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8.4 Risk assessment

Risk assessments are carried out to ensure the safety of children, staff, parents and visitors. Legislation requires all individuals in the workplace to be responsible for the health and safety of premises, equipment and working practices. We have a ‘corporate responsibility’ towards a ‘duty of care’ for those who work in and receive a service from our provision. Individuals also have responsibility for ensuring their own and others safety.

Risk assessment means: .

The law does not require that all risk be eliminated, but that ‘reasonable precaution’ is taken. This is particularly important when balancing the need for children to be able to take appropriate risks through physically challenging play. Children need the opportunity to work out what is not safe and what they should do when faced with a risk.

This policy is based on the five steps below:

  • Identification of a risk: Where is it and what is it?

  • Who is at risk: Childcare staff, children, parents, cooks, cleaners, visitors etc?

  • Assessment as to whether the level of a risk is high, medium, low. This takes into account both the likelihood of it happening, as well as the possible impact if it did.

  • Control measures to reduce/eliminate risk: What will you need to do, or ensure others will do, in order to reduce that risk?

  • Monitoring and review: How do you know if what you have said is working, or is thorough enough? If it is not working, it will need to be amended, or maybe there is a better solution.

The manager and deputy undertake training and ensure staff have adequate training in health and safety matters.


Daily safety sweeps and checks indoors and outdoors

  • Safety sweeps are conducted when setting up for the day prior to children arriving or closing in the evening. Sometimes a safety sweep will identify a risk that requires a formal risk assessment on form. For example, if a window latch is becoming stiff and a practitioner has to stand on a chair in order to reach it to ensure it has closed properly.



Health and safety risk assessments

Health and safety risk assessments inform procedures. Staff should be involved in reviewing risk assessments and procedures, as they are the ones with first-hand knowledge as to whether the control measures are effective, and they can give an informed view to help update procedures accordingly.

  • our risk assessment process covers adults and children and includes:

  • determining where it is helpful to make some written risk assessments in relation to specific issues, to inform staff practice, and to demonstrate how we are managing risks if asked by parents and/or carers and inspectors;

  • checking for and noting hazards and risks indoors and outside, in relation to our premises and activities;

  • assessing the level of risk and who might be affected;

  • deciding which areas need attention; and

  • Developing an action plan that specifies the action required, the time-scales for action, the person responsible for the action and any funding required.

  • Where more than five staff and volunteers are employed, the risk assessment is written and is reviewed regularly.

  • The outdoor area is checked for hazards such as glass and animal faeces before the children are allowed access as this is close to a public area.

  • The Landlord checks, such as electricity and gas safety checks, and any necessary work to the setting premises are carried out annually and we request copies of these.

  • Our manager ensures that staff members carry out risk assessments that include relevant aspects of fire safety and food safety for all areas of the premises.


  • Our manager and deputy ensure that staff members carry out risk assessments for off-site activities if required, including:

  • children’s outings (including use of public transport)

  • home visits and other off-site duties such as attending meetings, banking etc.


  • Our manager and deputy ensure that staff members carry out risk assessments for work practice including:

  • Arrivals and departures;

  • changing children;

  • preparation and serving of food/drink for children;

  • children with allergiesand special dietary needs or preferences;

  • cooking activities with children;

  • supervising outdoor play and indoor/outdoor climbing equipment;

  • assessment, use and storage of equipment for disabled children;

  • the use and storage of substances which may be hazardous to health, such as cleaning chemicals;

  • visitors to the setting who bring equipment or animals as part of children’s learning experiences, for example fire engines;

  • Following any incidents involving threats against staff or volunteers.

  • Following any accident or incident involving staff or children.

The setting manager liaises with Crime Prevention Officers as appropriate to ensure security arrangements for premises and personnel are appropriate.


Legal framework


  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999)


Further guidance


  • Five Steps to Risk Assessment (HSE 2011)

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