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socket covers risk assessment


enuffsenuf
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I am sure many of you have seen the recent guidance re safety sockets which we have used for many years in our plug sockets. Initially I was sceptical and as our sockets are at child height (we have no control over these as we are in a community hall) I did a risk assesment which said we would continue to use them). However following confirmation from the council that the hall is fitted with the lates type of sockets, circuit breakers and a trip switch style fuse box I have been digging deeper into the situation and will now be removing all my covers henceforth.

 

Has anyone else done this and if so does anyone have a risk assessment that I could have a peek at to see how you are managing the prospect of children touching the sockets etc. I know what I want to say but saying it in a professional, direct and clear way is proving elusive.

 

My previous assessment obviously merely indicated that all sockets would be covered and that children would be discouraged from playing with the covers...that covers would be replaced immediately after a plug was removed (when a piece of electrical equipment was used).

 

So now I shall be stating that we have RCD's, trips etc and our sockets meet required standards and are PAT tested....the risk of a chil managing to put something in all three and over riding the safety mechanisms in a socket are very very low but how are we wording he bit about trying not to get them to fiddle with the on off switches etc? Any thoughts

 

 

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In the event of a child interfering with uncovered sockets , immediate explanation will take place to assist the child with understanding the dangers involved in doing so.

Yes I think this is the most important point but we shouldn't wait until they interfere with the socket - Electricity is all around them and children need to learn about the dangers from an early age. We need to treat electricity in the same way as other major potential hazards like traffic and deep water. Children need to learn that if a very large electric current passes through them it can kill them. A small electric current from a battery isn't dangerous - like a puddle isn't dangerous. But the electricity supplied in sockets is very very dangerous. Poking something into the holes would be like jumping into the canal or running across a busy road...

 

I have been looking at better ways to teach preschool children about electricity and safety. They need to understand that electricity flows through things, and that we have to take precautions to make sure it never flows through water and people. The importance of keeping electrical devices out of bathrooms has always been an issue. I have been running some trials in a preschool in Bournemouth and will be following this up in the work that I am doing in Kent.

 

Socket covers should not be used, if you have any doubts about this take a look at: http://www.fatallyflawed.org.uk/

 

I think it is remarkable that despite Computing being introduced in the statutory National curriculum Programmes of Study from Year One, electricity and electrical safety is not included until year 4! Even then it encourages children to be taught that all materials may divided into two discrete categories ‘conductors’ and ‘insulators’. I think this is bad science, it is a false dichotomy and in practical terms it is also a very dangerous assumption to make. Children should be taught about electricity much better and earlier.

 

Three Crucial facts about Electricity and Safety:

  1. There is no such thing as a perfect insulator

Every material can conduct electricity under some conditions. While pure water is a poor conductor, dirty water can be a very good one. Even air conducts electricity at times as can be seen in lightening, and the insulation qualities of rubber and plastics around electrical cables may be reduced through age and damp conditions.

  1. The Human Body conducts electricity

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) there were as many as 2,788 accidents involving electricity in the home every year. In 2002, 27 deaths were recorded to have been the direct cause of electrical injury, and 24% of all electrical injuries involved children under the age of 14. When a strong current flows through your body it blocks the electrical signals between the brain and you muscles. In some conditions 50 Volts is enough to cause this ‘electric shock’:

  • It may stop your heart beating
  • It may stop you breathing
  • It may cause a muscle spasm that leads to serious injury
  1. Electricity + Water = Danger

The seriousness of an electric shock depends on the size of the voltage, which parts of your body are involved, how damp you are, and the length of time the current is flowing through you. From an electrical safety point of view, the bathroom is probably the most dangerous room in the home. There are special regulations limiting the fitting of electric sockets in bathrooms and electrical devices such as hairdryers, heaters or radios should never be used. Another major site of accidents is in the garden where electrical equipment should never be used in wet or damp conditions.

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I agree with your comments John but there is not always the opportunity and often information creates curiosity . It really depends on the age group as our are 2-4 yrs , the older children would benefit from your method but not the younger ones . It's risk taking at its highest

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A little like saying 'DON'T press the red button' !

 

You'd think with how long this has been going on someone with authority over us, Ofsted I'm guessing would just make the call and tell us they have got to be removed...or not

we have now been told this by our LEA!

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This response was given on 31st October when it was raised in Parliament.

 

Schools: Electrical Safety:Written question - 49797

Q: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to ensure that early years settings and schools are aware that socket covers should not be inserted in BS 1363 sockets

 

A: "All schools and early years settings in England have a duty to keep children safe. As part of that duty we expect them to keep their health and safety policies under review and up-to-date.

 

Working with ‘Action for Children’ we have brought the Department of Health’s recent alert on the dangers associated with the use of electrical socket covers to the attention of early years providers in England. ‘Action for Children’ has published a notice, via the Foundation Years website, about the use of electrical socket covers in early years provision in England. This is available at: www.foundationyears.org.uk/2016/10/dfe-note-on-the-use-of-electrical-plug-socket-coversinserts-in-early-years-provision-in-england. ‘Action for Children’ has also published the information in a newsletter to early years providers.

 

We are currently reviewing our health and safety advice for schools, and will consider whether to include a similar reference in a future addition of this advice as part of this work."

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