Hazards and Risk Management

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On every day of operation, equipment, premises and facilities must be checked for hazards to children.  Hazards to the safety of children must be eliminated, isolated or minimised. There is no requirement for what time of day the hazard checks must be done. There is no statement in the regulations or licensing criteria that the premises and playground must be checked before use by children. 

The ECE service must analyse its accident and incident records to identify hazards and take appropriate action to eliminate, isolate, and minimise hazards. 

Hazards risk management system

Services are required to have a documented risk management system, that considers hazards including but not limited to:

  • Cleaning agents, medicines, poisons and other hazardous materials.
  • Electrical sockets and appliances (particularly heaters).
  • Hazards in kitchen and laundry facilities.
  • Vandalism, dangerous objects and foreign materials, e.g., broken glass, animal droppings.
  • Equipment faults.
  • Poisonous plants.
  • The condition and placement of learning, play and other equipment.
  • Windows and other areas of glass.
  • Bodies of water.

 As part of having a documented risk management system a service may have:

  1. A daily hazard check-list – to record findings of the hazard check, inside and outside (for example, if the path has ice on it and is therefore a slipping risk – or a child may bring marbles from home to share for news and the marbles would present a slipping risk to all adults and children if left on the floor, and a choking risk especially for children under 3 years).
  2. Documented playground safety checks. 
  3. A risk register that lists all identified risks and how these risks are being managed. 
  4. Regular risk review (e.g., at least three-monthly)

Failing to meet minimum standards

The Ministry of Education needs to know:

  • If you are concerned children’s needs are not being met.
  • If you are concerned a service is not meeting a minimum legal requirement.

READ MORE: How to make a complaint and your options.

CAUTION: This page and the information here is provided as part of the My ECE Guide to Regulations and Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education Services (The Guide).  The Guide does not purport to be a full and accurate interpretation of all statutory provisions relating to early childhood education services. While best efforts have been used in preparing this guide, no representations or warranties of any kind are made and My ECE assumes no liabilities of any kind with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the content. Please note that the Government and Ministry of Education may change, update, or alter any of the requirements at any time.  Please help to keep the information on this page up to date by letting us know of changes that need to be made.
Thank you!  Kia pai te rā

Hazards and Risk Management. Published in the My ECE Guide to Regulations and Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education Services, prepared by Dr Sarah Alexander and Warwick Marshall.

Last reviewed: 20 November 2022


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