Playcentre Aotearoa’s Health and Safety Policy
Playcentre Aotearoa is committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all our people in our Playcentre
community, as far as is reasonably practicable – tamariki, whānau, employees, and visitors – both in our
Playcentre environments and when away during a Playcentre event or excursion.
Everyone at Playcentre Aotearoa has a role to play in keeping themselves and others safe.
The purpose of this policy is to:
– Ensure a safe and healthy environment is provided in all our Playcentres environments – from play spaces
to workspaces (centres and any other environments).
– To comply with required education and early childhood service regulations, health and safety legislation
and other applicable legislation.
Health and safety legislation requires us to have systems in place for managing health and safety, and focusses on the prevention of harm. Rightly, it applies to everyone, be they our paid employees or our whānau and volunteers. It is imperative in our Playcentre environments and inherent every time we come together in our Playcentre communities.
Playcentre environments and spaces are the various workspaces, play spaces, premises, and facilities where Playcentre run sessions and in general, regularly operate. These are the areas we want to keep safe and fit for purpose.
Our health and safety roles and duties
• The Trustee Board, as the embodied governance for Playcentre Aotearoa, collectively holds the primary duty of care for the health and safety of those in our Playcentre communities so far as is reasonably practicable. Their role includes making governance decisions that influence health and safety. Where a Playcentre is its own legal entity, it too will have a primary duty of care to its tamariki, members, employees, and visitors.
• Each individual Trustee Board member and the General Manager is an officer in the context of health and safety regulations. As such, they must exercise due diligence to ensure the health and safety obligations are met by the Board, that we have the necessary policies, procedures and resources in place, and that we monitor them.
• All employees and regularly attending whānau are considered workers if they are regularly working on an ongoing basis for Playcentre Aotearoa in any of our Playcentre environments and are integral to our operations (eg regular, supervising, and/or educator whānau). They are responsible for their own health and safety, for ensuring
others are not harmed adversely by their actions or inaction, and for complying where possible to any reasonable instruction given by Playcentre Aotearoa in order to meet our legislative responsibilities and fulfil our relevant policies and procedures. Workers actively participate in ensuring health and safety in the workplace through regular reporting procedures and attendance at business meetings (that are open to all) to discuss, consider and make decisions regarding concerns and improvements to practice.
• All others (including casual volunteers such as occasionally visiting whānau, visitors, and tradespeople) have a role also to be responsible for their own health and safety, for ensuring others are not harmed adversely by their actions or in action, and for complying where possible to any reasonable instruction given by Playcentre Aotearoa in order to meet our legislative responsibilities.
We have appointed roles and office holders to support the fulfilment of our duties:
• A National Team role for overall responsibility of the management of our health and safety.
• Regional Team roles with health and safety responsibilities across local Centres.
• Centre Team responsibilities for day to day health and safety, as well as Centre representation.
We have clear guidance to manage our health and safety responsibilities. We have:
• This guiding policy and nationally defined procedures for all to comply with to keep our people safe in our Playcentre environments.
• The compliance requirements of being an early childhood education provider and other legislative requirements.
• Reporting procedures to build awareness, remediate and actively learn from.
Our health and safety undertakings
Playcentre Aotearoa has health and safety procedures and practices for everyday application at Centre level and in doing so also support the compliance requirements of being an early childhood education provider.
In our Playcentre environments we will –
• Be session ready: Equipment, premises and facilities are checked on every day of operation at our Centres for hazards to our children.
• Be clean: Cleaned at least daily when in use, including; toilets, bathrooms and eating facilities, all floor surfaces, and Centre equipment used, so as to avoid cross contamination. Linen will be hygienically laundered.
• Supervise our tamariki at all times: Meeting or exceeding licencing requirements for Centre sessions, and if in a Playcentre environment outside session time (including the playground), ensuring tamariki are well supervised to ensure their safety.
• Serve food safely: This applies to any food prepared and/or served during Centre sessions other than that provided by whānau for their child. Our tamariki will be supervised while eating and we will encourage healthy eating habits such as washing hands before eating and sitting while eating.
• Safely and hygienically change and dispose of nappies: Ensuring that tamariki are treated with dignity and respect, and our Child Protection policy is followed.
• Keep our sleeping tamariki safe: From providing safe sleeping environments to monitoring sleeping tamariki and recording sleep times and when we check on them.
• Maintain comfortable temperatures: of air and hot water.
• Have hazard and risk identification, tracking, and management: Focus being on eliminating, isolating or minimising then immediately and prominently notifying to all potentially at risk, of any hazards in our Playcentre environments (both inside and outside, eg in our playgrounds). These hazards and risk may be identified while getting session ready each day or in our regular maintenance reviews as outlined in our Property and Equipment policy or as and when encountered. It includes any dangerous or poisonous materials.
• Ensure injury, illness and incidents attendance and reporting: Ensuring any person harmed is attended to in the first instance, then the event is reported appropriately.
• Be First Aid ready: Requiring all Playcentre environments to have a complete First Aid kit and at least one qualified First Aider available at every Centre session.
• Administer medicine safely: Including storage, record-keeping, permissions required, and training of those administering medicine.
• Be emergency ready: Training for and practicing drills, as well as recording and reviewing input to emergency plans. Drills will happen once a term for each session.
• Have evacuation (for fire, earthquake, civil defence) and reverse evacuation (sheltering-in place/lockdowns) plans: Including having current approved fire evacuation schemes for each Centre, and written emergency plans. Instructions will be prominently displayed.
• Prevent infectious diseases spreading: Through safety and hygiene practices, cleaning practices, expectations of sick tamariki and/or adults staying away from Centre sessions or being isolated, and the notification to others of any risk.
• Conduct excursions safely: With appropriate record-keeping and permissions to travel by motor vehicle.
• Practice safe animal welfare and handling.
• Apply our Child Protection policy: including protecting our tamariki from exposure to inappropriate material and safety checking required roles.
Additionally, in our Centres and workspaces we will:
• Be smoke-free, vape-free and prohibited drugs-free at all times: Anywhere (indoors and outdoors) and at any time and on any Centre excursion. The only exceptions being where the Playcentre environment is not for the primary use of Playcentre (such as a home office or individual’s private cars), in which case, the environment will be free of such substances all the time when and where our tamariki are present.
• Be alcohol-free during Centre hours of operation and normal hours of work: Including on any Centre excursion. Any alcohol consumption in a Playcentre environment will be limited to out of normal hours, not in the presence of tamariki, and provided permission is given by the Centre President or equivalent, or most senior manager of the Playcentre environment, except in the case of home offices. Any alcohol held for after hours use or approved Playcentre evening events will be stored securely.
• Ensure personnel are in a fit state: Where a person is suffering detrimental effects of alcohol, drugs (prescribed or otherwise), or is in a state of physical or mental health, that may endanger the tamariki, that person(s) will be excluded from the centre at that time. If Playcentre personnel have reasonable grounds to believe that someone has an infectious or contagious disease then that person will be required to stay away from Playcentre and any sessions, until they are no longer contagious/infectious. Where prescribed medications or health issues may temporarily affect a person’s capability a plan will be put in place to manage the risks and ensure safety of all.
• Be sun safe: Encouraging sun protection awareness for everyone in the Playcentre community. When the sun is at its hottest by season and span of the day, we all should be in the shade, wearing sunhats, protective clothing, and sunscreen (where permitted)
• Have safe handling of and response to any exposure to toxins or poisons: Including use, access to knowledge and response to chemicals used for cleaning, gardening, maintenance, or pest control, and any plants
• Temporarily cease operations in the event of the Playcentre environment being deemed unsafe: Such as interruptions to required levels of supervision as set out in our Curriculum policy or to essential services for example: water, extreme weather conditions, civil defence emergencies, non- controllable health and safety issues. The need to cease operations rarely occurs and may draw wider community interest. For that reason, the decision to close will be made in consultation between the Centre and Regional Team, except in urgent or critical situations when the Centre will make the decision and then notify the Regional Team of the decision within a few hours of doing so. The National Team are available to advise if the situation is unclear.
• Practice safe vehicle use: Any use of a vehicle for Playcentre purposes, must be in a vehicle that is roadworthy, registered, and warranted, and operated in a licensed, legal, and safe manner. This applies to private, hired and Playcentre owned vehicles. Playcentre Aotearoa is not responsible for the registering and warranting of any private vehicles or the associated costs doing so.
Our health and safety inspections and reviews
In addition to session readiness checks and regular equipment and property checks, we will regularly and at least annually conduct a full safety inspection review at each of our Playcentre environments to ensure the safety of our people and we will report and address any findings according to our Health and Safety review procedures. The Trustee Board will be aware of the outcomes of these reviews.
Regardless of timing of any safety related review, any time a health and safety issue, hazard or risk is identified, all reasonably practical steps to remove or reduce the hazard will occur.
Playcentre Aotearoa will annually review the Health and Safety practices and resolutions with our Playcentre communities to ensure this policy, its associated procedures and local practices are contributing towards providing safer Playcentre – environments.
In the event of any externally-led onsite inspections for health and safety, building or licensing purposes, the inspectors will be hosted and accompanied by a Playcentre representative at all times.
Other health and safety reporting
All injuries, illnesses or incidents to anyone in a Playcentre environment will be reported according to our reporting procedures, be they minor or serious, and including near misses.
Once any urgent care and urgent preventative steps have been taken, all serious events will be reported as soon as possible (and definitely no more than 48 hours after the event occurring) from Centre to Regional Manager who will then notify the National Team who will notify the Trustee Board. Where required, the National Team will report externally and/or seek external support (for example with Police, WorkSafe or Oranga Tamariki), and notify the Ministry of Education. Where reporting clarification is needed, the National Health and Safety role holder can advise.