Could new laws spark fresh demand for health and safety training from nurseries?

In the 21st century many workplaces require mandatory health and safety training for employees, and this is often due to the inherent danger or risks posed by the job in question. Sometimes though, the need for such training is not required because the job itself is dangerous, but for different reasons.

Such is the case for nursery workers, who are responsible for looking after society’s potentially most vulnerable and at-risk individuals – young children and babies. Although there is currently no requirement for nursery staff to have compulsory First Aid training, there have been calls recently for the rules to be changed.

The most vocal of those calling for mandatory health and safety training at nurseries around the country are Dan and Joanne Thompson. The Thompson’s nine-month old daughter, Millie, died in October 2012 while under the care of nursery staff.

Millie was attending Greater Manchester’s Ramillies Hall School and Nursery, where she died after choking on mashed shepherd’s pie given to her at lunchtime. When the young girl began coughing and crying the nursery supervisor shouted for help and a colleague then attempted back slaps. However her condition deteriorated and she was pronounced dead upon arrival at hospital. 

It later emerged that the worker who had first spotted the emergency had an expired first aid certificate.

Quest for ‘Millie’s Law’

Not satisfied with an inquest’s verdict of death by misadventure, Millie’s parents are now campaigning for all nursery staff to have mandatory health and safety training. They say that after their child’s death they were told by the coroner that all staff working in nurseries should have paediatric health and safety training as standard, and that it should be required by law. The couple have recently appeared on ITV News to promote their campaign.

At present, only one worker on shift at a nursery is required to have paediatric first aid training, potentially causing fatal delays. Individual nurseries can of course opt to ensure that all of their staff have appropriate health and safety training, and this is something that the organisations in the training industry can help to promote.

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