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Employers, self-employed people and those in control of workplaces are responsible for ensuring, as far as practicable, the safety and health of visitors including children at the workplace. Employees are also required to work safely so people are not harmed.
Workplace safety and health planning should address situations where children may:
Where relevant, consider also the risks to children in situations where they stray into a workplace or go there to play.
Parents/guardians have a responsibility to ensure children adhere to the employer’s policy on the safety of children at the workplace.
This bulletin outlines how to start addressing the risks to children and employees. A checklist is provided on the following pages to assist in carrying out the risk management process.
Step 1: Identify possible hazards that may cause harm to children - identify direct or indirect things or situations that may cause harm.
Step 2: Assess the risks of injury or harm to children - assess the risk of injury or harm to a child or worker that could arise from each hazard identified and decide which needs to be addressed first, ie where there is the highest risk of injury or harm.
Consider the level of understanding about the hazard, and the danger if it is not removed, and whether safety instructions would be understood or followed.
Step 3: Control the risks to children - eliminate or reduce the risks to children and employees by implementing control measures. The preferred way of doing this is to:
Sometimes a combination of control measures may be appropriate. Review the three steps regularly to ensure control measures work and no new hazards have been introduced.
Step 1. Identify hazards to children and workers
Step 2. Assess the risk of identified hazards
Step 3. Control the risks
See control measures at end of document
|Inspect the workplace - check all parts|
Check access to different parts where children may be. Consider how and when children may gain access, with or without staff or parents’ knowledge.
|Check access to restricted areas, eg fridges, large freezers, old mine workings and plant and machinery rooms and the potential for children to become locked in.|
|Consider different types of activities - consider what children might find or do, both during and after work.|
|Check for possible entry to areas with kilns or ovens.|
|Check for unprotected excavations and holes.|
|Check for other hazards specific to your workplace.|
|Inspect employees’ work|
|Inspect each work activity that may be near children.|
|Consider situations where there may be distractions to workers increasing the risks to children, parents and/or workers.|
|Consider the level of supervision|
|Consider the current level of supervision, its adequacy and the need for it to be ongoing.|
|Consider situations that could arise where lapses in parental or guardian supervision mean children could enter working areas, eg food outlets.|
|Inspect equipment, plant & machinery|
|Consider situations where children may have access.|
|Check the storage, location and height of items.|
|Check for items children may climb or play on.|
|Check for items that might get knocked over.|
|Check for situations where children may be struck or have clothing caught.|
|Check machinery for gaps in which children may put their hands or fingers.|
|Consider situations where children may not be seen by operators of machinery or vehicles.|
|Check whether children may be able to switch on vehicles or machines.|
|Check for situations where children may not be aware a vehicle or machine is moving or working.|
|Check for other hazards involving equipment, plant or machinery that are specific to your workplace.|
|Check storage of materials|
|Consider locations and situations where children may come into contact with dangerous materials.|
|Check for other hazards involving materials that are specific to your workplace.|
|Check hazardous substances|
|Check storage and locations and consider situations where children may interfere or experiment with substances.|
|Check for other hazards involving hazardous substances specific to your workplace.|
|Inspect for electrical hazards|
|Check for situations where children may interfere with electrical installations.|
|Check for switches that children may turn on.|
|Check for situations where children may pour water on electrical equipment.|
|Check for situations where children may poke things into holes where there may be live wires.|
|Check for warning tags that can be removed.|
|Check for live cables that children may discover.|
|Check for situations where children may crawl into small spaces where there are electrical hazards.|
|Check for other electrical hazards specific to your workplace.|
|Check safety near animals|
|Check for situations where children may come into contact with animals.|
|Check for situations where children may provoke animals.|
|Check for situations where children may come into contact with infection and diseases if hygiene precautions are not followed.|
|Check access to watering troughs, tanks and dams.|
|Check for other hazards involving animals that are specific to your workplace.|
|Consult employees and safety and health representatives|
|Ask about any issues that have arisen involving children.|
|Talk to competent people|
|Where applicable, consult those with experience in dealing with children at the particular type of workplace and/or the types of hazards, eg machinery and hazardous substances.|
Children and Community Services Act 2004 Information sheets, published by the Department for Community Development and the Department of Commerce.