Sunday, September 9, 2007

Childrens Safety - Why We Shouldn't Risk It

Whether you are a parent or not most people would I'm sure agree
that a child's safety is paramount. This article looks at what
our childcare providers can do to help make sure the risk or
chance of an accident occurring in Schools, Nurseries,
Kindergartens and Day Care Centres is reduced.

Before we look at what steps childcare providers can actually
take to reduce exposure to risk we should first perhaps look at
what risk actually is. Risk can be defined as a hazard, a source
of danger, the possibility of incurring a loss or misfortune or
put another way an accident waiting to happen.

So what can Nurseries, Schools and other childcare providers
actually do then to manage risk and make sure our children's
safety is always at the forefront of their minds?

Well to begin with they can carry out a risk assessment at their
premises and this is perhaps best organized, arranged and
co-coordinated by the person who is ultimately responsible for
the health and safety at the nursery or school.

And whilst the actually risk assessment doesn't necessarily have
to be complicated it can be time consuming as it involves
looking at each area of the premises and noting any potential
hazards or risks. It also should involve looking at the existing
safety measures in place and make recommendations on how
implementing additional safety measures could reduce these risks
even further.

The fact is accidents do happen in nurseries, schools and in all
types of business but by following some simple checks the
chances of an accident happening can be reduced. And as the
owner, manger or person responsible for health and safety has a
duty of care to employees, children, visitors or indeed anyone
visiting the premises risk assessment and ultimately risk
reduction is vital.

Here are just a few areas that nurseries, schools and other
childcare providers should be looking at to firstly see if a
risk exists and then to put preventative measures in place to
reduce it.

Trips, slips and falls - do you have leads trailing across the
floor or any other obstructions? Are there any spillages of
water or any other liquids? And if so what steps are there to
address these once they occur and to warn others? Are there any
loose rugs, mats, carpets or other flooring including
floorboards or tiles? Is the lighting within the school or
nursery adequate (especially on stairs and in cellars or
basements)?

First Aid and Accidents - do you have suitable first aid
equipment on the premises? Do you have employees with first aid
training? Do you have systems in place to deal with accidents
including transport arrangement to the hospital if deemed
necessary?

Safety of Personnel - are staff likely to work alone or handle
cash? Do they have a facility to summon assistance and raise an
alarm?

Outside Areas - will your outside play areas be adequately
supervised? Has the play equipment you provide been suitably
tested and is suitable for the children using it? Will the
children be playing near plants that could be poisonous? Do you
have systems in place to prevent or deal with sunburn and insect
bites and stings?

These are just a few examples of potential risks that may exist
within a nursery, school, kindergarten or other child day care
facility. If you make sure you carry out a risk assessment with
the intention of reducing your exposure to risk not only can you
make sure your employees and children are protected but you
could also see a reduction in your nursery insurance, school
insurance or other business insurance premiums. This is because
many insurance providers reward providers of child care
facilities with discounts and premium savings who have good risk
management procedures.

There really is no excuse for modern nurseries, schools and
kindergartens to fail to make sure their premises is as safe as
possible so make sure you do your best to protect the children
in your care - failing to do so really isn't worth the risk.

About the author:
Mark Burdett is Marketing Manager for The UK Business Insurance
Broker - Northern Counties Insurance.

Mark is a Marketing Expert with over 17 years worth of Marketing
experience in the UK and has worked on successful campaigns for
companies including Norwich Union, Zurich and Kia.

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