Support Children & Young People’s Health & Safety Essay
Learning Outcome 1
Understand how to plan and provide environments and services that support children and young people’s health & safety 1.1) Describe the factors to take into account when planning healthy and safe indoor and outdoor environments and services. When planning any kind of activity with children and young people there are a number of factors you must take into consideration. You must make sure that the environment is free of hazards and children can work safely. Rooms should be organised so that they are safe and there is enough space for the number of people to move around comfortably. Everyone should be able to access materials and equipment without their being any risk involved. There should be enough lighting for the children to work comfortably and you should check that any artificial lighting isn’t too harsh and may cause headaches. You should also check that the noise surrounding the room is an acceptable level at all times.
It is important also to take into account any specific risk to individuals such as pregnancy, a sensory impairment or any other needs which may impact on the way you plan the environment or carry out activities. When planning activities and environments you should also take into account the specific needs of the young people you’re working with, such as the age, abilities and needs of them. You should be particularly aware of any special educational needs the children may have. Furniture should be an appropriate size for the children to sit comfortably whilst working. As we have a duty of care to children we should make sure the environment they are working in makes them feel comfortable and secure and be conducive to learning. Outdoor spaces should be secure and boundaries should be inspected regularly to ensure they are safe.
The areas should be checked to make sure that there is no litter, broken glass or animal mess. If you are the person responsible for setting up equipment you should make sure that children are aware of how it should be used correctly and you should reinforce behaviour expectations and rules regularly. Equipment should always be appropriate to the space available and should be put away safely. Safety equipment which is provided for use should always be used. This usually applies to Design Technology lessons and also Science practical lessons. All Health & Safety must meet the regulatory requirements and the school’s policies for this must be followed at all times.
1.2) Explain how health & safety is monitored and maintained and how people in the work setting are made aware of the risks and hazards and are encouraged to work safely. The person who is responsible for health & safety in any setting should ensure that they carry out regular safety checks or if they are unable to do so they should make sure that they take place regularly. Regular walk rounds make sure that there aren’t any hazards which are unreported. If a hazard is discovered they should be recorded and reported immediately. Safety checks should be made on all equipment which could become hazardous if they are left neglected. All electrical items should have annual checks by a qualified electrician.
Fire extinguishers should be checked annually and the date of the check recorded on the outside. Health and safety should be a discussion point at any meetings you attend and staff should be reminded often about any issues surrounding it. Staff, parent-helpers, visitors, volunteers, and supply staff are all issued with a copy of the Health & Safety procedures upon arrival and made aware of their responsibilities in terms of health & safety. All schools should have various policies in place surrounding health and safety to ensure good practice. Policies and procedures are reviewed regularly and all accidents and incidents are recorded in a specific place.
Staff should be kept fully informed of any changes to policies and procedures surrounding health and safety and should undergo staff training if necessary. Students are made aware of health & safety during the course of their education, if the health & safety is subject specific eg. Science, Technology or PE perhaps, they will learn about in those lessons. General teaching of health & safety may usually be taught during PSHCE lessons. Health & safety is even covered in EYFS to ensure children are aware of it from a very young age.
1.3) Identify sources of current guidance for planning healthy and safe environments and services. The Health & Safety at Work Act (1974) was designed to protect everyone at work by giving procedures to prevent accidents. Other sources of current guidance come from the Health & Safety Executive, the Department for Education, St. John’s Ambulance, The British Red Cross and the British Standards Institute (BSI). All of the guidance given by these institutes serve to ensure that health & safety policies and procedures are effective in minimising any risk to children and young people and the adults working with them. 1.4) Explain how current health & safety legislation, policies and procedures are implemented in own work setting or service.
There are several key pieces of legislation that impact on how schools manage the health and safety of both their employees, and others who come into contact with the school e.g pupils, support workers and parents. These pieces of legislation are: The Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974, the Health & Safety (Young Persons) Regulations 1997, Fire Precautions (Workplace) 1997, Care Standards Act, Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1994 (COSHH), Health & Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981, Food Handling Regulations 1995, Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992. All of these acts places the responsibility of ensuring the health and safety and welfare of employees and children in the setting, with the employer. This is relevant for all environments but particularly so in a school setting. This along with a number of other policies serves to provide the school with the current legislation which informs them of the requirements needed to put into the schools health and safety policy.
Staff are all made aware of the health and safety policy and are immediately informed when any changes to the policy are made. All relevant staff receive training as and when it is required. All staff are responsible for reporting any hazards they encounter and in my setting this is done by contacting identified members of staff who are the school’s named health & safety representatives they are then responsible for dealing with the hazard in the appropriate way. Annual risk assessments are carried out by the school and this determines which activities are more likely to prove hazardous. All materials and equipment used in school is checked regularly by the relevant health and safety officer, they ensure that the equipment meets the required standards and if it doesn’t then it is removed from the area to ensure it is not used. In the Science department any dangerous chemicals are kept away from the classrooms and are prepared by trained members of staff as and when required for experiments.
Any members of staff involved in an off-site visit or activity must fill out a risk assessment sheet, blank copies of these can be accessed by all staff. There are different ones for travel by foot, coach, travel abroad. There are also risk assessments required when an external activity provider is coming into the school. The person leading the activity will fill in the risk assessment but then ultimately it will be checked by the Health & Safety Officer to ensure that everything required has been done correctly. The First Aid staff members are the people responsible for dealing with accidents in the first instance and if necessary they will report these accidents accordingly follow the RIDDOR legislation (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulation 1995). Ultimately everyone working in my setting is responsible for ensuring the children in the setting are cared for and safe. The Children Act 1989 and Children (Scotland) Act 1995 requires that we do this and prevent any risks which may occur.
Learning outcome 2
Be able to recognise risks to health, safety and security in a work setting or off site visits. 2.4)Explain how health and safety risk assessments are monitored and reviewed. During your normal course of practice it is likely that you will be involved in a risk assessment in some way. This may be because you have some degree of responsibility for health and safety or simply because you are supporting an educational visit. The member of staff leading the visit is usually responsible for ensuring the risk assessment is carried out and paperwork completed in good time before the visit. They are then passed to the representative responsible for checking them and the Head Teacher to ensure they have been completed correctly.
Risk assessments are monitored regularly as a matter of course to ensure that they are in line with current health and safety regulations. The health and safety policies and procedures are also updated regularly for the same reason. Detailed records of accidents and incidents are kept in an accident book to ensure that everyone is aware of the types of occurrence which have taken place. These will then be used to inform any changes to policies and procedures if necessary.
Learning outcome 3
Understand how to support children and young people to assess and manage risk for themselves. 3.1)Explain why it is important to take a balanced approach to risk management. Children and young people learn about both excessive risk taking and risk aversion from adults. It is important for children and young people to have opportunities to take some risks, most activities they participate in will have some degree of risk involved. Keeping a child away from being exposed to some risk doesn’t allow them to explore and discover the world for themselves, therefore they will be unable to assess the elements of danger. If they are unable to do this as a child they will continue into adulthood being unable to do so.
When a more balanced approach is taken the children and young people are given more independence and will be more likely to grow in confidence. They should be encouraged to think about the risks they could encounter and act accordingly. It is important that young people are encouraged to identify hazards and manage risks appropriately. Risks have to be assessed in terms of a child or young person’s age, needs or abilities. 3.2)Explain the dilemma between the rights and choices of young people and health and safety requirements.
The adult’s role is to encourage the child to explore, learn to make choices and have their voice heard when decisions are being made that involve or affect them. This promotes their development by increasing their independence and confidence. It also gives them the tools to learn how to manage and assess risks through into adulthood. This is an essential life skill they will need. Health and safety regulations may sometimes put a limit on those freedoms, so for the child’s wellbeing and safety we may limit their options.
This may sometimes seem unfair to the child or young person so it important that the reasons for them being unable to do something are explained fully. Parents expect children and young people to be kept safe in school and some would be very annoyed if they thought their child was being exposed to anything at all which could put them in danger. This is understandable to a point but I feel they should be given certain opportunities which could be deemed as risky to enhance their opportunities. 3.3)Give example from own practice of supporting children or young people to assess and manage risk.
The student I support full time is a 12 year old boy with Down Syndrome. He has currently just gone into year 8. During year 7, in Science lessons, the Foundation Learning class he was in was never exposed to any kind of practical activity. This changed once the class moved into year 8 and they began having Science lessons in the lab classrooms. One of the first practical lessons he took part in was to use burn certain foods under a test tube full of water to see how much energy each food produced and how much it heated the water in the test tube by recording the heat of the water with a thermometer. My student was very reluctant to do this as he had never done anything of the kind before. At the beginning of the lesson the safety rules and instructions for using equipment we discussed as a class and all the students were aware of what they had to do.
The activity was done in pairs and I supported both students by helping them set up the equipment, I talked through any concerns they had so they felt more comfortable in participating. I showed them what to do with the first food item and by modelling what to do I was able to show them that although there were risks involved, they weren’t sufficient so as to stop them doing such activities. Both students took it in turn to burn two further food stuffs each with the other recording the temperature and when asked at the end of the lesson whether they would enjoy doing a similar experiment again in the future they agreed they would. The student I support has since participated in several other practical activities with increased confidence and awareness of how sometimes the benefits of such things can outweigh the risk.
Learning outcome 4
Understand appropriate responses to accidents, incidents and emergencies and illness in work settings and off site visits. 4.1) Explain the policies and procedures of the setting or service in response to accidents, incidents, emergencies and illness.
All schools must ensure they have policies and procedures in place to protect all adults and pupils while in school and on off site visits. In my setting if there is an accident or illness there are a number of trained first aiders in school to deal with accidents, illness or emergencies. The principal first aider is located close to student services, all students and staff are aware of where to find her. If a student reports to a member of staff that they are feeling unwell, they would usually gauge the severity of the illness by considering the signs and symptoms of the illness in question before sending them to see the First Aider. If I am with a student who complains of feeling unwell and I feel it necessary that they go to First Aid I usually accompany them to ensure they get there safely and without problem.
The appropriate treatment (if required) is then actioned and if the pupil feels well enough to remain in school then they will do so, if not then a parent or carer is contacted and arrangements are made for the pupil to go home. If the child is well enough the following day after illness to attend school then they may do so. This is unless they have any infectious diseases which could spread to other pupils. Parents must inform school of any absence from school due to illness or accident. Similarly on any off site visit there is always an appropriate number of staff, dependent upon the number of pupils on the trip, who are trained as first aiders. All staff on an off site trip are made aware of who the first aiders are. The first aid boxes are checked and refilled regularly and there is one available in each curriculum area to ensure a quick response to any accidents or illnesses. There are clear guidelines for reporting accidents which all staff are made aware of upon commencement of employment.
All visitors to BBEC have to be signed in as a visitor and issued with a visible pass so they are easily identified as a visitor once in school. Adults may not enter the school via the main student doors, there is a visitors entrance where they have to report to reception before being admitted into the building. Any adults in school without a visitors badge must be challenged immediately. Visitors into school are unable to exit without asking permission from the school office as the entry and exit points into the main school building are locked, General health & safety is discussed regularly and all adults within my setting are aware that it is a joint responsibility. Where a child may have an accident they will, where possible, go see the principal first aider, she will then carry out the relevant treatment for the injury and make a record of the accident, the date, time, student name and year group the student is in into a book.
She will then give the student a slip detailing what has happened, what treatment has been given and what further advice, if any, needs to be applied. This is the case for minor incidents. For bigger accidents/injuries the first aider will assess the need to emergency assistance from the paramedics, she will contact them, carryout the advice they give whilst asking someone else to contact parents/carers to inform them of what has happened. Hazardous substances are anything which is deemed as harmful and they are stored locked away in a separate area away from the students being able to access them. In the Science area there is a specific preparation room where chemicals etc are stored. Medicines which parents have given school permission to administer are stored in a locked cabinet in the first aid room. Cleaning materials are kept in a locked cupboard, only accessible to the cleaning staff who are required to use them.
There are several reasons why a school may need to be evacuated, this could be fire, bomb scare or any other emergency. At BBEC a loud fire alarm sounds to denote that evacuation is required. The lift stops working and all students are ushered out of the class and taken to the nearest fore escape by the adults who are with them. They then evacuate the building, moving to the relevant designated area as directed by the staff. Every classroom has a typed sign with the room number on and the staff teaching in that room must hold this on display so the students in that class are aware of where to go. Everyone must remain outside until advised otherwise. For the students who have a disability there is a procedure in place where a designated person will take them to the appropriate evacuation point and wait with them until help arrives.
Help will then get them into an EVAC chair and evacuate them from the building in that way. All visitors to school are made aware of the evacuation policy upon arrival. Fire drills and evacuation procedures are displayed on the inside of each classroom door and all adults are aware of where to evacuate pupils to. If I was on a school visit I would have been told of the evacuation procedure in advance of the trip as part of the risk assessment taken. If I was supporting on school trip I would periodically do a head count to ensure that no students have gone astray. This is unlikely to happen if you have followed the health and safety guidelines correctly. If a pupil did go missing you would raise the alarm immediately.
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