Getting bumped and jostled while negotiating steps with lots of other kids in a school corridor is a bit of a hassle for six-year olds.
Apart from being a bit scary, it could be dangerous.
Christian Pouw of Leongatha’s St Laurence’s Primary School found himself in that position and came up with a good idea confirming again that making workplace safer is not rocket science.
In the spidery letters of the learner-writer, he wrote to School Principal, Robyn Halliwell, with an idea that has stopped kids being bumped and reduced the risks of falling on the steps.
“I think we should put an arrow at the top of the right side and an arrow at the bottom of the left side (of the stairs). The children will know how to go up and down,” he wrote.
She agreed and soon Christian Pouw was in charge of a gang of students who made stencils for arrows and were soon happily marking the right way to go.
They thought the idea was so good that Christian Pouw’s idea was entered in this year’s WorkSafe Awards, which will be announced in October.
It’s the youngest ever entry. In 2003, 16-year old Jarrod Richards of Foster, also in South Gippsland, entered the awards with his invention, a device to retrieve balls from school roofs.
WorkSafe Victoria’s Executive Director, John Merritt, said it proved that if a six-year-old could improve safety, anyone could.
“Christian applied a simple, but effective, risk management strategy, and set an example for adult employers, managers and workers.
“In this case he identified a safety issue, came up with a solution, got the support of someone who could make things happen (essential for good safety outcomes) and then worked collaboratively to make the site safer.”
WorkSafe Victoria recently presented Christian Pouw with a special commendation for his efforts at a WorkSafe-Victorian Country Football League match in South Gippsland.
“If more people applied this approach in Victorian workplaces fewer people would be hurt or killed. It’s a simple as that,” John Merritt said.