Joondalup’s Kindy Gym a crowd pleaser for parents and kids alike

Risk Matters - Autumn 2023

Active kid crawling on colorful mats through hula hoops held by other children.

It was April 2022 when the LGIS injury prevention team visited Craigie Leisure Centre (CLC) to review the Kindy Gym program.

With over 300 participants every term, Kindy Gym is a popular City of Joondalup Leisure Short Course (LSC) program that runs Monday to Friday. It’s a long running program that utilises various pieces of soft play equipment set up as an obstacle course for local children. The process to set up and pack away is intensive and all equipment is stored in a large storeroom next to the sports court.

Across all LSCs, there had been feedback and staff changes which identified gaps in the course progress, equipment, classes, and the ability to train staff. To address these issues the City:

Recruited new staff across LSC.

Affiliated with UWA’s KIDDO – a program being rolled out within school and Early Learning Centres across Australia (supported by the government of Western Australia and Healthway).

  • Purchased new equipment for LSCs.
  • Looked at providing instructors with additional support to benefit their instructing practice.
  • Engaged the LGIS injury prevention team to perform manual task risk assessments.

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LGIS’ manual task risk assessment process

The City engaged with LGIS for a proper manual task risk assessment to identify the factors affecting their staff.

Our injury prevention team used the LGIS manual task risk assessment to assess the Centre on its ‘kindy gym set and pack down’ task. The review identified hazardous manual tasks such as repetitive and awkward manual handling, lifting and moving of awkward objects, and dealing with objects that are unstable or difficult to grasp.

The manual task risk assessment paved the way for a much needed review of Kindy Gym equipment. A number of key items were flagged as difficult to move or damaged. Our report provided feedback and recommendations to the City around staffing, equipment condition, manual handling and potential body parts at higher risk of injury.

To complement our assessment process, LGIS injury prevention consultants also provided manual task focus sessions to the Kindy Gym staff. The Centre Manager stated “It was a beneficial session for the staff as it gave some good talking points and ways to approach and identify key issues and potential hazardous manual tasks. As a result the staff felt more at ease in moving the equipment around, and reduced the overall time spent setting up for the program.”

LGIS’ manual task risk assessment process

Post LGIS assessment process, the City identified gaps but faced several challenges in implementing the recommended actions.

Some of these challenges include:

  • Unable to implement changes and make equipment purchases all at once.
  • External hirer left unexpectedly, taking their equipment with them.
  • Removing equipment no longer deemed safe or practical to be used.
  • Writing new lesson plans that reflected the new equipment and circuit.
  • Having to modify new equipment to keep from slipping.
  • Staff adjusting to change, especially when things had been the same for a very long time.
Graphic of child bouncing on trampoline

City’s superb effort towards closing out recommendations

After LGIS’ manual task risk assessment and suggested recommendations, City of Joondalup’s Craigie Leisure Centre implemented a number of changes that have improved the program and reduced the risk of injury to staff.

These changes include:

  • New 6m carpet mats purchased. These mats are a lot lighter than previous ones and have reduced manual handling risk for staff, when setting up and packing away sessions.
  • Undertaken in-depth equipment review and removed all damaged equipment. The centre is still in the process of replacing these items with better equipment. This has also led to a reduction in storage requirements and manual handling, as this process has removed excess equipment.
  • The centre is reviewing their current storage shelving and looking at future opportunities to improve storage capabilities.
  • Purchased new crash mats that can be easily unzipped and moved in halves. This helps in reducing the weight of the load and gives the instructors more opportunities to change the layout of the equipment for more variety.
  • The equipment review plan now includes an estimated lifespan of each item so that the Centre can be better prepared to rotate and replace equipment before it becomes a hazard or risk.
  • The Centre has also implemented lesson plans complete with photos of how the equipment should be set up for each class to not only maximise space but also to give staff an understating of what equipment is required instead of pulling all items out. This helps in reducing excess manual handling and time wastage.

Overall the manual task risk assessment and outcomes have been extremely beneficial for the program. Although staff and customers were required to adjust to change, the program remains stronger than ever and the safety of all has been made a higher priority.

For more information on LGIS’ manual task risk assessment process, please get in touch with our Injury Prevention team at [email protected] or 9483 8888.

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