What Is An Early Childhood Safety Culture?
The safety culture at a childcare center can be described as administrators, teachers, parents and children working together to provide a safe environment for all. A safety culture is a group attitude that inspires individual action. It is the product of individual and group values, attitudes, perceptions, competencies, and patterns of behavior. In a strong safety culture, teachers take action and observe children’s behavior to prevent injury.
Training Helps Prevent Injuries
Where do you start when developing training and education? Start by identifying what hazards are currently in your environment.
Slips, Trips And Falls
The most common types of injuries are slips, trips and falls. Identify places or incidents where slips, trips and falls might happen.
Determine Risk Of Injury
Is it unlikely, likely or highly likely? If someone is mopping the floor, what is the risk of someone slipping on the floor?
Control systems either:
Eliminate the hazard. Take it away completely so it is no longer a hazard.
Reduce the exposure to the hazard. If it is not possible to fully eliminate the hazard, then exposure should be reduced to limit the risk as far as reasonably practicable.
Change the working habits of employees. Train employees in new behaviors.
Apply Control Systems To Mopping The Floor
Eliminate the hazard completely by never mopping? This is not a practical or sanitary solution.
Reduce the exposure to the hazard by only mopping when no one is around. This can be done in ECE environments but children's messes are unpredictable.
Change the working habits of the employees, prompting them to take action by training and educating. For example, while mopping:
Secure the area with wet floor signs.
Teach children about a wet floor sign. What does this symbol mean? How does the behavior of the child need to change around a wet floor sign?
Take action and verbally warn others that the floor is wet and to wait until it is dry before walking on it.
Get buy-in to continuously improve safety procedures. Communication and transparency are an important part of the safety culture. Share your safety concerns and procedures so that they become a natural part of behavior. A path to continuous improvement involves developing a safety culture, getting everyone’s buy-in, and taking action to prevent injury.