1. 1 DESCRIBE THE FACTORS TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT WHEN PLANNING HEALTHY AND SAFE INDOOR AND OUTDOOR ENVIRONMENTS AND SERVICES Teaching staff have a duty of care when looking after children. It is important that they are aware of government legislation regarding health and safety and the school’s own Health and Safety (H&S) policy in regards to risks and hazards so that they know what to look out for and what to do in the case of an incident or accident whether indoors or outdoors.
When working with children and young people staff should always make sure that areas are fit for purpose prior to any learning or play activity; this means making sure a risk assessment is carried out to expose potential risks or situation where children / or adults could have an accident. Should a teaching assistant spot a potential risk then they should make sure that this is dealt with immediately or if necessary logged into an incident book for the caretaker/IT technician to deal with e. . computer cables moved out of the way and reorganised into a cable tidy, or a potential fire hazard dealt with such as paper removed from bins that were in close proximity to computer wires. Other hazards to look out for: Indoor potential risks: •chairs are put away under the tables •teaching equipment is stored safely away •that there is natural light in the room – no blinds are down •there is space for moving around items are picked up off the floor and put away •no clothes or anything left lying on the floor to be tripped over •there is adequate heating or ventilation so it is not too hot or cold •no sharp corners or edges – especially on tables •no substances hazardous to health lying around e. g. chemicals such as bleach or those used in science labs •foodstuffs that can cause allergic reactions e. g. peanuts •fire exits are clear from blockages such as boxes etc. no loose wires to trip over or bare wire ends which could electrocute •children have correct footwear and clothing e. g. lab coats and goggles in a science class/plimsolls in a PE lesson to give adequate protection in the setting It is very easy for young children who move around the classroom quickly and who aren’t aware of risks to trip over things or knock into chairs or even each other. This is made more acute when they rushing to outside at break or are hungry and want their lunch or want to leave when it is going home time.
In this instance going off in 2’s or 3’s will be easier than a large group. As space can be tight in schools (especially in cities with classrooms being smaller) with any available space used, it is even more important to make sure that pathways around tables and in and out of the classroom are clear for ease of access and to minimise the risk of accidents. It is also easy for staff to bump into tables and chairs when trying to circumnavigate obstacles, especially when in a hurry.
Staff should also be aware of risks to parents who come into the classrooms (especially in reception and year 1) when it is drop off or pick up time, for example if someone is pregnant, as the risk to the mother and the unborn child can be greater due to the mother not being able to steady themselves as easily if they trip over something. In dining halls foodstuffs containing peanuts are not allowed on site either in lunch boxes or in school dinners and children are not allowed to share their food in case anyone suffers from a food allergy which may result in a food allergy or an anaphylactic shock.
Most schools have trained staff who are able to use an Epipen in the case of such an incident and have statement which indicates what is the allergy, how it manifests itself, what symptoms will appear and what should be done in the case of an emergency. (See attached sheet on Anaphylaxis Emergency Plan 1. 1b). The Health and Safety Executive have issued the following guidance: ‘Medicines legislation restricts the administration of injectable medicines.
Unless self-administered, they may only be administered by or in accordance with the instructions of a doctor (e. g. by a nurse)… The use of an Epipen to treat anaphylactic shock falls into this category. Therefore, first aiders may administer an Epipen if they are dealing with a life threatening emergency in a casualty who has been prescribed and is in possession of an Epipen and where the first aider is trained to use it. (HSE) [www. muir-walker. coop/training/anaphylaxis-and-epipens] Accessed 29/11/12 Outdoor potential risks: •Making sure that perimeter fencing around the school is adequate e. g. no holes or broken and gates are secure •Slippery/wet leaves •Nothing in the way for children and toddlers to trip over on the way in •Making sure climbing frames such as Trim Trail have no potential hazards from insecure rope ladders etc. Sandpits and water areas must be covered when not in use •Children using skipping ropes should be made aware of the risks to others when using skipping ropes An example of how difficult it can be to minimise risk is in the case of XXXX Primary School who have tried to minimise the risks of any accidents happening by asking parents (via newsletter) not to let their children play or run around the school or climb apparatus when waiting to pick up siblings, in case of accidents.
This is difficult to achieve as everyone involved has to be on board and with toddlers and young children there is a lot of space to have fun in. In addition, there are no clear warnings in sight and only a few parents take heed of this allowing their children to have freedom in the playground; unfortunately the potential for an accident occurring out of class time is still there.