Describe the role of the Early Years practitioner in relation to: hand washing, food hygiene, dealing with spillages safely, safe disposal of waste, using correct personal protective equipment

Qualification: NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Educator
Unit: Unit 1.3: Support physical care routines for children
Learning outcome: Understand hygienic practice in relation to control of infection
Assessment criteria: Describe the role of the Early Years practitioner in relation to: hand washing, food hygiene, dealing with spillages safely, safe disposal of waste, using correct personal protective equipment


Early Years practitioners are responsible for several tasks that ensure that the childcare setting is clean, tidy, safe and healthy. This will include following their employer’s policies and procedures in relation to health and safety, which is also a legal requirement. Some of these tasks are described below:

Hand washing

Washing your hands is one of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent the spread of infection. Hands should be washed frequently throughout the day, however, key moments when you should wash your hands include:

  • Before preparing food or eating
  • After going to the toilet
  • Before and after changing a nappy
  • When caring for a child who is unwell

When washing your hands, it’s important to use the correct technique. Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap. Rub your hands together vigorously for at least 20 seconds, making sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails. Rinse your hands well and dry them with a clean towel or air dry them. Use a paper towel to turn off the tap and open the door. This technique is advised by the NHS.

Food hygiene

Good food hygiene is essential in preventing the spread of foodborne illness.


There are several simple steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of illness, including washing hands thoroughly, cleaning surfaces and utensils, and storing and cooking food correctly.

Additionally, food should not be reheated more than once, and raw fruit and vegetables should be washed before eating. When preparing food, wearing an apron and tying back your hair/wearing a hair net is also important.


According to the manufacturer’s instructions, food should be stored appropriately and at the correct temperatures. It is highly recommended that anyone preparing food has undergone sufficient training in food safety.

Dealing with spillages safely

Spillages are a fact of life, but that doesn’t mean we can be casual about them. Dealing with spillages safely is essential to prevent the risk of contamination or slips/trips.


The first step is to remove children from the area. Then, if you’re dealing with a hazardous substance, put on the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). You’ll need to use a disinfectant to clean it up. Once the area is clean, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly.

Safe disposal of waste

In order to keep our environment clean and safe, it is important to dispose of waste correctly.


All waste should be placed in bags before being placed in bins. Biohazardous waste such as nappies and PPE should be separated from general waste, and arrangements will need to be made for it to be collected and disposed of in compliance with environmental health regulations.

Bins should be emptied regularly to prevent smells and attract pests.


Finally, always wash your hands after handling waste. By following these simple steps, we can all do our part to keep our environment clean and safe.

Using correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Anyone who works with children knows that there is always the potential for coming into contact with bodily fluids. Whether it’s changing a diaper or cleaning up after a child who has been sick, it’s important to take precautions to protect yourself.


Wearing gloves and an apron helps to create a barrier between you and the fluid, and disposing of them properly after use helps to reduce the risk of exposure.

In addition, it’s important to wash your hands thoroughly after any contact with bodily fluids.

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