Common workplace errors and injuries in early learning centres

No employee wants to be injured at work. And no employer wants their staff to be injured at work. Guild Insurance knows that employees and employers have the best of intentions when it comes to workplace safety. Unfortunately, despite these good intentions, we see many cases where early learning workers are injured while at work,
and sometimes quite seriously. And it’s disappointing that many of these injuries could have been easily avoided.

Guild Insurance sees too many cases where an injury in an early learning centre has occurred while the educator was performing a task in an unsafe manner which was most likely preventable. See below five posters you can display in your service with common examples of injuries and tips on how to avoid them.

Examples of tasks performed incorrectly

The following are some of the common actions which lead to injuries in early learning services:

> Standing on swivel chairs instead of ladders to reach an item

> Picking up children rather than lowering to their height

> Lifting children onto a change table rather than having the child climb up steps

> Lifting something alone which is too heavy rather than asking a colleague for assistance


It’s possible that one of the main reasons people perform tasks in a dangerous way is that they don’t fully appreciate the risk. They may have been taught that it’s wrong, however they may not understand why it’s incorrect and what could go wrong. Therefore, when teaching staff about the correct way to perform tasks, it’s important to not just tell them what to do and what not to do, but also stress the reasons why. They need to appreciate what could happen and what sort of injury they could sustain. They need to understand, for example, that when standing on a swivel chair, it can easily move, causing the person to fall off. This often leads to serious arm injuries, such as fractures, as the person has landed on the ground. 


Being told something only a couple of times, maybe during formal education or at induction, isn’t always enough to enforce learning and change behaviour. People often need to be continually reminded. Early learning services should be regularly talking about and promoting safety and correct techniques in the workplace. This could be a regular agenda item at team meetings. There could be signs around the service to remind staff of the correct way to do things. Staff could be commended when seen doing the right thing. Don’t make education a once‑off.


One of the most common reasons people don’t do things as they should, is that they’re rushing and feeling they’re too busy. Too often when staff are busy at a service, they’ll try to do things quickly and will often look for workarounds to speed up tasks. Unfortunately, this can lead to unsafe practices and injuries. Taking an extra couple of minutes to look for an appropriate ladder or ask a colleague for assistance is surely better than suffering a serious long-term injury which may prevent someone from working for weeks or even months. Similarly, scanning the room for hazards prior to entering may aid in the prevention of a trip or fall.

Lead by example

Managers and senior staff need to be sure they’re leading by example. There’s no point telling your staff how to do things correctly and then doing it a different way yourself. And if you think you can do it quickly and get away with it, think again, as someone will see you. Not only are managers risking injury by doing things the wrong way, they’re also sending the wrong message to their staff. To create a workplace culture that values safety, all staff need to do the things the right way, which is the safe way.

It won’t happen to me 

We’re all guilty at times of knowing what can go wrong but not really thinking it’ll happen to us. However, Guild’s claims experience tells us these incidents and injuries happen to anyone, including people just like you. Just because you may have cut corners with tasks in the past and nothing went wrong, doesn’t mean you’ll get away with it next time. Taking these risks just isn’t worth it, because it only takes one time where something goes wrong for a serious injury to occur.

Common workplace injury scenarios and prevention posters

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