Since we operate in the licensed trade we often overlook the safety of children, focusing primarily on the safety of adults. However children are just as/more likely to have an accident whilst on your premises.
NDML ask: what precautions do you need to take to ensure their safety?
Scope of duty
All employers and Managers have a duty of care to protect those who use the premises, including small children. In deciding what you need to do to meet this duty of care, you can assume a certain degree of supervision, but not 100% parental control.
Tip. Consider the “toddler test”. Would a lapse of attention by a parent for a few seconds enable their young child to get into danger? If so, then you need to deal with the hazard, e.g. by removing or enclosing etc.
Hazards at the entrance
Start by reviewing external areas of the premises. Children are more likely to be properly supervised by their parents outdoors but consider whether there’s a need for any additional protection, e.g. from falls from height (ramps/ steps), moving vehicles and ponds or water features.
Tip 1. Make sure that any automatic barriers, gates and doors are subject to a specialist maintenance contract which routinely check the safety mechanisms in place.
Tip 2. “Finger guards” can be used to protect the trapping point around door hinges.
The standards for barriers protecting staircases, landings, mezzanine floors, balconies etc. have changed over the years. If your building is old, it may not be designed to give sufficient fall protection to children.
Tip 1. The test as to whether the barriers are good enough to protect children from falling or climbing through, is whether a 100mm sphere is able to pass through a gap.
Tip 2. Consider also whether there are places where it would be sensible to install restrictors to limit the opening of windows. Again, these tend to limit opening to 100mm.
Hot surfaces and liquids
Are potential risks created by hot surfaces, hot liquids or naked flames?
Tip. Use battery operated candles instead of naked flames.
When setting out display areas which are accessible to young children, remember they are likely to take hold of anything within reach.
Tip 1. Place items which are sharp, hazardous or small enough to cause a choking hazard, out of reach.
Tip 2. Make sure that objects on display are stable and fixed in place where necessary.
Tip 3. Protect or remove hazards at children’s eye level, such as shelf corners.
Look after the little ones and stay claim free!