How should volunteer organizations avoid health and safety risks?
No volunteer organization plans on putting their volunteers in the way of health and safety risks. But however hard we might try to avoid them, accidents happen and they often happen to well-meaning volunteers. As a volunteer organization, what steps should you be taking in order to avoid health and safety risks?
Here are our top four tips for volunteer organizations to avoid health and safety risks:
1. Identify potential risks.
Before you ever send your volunteers out on their assignments, it is imperative that you take time to identify the potential hazards associated with the various volunteer positions. Whether your organization is engaging in environmental protection, animal rescue, manual labor, or community development there are heath and safety risks associated. Once you understand what these risks are, you’ll be one step ahead of avoiding the problem.
2. Prioritize the risk.
Once you have the potential hazards identified, take some time to prioritize them. Ask yourself how likely it is that an illness or injury will occur. If it does occur, how serious will it be? Using a risk factor scale could help you determine what type of volunteer, if any, should be placed in that position.
3. Take steps to remove or control the risks.
Once you have identified and prioritized potential risks, you should take steps to remove or control risks. Some options may include:
- Eliminating the risk all together
- Change the risk to reduce the likelihood of a health or safety issue
- Change the way your volunteers work so they can avoid the health or safety risk
4. Make sure your volunteers have travel and medical insurance coverage.
Compare your options for volunteer travel and medical insurance and make sure you recommend the appropriate coverage to your volunteers. In the event that someone becomes ill or gets hurt, it will be a relief to know that the proper coverage is in place.
What other tips do you have for avoiding health and safety risks with your volunteers?
Photo: Creative Commons, F Delventhal