Risk assessment is important, because families trust us with their children, and they want them to come home safely every day.
Risk assessment is everyone's business, because it's continual.
It's just something that is a part of what we do each and every day.
We eat, live and breathe it.
It's just something that's always there.
As a provider, it is my responsibility to ensure that everybody knows what their role is, that they understand the legislation, they understand how to implement it.
- It's everybody's business, you know, just like child safety is everybody's business.
Some of the things I would check off my daily checklist, just make sure that the pool gates are closed, that there's no knives lying around on the kitchen bench.
There's no medications being left out.
Sockets in the power point, the barbecue's not being left out with the gas bottle lying around, that the shed's locked, the locks are on the cupboard doors.
Outside area, I risk assess the trampoline, the swing set, the mud kitchen, everything we have out there just to make sure I can see if there's anything that's going to pop up that might injure a child.
When I identify the risks, I write up the risk assessment, identify how I would mitigate those risks, and then that form would then get sent to the office and they would sign off on it, or give their advice to see if they could think of anything else that might pop up that I've missed.
- And children live at a slightly different level than adults, because we're taller, we are looking at our eye level.
They're looking at their eye level.
So I'm trying to look at it from their perspective, so that I'm seeing the small parts that look like something yummy that might get popped in and choked on.
And as an educator, each morning, they're also looking for those small parts.
- There's always risk in every type of play, when you go out on an outing, because it's out of the familiar area of a child.
What happens if a car breaks down?
What happens if there's an accident on the road?
Things like, where will they park when they go to a venue?
What other people are going to be in the environment?
The legislation requires educators to have that risk management plan in place, but it's a services responsibility to ensure that it's covering important aspects.
- If I was going to the park, it would be, what kind of equipment have they got?
Are the swings really high?
The slippery slide like this high is, it's not going to be suitable for a two year old.
I would chat to other educators, have they been there?
What did they think of it?
And then we'll sort of share our risk assessments between each other and see what we've got.
- How we mitigate risks with allergies and medical conditions, on every family enrolment, when that comes through, it's been identified.
We share that with the mentors, coordinators, so they know that there's a child in care with an allergy or a medical condition.
- If I was to find out that one of our little ones had a nut allergy or something, I would make the rest of our families aware of that.
I would put a sign up on our wall.
I would also obtain the action plan from the child's doctor.
Then that documentation would be forwarded to the office, so they're also aware of the risks involved.
It's a three-way partnership, the office, myself and the families, we all need to be on the same page to ensure the safety for the children.
- We receive a plan of every child's risk mitigation, every doctor's action plan that's in place.
We have all that on file in our office, as well.
That's just a process of understanding what each child's medical condition is or allergy is, and then having that risk mitigation plan in place.
- Recently they were having back burning to prepare for summer bush fires, and an educator contacted me and she said, "I had a great day planned for outside.
However, I have two children with asthma, and the smoke is getting thick.
We won't be outside today.
We'll be staying inside, keeping the windows closed and the air conditioning going."
- Risk management is definitely a mindset.
It is something that's there to guide us each and every day, and it's very important.
We've also had the scenario where educators think we're going over the top, and then, until something happens, they turn around and they've said to me, "Thank you.
I understand why this is in place now."
It's not until you experience something that you realise why you have these things in place.
- Alright, Allie.
Do you know all about risk assessment?
What do you know about risk assessment?
- Be safe. - That's exactly it.
You got to be safe, and be careful.
Yeah, be careful. - And to be careful, yeah.