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Yarm Gwanga Providing a Child Safe Environment Guideline

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Section 1 - Overview

(1) Yarm Gwanga is committed to child safety and provides an environment that ensures the safety, health and wellbeing of children at all times. Yarm Gwanga is committed to the safety, participation and empowerment of all children. All children have the right to be educated and cared for in a safe environment.

(2) For the purposes of clause 168 (2)(h) of the Education and Care Services National Regulations this Guideline is considered to be the policy and procedure.

(3) These Guidelines satisfy the following National Quality Standards:

  1. Quality Area 2 Children's Health and Safety
    1. 2.3.2 Every reasonable precaution is taken to protect children from harm and any hazard likely to cause injury; and
    2. 2.3.3 Plans to effectively manage incidents and emergencies are developed in consultation with relevant authorities, practised and implemented.
  2. Quality Area A7 Leadership and Management - 7.3.5 Service practices are based on effectively documented policies and procedures that are available at the service and reviewed regularly.
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Section 2 - Scope

(4) This Guideline applies to all UNE Representatives, children and families, and all visitors to the services.

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Section 3 - Guideline

General Requirements

(5) These Guidelines supplement the University's rules, policies, procedures and guidelines regarding Work Place Health and Safety and Safe Work environments.

(6) The UNE WHS Rule will be referred to as well as the UNE Operational Procedures specific to the management of Work Health and Safety. (http://www.une.edu.au/safety/whs-procedures )

(7) In accordance with the Education and Care Services National Regulations, the correct ratios of educators to children will be maintained at all times.

(8) Rooms and environments will be organised and maintained in order to minimise risks to children.

(9) Every reasonable precaution will be taken to protect children being educated and cared for by the service from harm and from any hazard likely to cause injury.

(10) Yarm Gwanga will be free at all times from the use of tobacco, illicit drugs and alcohol. All persons involved with the education and care of children at the service will not be affected by or consume alcohol or drugs (including prescription medication) that would impair their capacity to supervise or provide education and care to children at the service.

(11) A safe, age appropriate environment will be provided that caters to the individual needs of each child, including their need for sleep or rest.

(12) Hygienic practices will be implemented in-line with the service's relevant policies and procedures in accordance with recommendations from Staying Healthy in Child care. (https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines-publications/ch55 )

(13) Staffing arrangements will provide a safe and predictable environment for children; to support children to be and feel physically and emotionally safe within the environment.

Implementation and Procedures

(14) Supervision — Yarm Gwanga will:

  1. Ensure that sufficient numbers of educators are included in staff: child ratios to provide adequate supervision of children at all times.
  2. Ensure qualifications of educators are adequate and meet required regulations.
  3. Ensure all educators are aware of the importance and need for adequate supervision of children at all times and always supervise appropriately. This will include both indoor and outdoor play environments.
  4. Ensure educators request support whenever supervision is compromised within their room or age group to ensure the health and safety of all children.
  5. Ensure educators complete a check of all play and sleep areas at the end of day to ensure all children have been collected.

(15) Security — Yarm Gwanga will:

  1. Ensure only approved Educators will be given access to the building out of operating hours.
  2. Ensure that the building is left in a secure manner before leaving and all windows, cupboards, and other relevant areas are locked, all heating and lighting is off and all doors properly secured.
  3. Ensure that a written record is kept of all visitors to the service, including time of arrival and departure and purpose of visit.

(16) Buildings, Equipment and Maintenance — Yarm Gwanga will:

  1. Ensure premises and all equipment and furniture will be maintained in a safe, clean condition and in good repair at all times. All worn or damaged equipment and resources are replaced or repaired.
  2. Ensure indoor and outdoor environments are adequately maintained. This includes outside play areas, indoor play areas, sleep and rest areas, entrance and foyer, kitchen and the external perimeter of the service.
  3. Ensure educators complete indoor and outdoor safety checklists.
  4. Ensure equipment is chosen to meet the children's developmental needs and interests.
  5. Ensure children are provided with adequate, developmentally and age-appropriate toilet, washing and drying facilities.
  6. Ensure there are no damaged plugs, sockets, power cords or extension cords.
  7. Ensure electrical appliances are in good working order and checked regularly. Circuit breakers will be installed and be maintained.
  8. Ensure equipment is regularly washed and cleaned.
  9. Faulty equipment should be removed or protection placed around any dangerous building sites.
  10. Ensure maintenance requirements are reported as soon as possible. All maintenance will be logged with the UNE FMS maintenance system. A maintenance update will be presented as part of the WHS agenda item at monthly staff meetings. A maintenance book will be kept that records any maintenance that needs to be addressed.

(17) Storage — Yarm Gwanga will ensure:

  1. A storage system is devised that promotes easy access and un-cluttered storage of all equipment.
  2. Required play equipment is easily accessible to all children during the operating hours of the Service.
  3. Children are encouraged to show respect for the equipment and be pack equipment away that they have used in order to avoid trip hazards.
  4. All craft equipment is to be properly washed and cleaned before storage.
  5. All items such as cleaning materials, disinfectants, flammable, poisonous and other dangerous substances, tools, toiletries, first aid equipment, and medications should be stored in the designated secured area which is inaccessible to the children. Educators are responsible for ensuring that these areas remain secure and that they do not inadvertently provide access to these items.
  6. Kitchen and other refuse areas will be provided with lidded facilities that are cleaned and emptied daily.
  7. Educators and management will make sure that all family records are kept in a nominated secure place, ensuring that records are kept confidential and not left accessible to others during the course of the daily operations.

(18) Ventilation, temperature and natural light — Yarm Gwanga will ensure:

  1. All heating and cooling systems will be of good quality and checked regularly to ensure safety and reliability.
  2. Educators take individual needs and specific activities into account when ensuring that heating, ventilation levels are comfortable.
  3. Adequate ventilation will be provided at all times. Windows will be properly maintained to ensure easy opening and protection from bugs and insects.
  4. Where activities involve toxic materials such as paints and glues, Staff will ensure there is adequate ventilation before undertaking the activity. The Service strives to provide the least hazardous craft materials.
  5. Natural light is considered to be most desirable. Provision of natural light areas will be enhanced as much as possible.

(19) Pest Control — Yarm Gwanga will ensure:

  1. Equipment and especially food items will be properly stored so as not to attract pests and vermin.
  2. Refuse bins are emptied and cleaned daily.
  3. Kitchen, food preparation areas and storage will be cleaned and maintained daily.
  4. Should any pests or vermin be identified then action will be taken to rid the Service of the problem by either an educators taking appropriate action with all children moved away from the area or contacting FMS.
  5. Any use of chemical products will be conducted outside the hours of the children and Educators' presence in the building or when children are not in close proximity.

(20) Managing the Indoor Environment — Yarm Gwanga will ensure:

  1. The indoor environment will be smoke free.
  2. Only enrol the number of children in the Service, who can comfortably fit into the building space in accordance with the National Regulations.
  3. Where children are indoors for long periods due to weather conditions, special activities will be planned and other areas sought, such as hallways, alternative rooms and verandas, to disperse the group.
  4. That children properly store their bags and that those bags and other items are not thrown into walkways or play areas.

(21) Outdoor Environment — Yarm Gwanga will ensure:

  1. The outdoor environment will provide each child with at least 7 square metres of unencumbered outdoor space in compliance with National Regulation 108.
  2. The outdoor environment will be smoke free.
  3. The outdoor space will be inspected daily for any obstacles or dangerous items and the hazard check will be recorded.
  4. Any hazardous items will be disposed of in a safe and careful manner prior to the children playing in the area.
  5. Supervision is properly maintained. Children are only to play in areas that are clearly visible to Educators, and where child/Educator ratios are maintained.
  6. Adequate shade from trees and coverings will be maintained.

(22) Reporting/Notification Requirements

  1. An NL01 notification (http://www.acecqa.gov.au/notifications ) must be lodged with the Australia Children's Education and Care Quality Authority when
    1. A circumstance is identified that poses a risk to the health, safety or wellbeing of a child attending the service.
    2. A complaint was made alleging that the safety, health or wellbeing of a child was or is being compromised.

Communication with Families

(23) Yarm Gwanga will:

  1. provide families with access to, and the opportunity to contribute to the review of, this Guideline;
  2. Be notified of any incident, accident, injury, trauma or illness as soon as practicable but no later than 24 hours after the incident and will be provided with a copy of the completed incident, injury, trauma or illness form to be signed by the family.
  3. Communicate regularly with families about health and safety related experiences within the service and provide up to date information to assist families to provide a safe and healthy environment.

Risk Assessment

(24) Yarm Gwanga will ensure that:

  1. Educators report any risks or hazards within the service to the Nominated Supervisor as soon as possible, or at the staff meeting in the WHS agenda item or in the Yarm Gwanga Reflective Practices folder in the office.
  2. A risk assessment is completed in conjunction with UNE Work Place Health & Safety Rule, Policies and procedures.
  3. Risks associated with the identified hazards from the risk assessment will be analysed and evaluated.
  4. A determination is made in relation to the appropriate ways to eliminate or control identified hazards.
  5. A risk assessment review is undertaken after any serious incident report is made to the Early Childhood Education and Care Directorate.

Child Protection

(25) Yarm Gwanga (The Approved Provider, Nominated Supervisor and Educators and Staff) will comply with the requirements of the service's child protection Guideline to ensure the minimisation of children's risk to harm. Yarm Gwanga has a zero tolerance of child abuse, and all allegations and safety concerns will be treated very seriously and consistently with our robust policies and procedures.

Authority and Compliance

(26) The Guideline Administrator makes these Guidelines.

(27) University Representatives must observe these Guidelines in relation to University matters.

(28) These Guidelines operate as and from the Effective Date.

(29) Previous Policies/Procedures/Guidelines relating to Yarm Gwanga Providing a Child Safe Environment are replaced and have no further operation from the Effective Date of this new Guideline.

(30) This Guideline is to be reviewed annually.

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Section 4 - Definitions

(31) Duty of Care: A common law definition that refers to the responsibilities of organisations to provide people with an adequate level of protection against harm and all reasonable foreseeable risk of injury.

(32) Effective Date is the date on which this Guideline is published.

(33) Nominated Supervisor is a person who is a certified supervisor, has been nominated by the approved provider and has consented to that nomination.

(34) University Representative means a University employee (casual, fixed term and permanent) contractor, agent, appointee, UNE Council member, adjunct, visiting academic and any other person engaged by the University to undertake some activity for or on behalf of the University. It includes corporations and other bodies falling into one or more of these categories.

(35) Visitor includes, but is not limited to, students on practical placements, volunteers, community members and persons conducting inspections/audits.

(36) Yarm Gwanga: This refers to both the Yarm Gwanga Preschool and Early Education centre as well as Yarm Gwanga Vacation Care.