When it comes to Regulations, 103 is in NSW top 3 most common breaches
Regulation 103, which states that the approved provider of an education and care service must ensure that the education and care service premises and all equipment and furniture used in providing the education and care service are safe, clean and in good repair, has consistently been one of the top three most breached provisions of the National Law and Regulations in NSW since 2019.
In an attempt to rectify this the New South Wales Regulatory Authority has issued advice and hints on how services can be more compliant in this space.
Some helpful hints:
- Be careful of large containers with lids that could crush, trap a child or cause injuries.
- Use a furniture strap or anchoring device for unstable furniture, like chests of drawers, bookcases or televisions.
- Put locking devices on drawers, windows, doors and gates, tools, machinery and appliances. Keep knives and chemicals stored securely.
- Check all electronics. Ensure power points in reach of children contain safety sockets and check for damaged wiring or wall sockets.
- After trades people have been at the service, complete a safety check to identify any hazards they may have left behind.
- When arranging and using equipment, follow safety advice from recognised authorities and manufacturers, and keep documents handy to confirm it meets Australian Standards.
- Use safety devices to protect children from sharp corners or edges of furniture and equipment.
- All toys must be non-toxic and non-flammable. Regularly check and remove any toys that are damaged or in disrepair.
- Make sure the placement of furniture and equipment doesn’t create harm or hazard.
- Check equipment and toys are age-appropriate for children in your service.
The Department has also prepared the following case studies to support services to make a distinction between services who would, and who would not, be in compliance with Regulation 103.
Case Study 1
The educator checks the site each morning before the children arrive using an indoor and outdoor safety checklist. The checklist considers the environment, premises and equipment is clean, safe and in good repair and the educator removes items of risk such as a broken toy truck or a rack left out prior to children using the space.
This is an example of good regulatory practice that complies with Reg 103.
Case study 2
A large flat screen television in the approved learning space is not tethered or strapped to prevent it falling on children. A child is standing directly in front of the television watching a child’s show, the power cord is frayed, and is accessible from the power point on the floor adjacent to the television and the educator takes no action.
This is an example that does not comply with Reg 103.
The Department recommends the following resources to aid with compliance:
- ACECQA, Quality Area 3 – Physical environment
- ACECQA, Guide to the NQF: Assessment guide for meeting Element 3.1.2 (for all services) – pages 188-189 and Guide to Element 3.1.2 – Upkeep – pages 398-399
- ACCC – Product Safety Australia
- Staying Healthy 5th Ed preventing infectious diseases in ECEC services – Effective environmental Cleaning – Pages 26-28
- National Retail Association, Best Practice Guide for Furniture and Television Tip-over Prevention
- Kids Health, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead – Electrical Goods
- NSW Department of Education and CELA, Risk Management in Children’s Services Kidsafe, Family Day Care Safety Guidelines
- NSW Family Day Care Association Inc, ‘Great Spaces/Safe Spaces’
For more information on Regulation 103, please see here.