The Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978 is the primary piece of legislation covering work-related health and safety in Northern Ireland. It sets out a lot of your employer’s responsibilities for your health and safety at work. (taken from NI Direct website) It is my company’s responsibility to comply with the order to prevent and or minimize the number of accidents and illnesses in the workplace. The managing directors are the designated health and safety persons and with that it is their responsibility to ensure the company is compliant with Health and Safety Legislation.
Whilst the company will do everything possible to ensure the Health and Safety of the employees it is the responsibility of the employees to adhere to all policies and procedures in relation to health and safety at work.
When a new staff member starts in the company, I will do an induction with them before they start. In this induction, the staff member will be made aware of how to carry out their role as safely as possible.
The employee will be given the chance to clarify any uncertainties they may have in relation to their job role.
As Deputy Manager I am responsible for policy communication, practical implementation, monitoring and reviews of the Health and Safety in my branch. This will include the following:
Any defects or potential hazards are rectified accordingly.
COSHH is put in place in my workplace to protect any persons in my setting from any hazardous substances that they may come into contact with. Persons will include staff, children, parents and any outside agencies that would come into my setting. It is my responsibility to take effective measures and to maintain good standards of practice in line with COSHH regulations. I can do this by determining which substances we may use are harmful and making sure that they are used in the correct manner. I can do this by checking labels and data safety sheets or the correct instructions and advice on how to use the product. If I start using a new product It is my responsibility to check any instructions and to obtain data safety sheets from the supplier to make sure the product is safe and effective to use in a childcare setting. I do try and use the same products to avoid this however there may be occasions when this is not possible as quite often products can be discontinued or unavailable.
I remind staff to make sure that all bottles must be clearly labeled and that nozzles should be in the OFF position when not being used. All cleaning product must be stored in a locked cupboard or in a safe place in the playroom away from the children’s reach.
As deputy manager in the branch I am responsible for the practical implementation of the Fire Management Policy and to act as a fire marshal for staff and children under my control.
I must comply with The Fire and Rescue Services (NI) Order 2006 (FSO) and The Fire Safety Regulations (NI) 2010 in order to the reduce the likelihood of a fire occurring and in the unlikely event of a fire, to protect all children, employees and visitors from injury and to help minimize any potential damage to the property.
For me to maintain good practice I should:
Fire drills are carried out regularly and fire bells are tested every week records of all evacuations and tests are kept in the Fire Management Folder.
All visitors in the premises are made aware of any fire safety instructions as required this may include location of fire exits and fire extinguishers.
When an employee starts in, they will be given a checklist to complete with myself in their first week. The employee must sign to confirm that they have been shown and explained certain things some of which relate to Health and Safety. Please see attached Doc 1 (Employees First Week) Taken form Rascals Day Nurseries Induction Pack.
The Manual Handling Operations Regulation (NI) 1992 is a piece of legislation that protects employers and employees with all manual handling activities in the workplace regardless of the weight and for any persons who would be handling or lifting and lowering loads.
This legislation states that employees are required to make and if necessary review appropriate risk assessments, reduce the level of risk to the lowest possible level and also provide employees with the relevant training.
During the induction process, all new staff are asked to watch three manual handling videos and are given the manual handling leaflet. They must sign of that they have been shown both. Staff are also made aware of our extensive policies and procedures and risk assessments and are made aware of where they can locate them if necessary. There is also a Staff Accident at Work Policy which outlines what should be done if a staff member is involved in an accident or a serious incident in the setting.
I feel that this regulation is essential in my workplace as the staff would be regularly lifting and carrying children and therefore need to be aware of the appropriate way to this as safe as possible to reduce the risk of injury. Although most the staff will follow all the proper manual handling procedures there are some that will lift and carry children in a way that would be harmful to them. Another thing would be that some of the children would be heavy and this opposes a risk to both staff members and child.
Be able to implement and monitor compliance with health, safety and risk management requirements in health and social care or children and young people’s settings.
In my job role as Deputy Manager of the setting, I often come across times when staff members do not comply with health, safety and risk assessment, procedures and practices.
During a staff induction, I was doing the new staff member informed me that it was against her religious beliefs to remove her piercings and her engagement ring. I explained to her that this was a breach of our policy as staff are only permitted to wear a watch and or wedding band. The staff member would oppose a risk to the children as her ring had a large stone and could scratch a child for example during a nappy change. Also, if one of her piercings became lose it could become detached and therefore fall out which would cause a threat to a child who could potentially put the jewelry in his/her mouth. After some discussions back and forth the staff member it was agreed that she would remove the ring and cover the piercings with a secure plaster.
Another time when a staff member was not being compliant was when she was carrying a child in one arm and holding the hand of another whilst coming down the stairs. This is not our policy and therefore should not be done. It could cause a accident to the staff member and the two children. The staff member understood that she was not following policy and was shown the correct way and an explanation as to why we do this was given.
As part of my job role I would be expected to complete and update records regularly. If there are any updates to the policies, I would have to replace the policies in the folder, make staff aware of the changes and get them to sign a staff signing sheet to agree they have been made aware of any changes.
There are daily fire risk assessments that must be completed in after our recent fire safety audit.
I also must carry out and update and review any risk assessments we have, for example I am taking the children to the park I must complete a risk assessment beforehand. All risk assessments are kept and stored for reference.
Be able to promote a culture where needs and risks are balanced with health and safety practice in health and social care or children and young people’s setting.
I feel I have a well-balanced approach to risk management; it is part of my job to make all staff aware of what is expected of them but not to the point where they would be afraid to carry out their role.
I am sometimes overly cautious as I want the best possible outcome in every situation that involves my staff and the children in my care.
I have had an experience when a child as had a febrile convulsion and therefore, I would tend to be extra vigilant when a child has a temperature and how to best deal with it to prevent a convulsion. My setting has a Febrile Convulsion Policy which after the incident was reviewed and amended where necessary. This included giving the parents of any child that would be prone to convulsions a form to complete outlining trigger temperature’s and when medication should be given. Had I have had this information beforehand the risk to the chid could have been reduced.
Another example would be that I was looking after a child in the garden and the gate was not fully secured, the child got out the gate into another part of the garden on a tricycle and down a ramp, the child injured itself at the bottom of the ramp. Going forward after this incident another gate was put in the middle of the ramp and the staff were reminded that they must check all gates behind them to ensure the children’s safety. The policy in my setting states that 50% of the staff should always be standing outside so they have a bird’s eye view of what’s happening during outdoor play.
There was a situation in my workplace where a staff member was using the cleaning company cleaning solution to wash the floor in her playroom. This was cause for concern as these substances should not be used by the nursery staff and only by the cleaners who provide them and could have caused a serious injury if not used in the correct way. As these solutions are not supplied by the company the staff have not been shown or trained in how to use them correctly. Any products the nursery supplies are included in our policies and staff are shown how to use them correctly. After this incident, I separated all the cleaning supplies giving the cleaning company an area where they should keep their supplies. Going forward all products must be clearly labeled Rascals or Finaghy Cleaning.