Health and safety
The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) sets out the duties employers must follow.
Employers must protect employees, visitors, users and customers on their premises, including paid and non-paid staff, clients and the general public.
Accidents in the work place, loss of working days, and stress at work can reduce productivity and effectiveness. We can offer support, guidance and tools to help you with:
- stress at work
- mental health and wellbeing
- first aid
This information and guidance, together with support from our Quality Improvement Officers, will make sure your work place is a safe and healthy environment for everyone.
Food safety and hygiene
Anyone setting up a new food business, including day care and childminders, must register a food business with us at least 28 days before they intend to start trading. Registration is free and it can't be refused, but it is an offence not to register your food business.
If you're registered as a childminder the information you share with Ofsted is also used to register you as a food business, so you won't have to register separately. If you're registering as a childcare business other than a childminder working from your own home, you must register a food business with us.
You can have a food safety inspection after being registered as a food business. This will be carried out by us. If your childminder business does need an inspection, a food safety officer will contact you to arrange a suitable time to visit.
Food safety regulations include:
The Food Standards Agency provides guidance, advice and information about all areas of enforcement and regulation to businesses connected with food. Before opening your childcare setting you should familiarise yourself with the information around setting up a food business, including the safer food, better business toolkit and food allergen and intolerance guidance.
Building Control has the responsibility of regulating the health and safety of the occupants of the buildings in the borough. Building Regulations apply to new buildings, extensions and alterations to existing buildings, and also any change of use of any buildings. Fire regulations are covered within building regulations.
The Health and Safety Executive has a fire safety toolkit which provides information to support businesses around the law, and advice for fire prevention. South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue also provide advice on fire prevention measures and support from the service for businesses.
The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health 2002 (COSHH) is the law that requires employers to control substances that are hazardous to health. COSHH covers substances in many forms, including chemicals and products containing chemicals (including cleaning products), fumes, dusts and vapours.
For more information see the Health and Safety Executive's advice on COSHH.
The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) puts duties on employers, those self-employed, and people in control of work premises, to report certain serious workplace accidents, occupational diseases and specified dangerous occurrences.
For more advice, including a list of occurrences which must be reported, see the Health and Safety Executive's information on RIDDOR.
Health and safety in the workplace is underpinned by statutory regulations for all businesses, including childcare.
The Health and Safety Executive website contains important information you must be aware of to make sure you meet regulations and don't put children, visitors, staff, yourself, and your business at risk.
- identify possible risks to employees and measures to avoid them. Written risk assessments are required by law if there are 5 or more people working together in a business.
- consult and work with staff in protecting everyone from harm.
- provide the training needed to enable people to do their jobs.
- provide employees with equipment and any protective clothing that staff need.
- provide toilets, washing facilities and drinking water.
- provide adequate first aid facilities, including first aid training and risk assessments.
- report major injuries and fatalities at work, as well as other injuries, diseases and dangerous incidents.
- hold insurance covering staff in case they get hurt or ill through work.
- work with any other employers or contractors sharing the workplace or providing employees, such as agency workers, so that everyone’s health and safety is protected.
You should remember that the statutory framework must be followed at all times; where you have deemed something fit for purpose or a person as competent, you need to be able to explain the reason for your decision.
When completing risk assessments you need to consider the benefits of risky play for children, the importance of children problem solving for themselves, and the role of the adult.
You can find some examples of risk assessments and checklists in useful documents. You can find out about risk assessments concerning medical needs or disabilities (including care plans) in the Including Me toolkit.