Safe and healthy environment

Establish and maintain a safe and healthy environment for children CHCCN511A

This unit is about establishing, managing and monitoring a safe and healthy environment when working with children.



1. Assess the safety of environments and improve it.

  1. Assess environments for suitability and safety against relevant criteria and decide on any corrective actions.
  2. Identify hazards and potential risks in the environment with others involved. Check for dangers and hazards for specific age groups.
  3. Identify the level of response required to address a hazard and clearly communicate it.
  4. Develop a strategy/plan with others involved, implement it, and then review it with others.


2. Coordinate the response to accidents and emergencies

  1. Before:
    • Develop evacuation procedures, keep them up to date, and practice them with all workers and children.
    • Plan a range of strategies to meet the emotional needs of children and others involved in emergencies.
    • Review steps already taken by workers and implement any extra actions required.
  2. During an emergency:
    • Allocate tasks to different people and give directions about how to proceed
    • Seek medical help as required
    • Inform other people what to do. (Follow your organization's procedures
  3. After an emergency:
    • Inform parents. Be sensitive and calm, and make sure your information is accurate.
    • Implement a plan to meet the emotional needs of children and others in the situation.
    • In light of the incident, review your policies and procedures with others and change them as required.


3. Plan and monitor supervision and care

  1. Make sure you have enough supervision for the various kinds of activities and situations. In particular, check whether you will need extra supervision for:
    • child's disability
    • level of risk-taking behaviour
    • age/stage of development of child
    • child's level of competence in the activity
    • child's level of responsibility
    • child's familiarity with environment, equipment, and/or materials
  2. Develop safety limits and guidelines with others involved.
  3. Develop your organization's strategies to address specific incidents.
  4. Regularly check that people are following the supervision plan and procedures, and review it as necessary.
    • Observe care practices and give specific instruction as required
    • Regularly review care practices and routines with workers, and check that care policies are met.


4. Promote hygiene and safety practices

  1. Explain policies for administering, storing, and documenting medication, and monitor them.
  2. Monitor and reinforce the safe storage of hazardous materials with workers
  3. Show people how to safely handle and store food and explain the guidelines effectively
  4. Promote hygiene and show people how to manage children's hygiene.


5. Promote appropriate responses to illnesses

  1. Write procedures for responding to sick children
  2. Regularly inform others how to control infection and follow medication guidelines. Be clear.
  3. Suggest specific practices to address situations as they arise
  4. Inform parents of infections.
  5. Report notifiable diseases to the appropriate government organization. Follow their guidelines.


6. Monitor travel and excursions

  1. Establish safety procedures for excursions and transport and communicate them to others.
  2. Establish strategies for developing responsible behaviour by children in cars and buses
  3. Check that travel practices follow service procedures and regulations
  4. Organize responsibilities during excursions.


7. Advise workers what to do when abuse is identified or investigated.

  1. Explain policies and procedures clearly and calmly
  2. Support workers to inform appropriate bodies (e.g. Department of Child Protection)


8. Other skills

  1. Make informed and appropriate decisions under pressure to ensure the safety of children, including in the home environment, and in particular:
    • personal hygiene to prevent cross infection e.g. handwashing
    • be an example of safe behaviours and hygiene practices
    • identify and manage risks
    • ways of supervising appropriate to the age of the child
    • supervision systems e.g. an area/ a group of children/ floater
  2. Address issues in planning supervision according to the ages of children
  3. Treat all parents and children equitably, including Indigenous people
  4. Work with cultural diversity.


Notes for 5 to 12 year olds:

  • Absences of children booked in need to be investigated.
  • Older children may be able to help in responding to an incident if directed clearly and supported to do so.
  • Develop children's capacity to monitor their own safety.
  • Develop children's capacity to develop strategies with staff.