of two staff accompany children on outings. Unless the whole setting is on an outing, a minimum of two staff also remain behind with the rest of the children.
- Named children are assigned to individual staff member to ensure that each child is well supervised, that no child goes astray and that there is no unauthorised access to children./I ensure that all children on the outing are well supervised, that no child goes astray and that there is no unauthorised access to children.
- Staff frequently count their designated children and ensure hands are held when on the street and crossing the road.
- Parents who accompany us on outings are responsible for their own child only. Where parents have undergone vetting with us as volunteers, they may be included in the adults to child ratio and have children allocated to them.
- Outings are recorded in an outings record book kept in the setting, stating:
- The date and time of the outing.
- The venue and mode of transport used.
- The names of the staff members assigned to each of the children.
- The time of return.
- We take a mobile phone on outings, as well as supplies of tissues, wipes, spare clothing and nappies, medicines required for individual children, a mini first aid kit, snacks and water. The amount of equipment will vary and be consistent with the venue and the number of children, as well as how long they will be out for. We ensure they are dressed appropriately for the type of outing and weather conditions.
- We take a list of children with us with contact numbers of parents/carers, as well as an accident book and a copy of our Missing Child Policy.
- We provide children with badges or ‘high viz’ vests to wear that contain the name and setting telephone number – but not the name of the child.
- We ensure that seat belts are worn whilst travelling in vehicles and that booster seats and child safety seats are used as appropriate to the age of the child.
- As a precaution, we ensure that children do not eat when travelling in vehicles.
- We ensure that contracted drivers are from reputable companies, do not have unsupervised access to the children and are not included in the ratios.