Health & Safety
Little Bear Woods has a statutory duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to provide a safe working environment to its customer and any other individual who is affected by the work of Little Bear Woods.
Little Bear Woods will…
- Provide sufficient information to staff and any interested parties to ensure the continuing health, safety and welfare of all involved.
- Establish effective forms of communication throughout the company and with relevant external bodies.
- Ensure that tasks are undertaken by suitably trained, competent staff to establish safe working practice.
- Establish the means to provide suitable levels of protection to all employees and interested parties.
- Provide a safe working environment by regular maintenance of all equipment to ensure it is fit for its intended use.
- Review and evaluate the status of health & safety including any changes in legislation or working practices.
Roles and Responsibilities
Kelly Berryman is ultimately accountable for the effective implementation of this policy under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Kelly Berryman will ensure regular checks of equipment, toilet, and parking areas used by customers. The H&S Manager (Kelly) will oversee all policies relating to health, safety and welfare and conduct the necessary risk assessments where appropriate. When required the H&S Manger can call an urgent meeting to discuss any changes in legislation and any untoward incidents that may have occurred. All Incident Report Forms will be automatically electronically passed onto the H&S Manger that day they have been completed for immediate review.
Forest school leaders have responsibility for ensuring that Little Bear Wood’s Health and Safety Policy are fully complied with and implemented.
All staff must:
- Take care and responsibility of their own Health and Safety and that of any other person who may be affected by their acts or omissions.
- Comply with the safe systems of work and the Health and Safety information, instruction, training and supervision.
- Attend Health and Safety training sessions.
- Use, as required, personal protective equipment (PPE) and clothing, specified safe systems of work, specific safety equipment, and identified control measures.
- Complete risk assessments when necessary for the activity before the session commences.
- Report to and record Kelly Berryman any unsafe practices, or workplace hazards.
All hazards that are associated with Little Bear Wood’s activities that have the potential to cause harm, have been identified through carrying out and completing a series of Health and Safety risk assessments.
Kelly Berryman is responsible for ensuring that trained competent staff, have the knowledge skill and technical ability, to undertake their assignment and carry out all risk assessments. Risk assessments will be signed off by Kelly.
Based upon any significant hazards that have been identified, each of these hazards are evaluated and supported by a series of risk control measures that provide the means to ensure that the risks are removed, replaced or reduced, so far as is reasonably practical, to an absolute minimum (see separate risk assessments completed).
As a result of undertaking risk assessments, appropriate control measures will be put in place to manage the risk. This may include:
- Providing Safe Systems of Work for certain activities.
- Providing training, instruction and supervision to ensure that the activity or equipment can be used without foreseeable risk of injury.
- Redesigning the activity.
- Introducing a new piece of equipment to reduce the risk.
- Ceasing the activity.
Health and Safety Training
Little Bear Woods understands and accepts its obligation to meet the requirements of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations, the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations and various other associated regulations to provide adequate levels of training and awareness, ensuring that all staff can carry out their given tasks and responsibilities in a safe manner.
Typically, this includes identifying responsibilities for:
- Carrying out regular inspections within applicable workplaces.
- Providing specialist training and qualification for any staff who may be at high risk during delivery of outdoor training.
- Investigating any work-related accidents and illnesses including dealing with any reportable incidents under the requirements of RIDDOR.
- Carrying out periodic reviews of levels of training, competence, and awareness, including establishing future training needs.
- Providing health and safety training for all staff as and when necessary (including new employees during their induction period).
- Considering the training needs for any persons with special needs including disabled persons, nursing, and expecting mothers.
Health and Safety Information
Both Little Bear Woods and their staff must understand and accept the requirements of the Health and Safety Information for Employees Regulations. They should provide adequate levels of Health and Safety related information to support:
- The provision for defining company Health and Safety rules and guidelines and making this information available to all interested parties as and when necessary, including staff, contractors, visitors and the general public.
- Identifying responsibilities and procedures for coordinating Health and Safety induction training and job-specific health and safety training, whilst maintaining Health and Safety training records.
- Providing instructions, e.g. method statements and procedures etc, for the correct and safe use of all equipment to other adults and children participating in activities.
At Little Bear Woods the welfare, safety and protection of our children is of the utmost importance and all staff have undergone safeguarding training as part of their induction and have signed to say they fully understand their responsibilities at Little Bear Woods.
Kelly Berryman has overall responsibility for Safeguarding at Little Bear Woods. Children and staff need to be in an environment that allows them to feel safe and secure and protects them from any form of abuse.
Little Bear Woods aims to create the safe environment by carrying out the following procedures:
- All employees of Little Bear Woods will undergo a formal interview, they will need to provide the following, a list of their interests, past life experiences and employment history and two suitable references from a reliable source and undertake an enhanced DBS check.
- They will sign an agreement stating that they will let the registered owner know immediately if they receive a caution or commit an offence.
- They will also need to be fit and well, both physically and mentally and they complete and sign a health declaration form.
- They will be employed on a trial basis until Little Bear Woods is satisfied they understand and know how to meet their responsibilities and are able to care for the children in a warm, friendly way, enabling them to feel secure and happy.
No visitors or volunteers are to be left alone with students and are not allowed to take them to the toilet or change nappies. All staff and volunteers working for Little Bear Woods will have to complete a DBS check. Little Bear Woods safeguarding policy must always be adhered to.
Fire Safety, Weather & Mobile Phone Use
The following is a list of the types of fire hazards at forest school:
- Heat from vehicle exhausts
- Gas lamps
- Open fires
- Sunshine on glass objects and magnifying glasses
All the above equipment will be checked for safety before use, fire extinguishers will be available during sessions. A 25lt water container will be available, and fires will always be supervised by a competent person.
In the event of a fire that gets out of control, staff should ring 999 and ask for thee fire service, give them the site location (what3words – gallons.prune.fault) and gather group together and make way to the top of site or main car park depending on the direction of the prevailing wind and fire. Staff will be fully aware of the fire drill procedures and parents must always stay with their child.
The nature of a Forest School is that staff and students spend their time outdoors, experiencing weather that they may not usually be exposed to. If staff and students are dressed appropriately and can stay warm and dry, they will enjoy their lessons outside more.
Little Bear Woods will send emails to confirm what you should wear to the sessions. On high wind days forest school can continue, however only areas without tall trees will be used. Little Bear Woods will decide, based on customer and staff safety, if the weather changes to a dangerous position to cancel the session.
Mobile Phones and Cameras
At Little Bear Woods we carry mobile phones for emergency use. Photos are to be taken with Little Bear Wood’s mobile phones only. Little Bear Woods will ask for permission from all parents/carers before taking photos of the children as well as permission to display on Little Bear Woods social media. This will be completed online when parent/carer books in for sessions. Copies will only be kept by Little Bear Woods for PR purposes if permission is given by the parent/carer.
In the event of a customer having any concern or complaint about the welfare of a child or the way the Forest School is run, the following procedure will be followed.
Little Bear Woods is dedicated to meeting all staff and customers’ expectations and will monitor and evaluate performance against a set standard. However, it is recognised that there may be occasions when Little Bear Wood’s staff’s actions may not meet expectations and complaints may be made against Little Bear Woods about:
- Instructors or assessors.
- Any third party
Little Bear Woods will endeavour to deal with all complaints in a prompt and fair manor. Complaint made directly to Little Bear Woods will be dealt with in the following way:
- Upon receipt of the complaint a Little Bear Wood’s Director will consult with the complainant.
- If the Little Bear Wood’s Director concludes that the complaint could be justifiable, they may notify the complainant in writing that they will fully investigate the complaint and inform the complainant of the outcome.
- Little Bear Wood’s may then decide to offer a successful complainant a refund of any unnecessary expenditure incurred because of a below standard service.
- If the Little Bear Wood’s Director concludes a complaint is not justifiable, they will notify the complainant and any other relevant parties in writing.
- The complainant may challenge this decision by writing direct to OCN.
- Little Bear Wood’s Directors decisions shall be final and binding with no obligation to provide a written explanation for the decision taken.
- Little Bear Woods will strive to protect the anonymity of all complainants.
As the safety of the children is of the utmost importance, we take into consideration not only the safety of the learning environment but also whether the students are capable and willing to follow the rules of the Forest School which have been put in place to keep them safe.
We believe that our students should learn the difference between right and wrong to respect other people’s feelings, and we encourage them to develop self-discipline.
At Little Bear Wood’s we hope to be able to intercept bad behaviour before it escalates into something worse, by trying to move a child onto another activity or to distract the child.
This should be accomplished with a positive approach to avoid humiliating and damaging a student’s self-esteem, however we hope to help them understand that they have acted inappropriately.
Little Bear Woods will act as good role models and above all praise good behaviour in the hope that the children in our care respond positively.
Staff are also encouraged to be consistent in the way situations are dealt with, which will be addressed in new staff inductions.
If a child is acting in an inappropriate way that may cause themselves or others harm, they will be asked to discontinue the unwanted behaviour and explained that if they carry on behaving in a way that may cause danger to themselves or anyone else, in the interests of safety, they may not be allowed to continue their Forest School session that day. They will be allowed to return if behaviour improves on the next visit.
Children should always be supervised by their parent/carer during their Forest school session. The Forest School Leader will meet children at the car park and remain with them until they leave in the environment.
Areas will be shown to the parent/carers and child to ensure adults know where they can visit during their session. There will be ribbon on the trees to ensure if a parent/carer and their child becomes lost, they will be able to follow the ribbon back to the main car park.
Parent/carers should supervise the children when going to the toilet.
Activities such as fire lighting, camp fire cooking, using tools such as saws, loppers, knives etc will be supervised by a competent member of staff at all times.
The staff member with overall responsibility for Inclusion in the Forest School is company director Kelly Berryman. Little Bear Woods is committed to making every child feel an important part of the Forest School, no matter what race, belief, or gender they belong to. All students are praised and rewarded where appropriate, helping them to build self-esteem. Little Bear Woods will fully comply with the disability discrimination act as far as is reasonable due to the remoteness of our site.
Special Educational Needs
Little Bear Woods will encourage parent/carer time together to ensure all children are receiving support needed from their adult. This means children can explore at develop at their own pace. The Forest School Leader will ensure activities will meet the needs of those children in their sessions by adapting or offering advice to support each child’s needs. All Little Bear Wood’s staff have undertaken training in inclusion and understand how to be inclusive in their practice. All Little Bear Wood’s staff running Forest School sessions are qualified and undergo regular training to ensure Little Bear Woods adapts to ensure it meets the needs of children attending. An online form will be completed online prior to the session, allowing staff to prepare any additional resources needed.
Little Bear Woods will ensure the health and safety of their customers is priority. To promote a hygienic and safe area we will:
- Promote the ‘wild wees’ (toilets will be available and regularly cleaned between sessions).
- Allocate hand washing stations and include regular handwashing.
- Ensure sanitiser is available.
- Sterilise props in Milton solution between sessions.
- Clean surfaces with antibacterial friendly environment spray between sessions.
- Ensure a 2-metre rule is followed. Families will play apart until it is safe to play together.
- Be outside it is already a HUGE positive!
- Not share food – if any cooking takes place it will be individual items cooked for one each person.
- Supply individual sachets of tea, coffee and milk when making a hot drink and one person at a time will access the facilities. Please bring own cups for adults and children.
STAY SAFE so we can have FOREST FUN!