[ShowBlock #od0af5bffb3e9, #odf04c981826f, #o45e55a14e158] [HideBlock #oee6f63ec1b91] [HideBlock #o4c0e6023bc6a] [HideBlock #oea2a6ed8bc93] [HideBlock #oa67bdfb29c1c] [HideBlock #of1294e77018c] [HideBlock #ocd1089a892d5] [HideBlock #o107d6151f690] [IfAnchor #oee6f63ec1b91] [HideBlock #od0af5bffb3e9, #odf04c981826f, #o45e55a14e158] [ShowBlock #oee6f63ec1b91] [HideBlock #o4c0e6023bc6a] [HideBlock #oea2a6ed8bc93] [HideBlock #oa67bdfb29c1c] [HideBlock #of1294e77018c] [HideBlock #ocd1089a892d5] [HideBlock #o107d6151f690] [/IfAnchor] [IfAnchor #o4c0e6023bc6a] [HideBlock #od0af5bffb3e9, #odf04c981826f, #o45e55a14e158] [HideBlock #oee6f63ec1b91] [ShowBlock #o4c0e6023bc6a] [HideBlock #oea2a6ed8bc93] [HideBlock #oa67bdfb29c1c] [HideBlock #of1294e77018c] [HideBlock #ocd1089a892d5] [HideBlock #o107d6151f690] [/IfAnchor] [IfAnchor #oea2a6ed8bc93] [HideBlock #od0af5bffb3e9, #odf04c981826f, #o45e55a14e158] [HideBlock #oee6f63ec1b91] [HideBlock #o4c0e6023bc6a] [ShowBlock #oea2a6ed8bc93] [HideBlock #oa67bdfb29c1c] [HideBlock #of1294e77018c] [HideBlock #ocd1089a892d5] [HideBlock #o107d6151f690] [/IfAnchor] [IfAnchor #oa67bdfb29c1c] [HideBlock #od0af5bffb3e9, #odf04c981826f, #o45e55a14e158] [HideBlock #oee6f63ec1b91] [HideBlock #o4c0e6023bc6a] [HideBlock #oea2a6ed8bc93] [ShowBlock #oa67bdfb29c1c] [HideBlock #of1294e77018c] [HideBlock #ocd1089a892d5] [HideBlock #o107d6151f690] [/IfAnchor] [IfAnchor #of1294e77018c] [HideBlock #od0af5bffb3e9, #odf04c981826f, #o45e55a14e158] [HideBlock #oee6f63ec1b91] [HideBlock #o4c0e6023bc6a] [HideBlock #oea2a6ed8bc93] [HideBlock #oa67bdfb29c1c] [ShowBlock #of1294e77018c] [HideBlock #ocd1089a892d5] [HideBlock #o107d6151f690] [/IfAnchor] [IfAnchor #ocd1089a892d5] [HideBlock #od0af5bffb3e9, #odf04c981826f, #o45e55a14e158] [HideBlock #oee6f63ec1b91] [HideBlock #o4c0e6023bc6a] [HideBlock #oea2a6ed8bc93] [HideBlock #oa67bdfb29c1c] [HideBlock #of1294e77018c] [ShowBlock #ocd1089a892d5] [HideBlock #o107d6151f690] [/IfAnchor] [IfAnchor #o107d6151f690] [HideBlock #od0af5bffb3e9, #odf04c981826f, #o45e55a14e158] [HideBlock #oee6f63ec1b91] [HideBlock #o4c0e6023bc6a] [HideBlock #oea2a6ed8bc93] [HideBlock #oa67bdfb29c1c] [HideBlock #of1294e77018c] [HideBlock #ocd1089a892d5] [ShowBlock #o107d6151f690] [/IfAnchor] SVA Organisers Health & Safety
Health & Safety Training
This course is designed to give you all the tools you need to run your volunteer project safely. All activity organisers must go through this course and we highly encourage anyone taking part in organising a volunteering activity to access this course as it has some key informatin.
We aim to provide safe environments for our people to volunteer freely and safely. Our goal is for every volunteer to return home safely, having learned something and benefited from the experience.

Welcome to the SVA (Student Volunteer Army)
I'm so glad you’ve joined us, thank you. You may be reading this in the middle of a crisis response or you may simply be looking for a way to get more people volunteering with you. Either way, in this course, you’ll gain all the tools you need to organise safe volunteer activations. Haere mai!

SVA is as much of an approach as it is a process which is a core principle to keep in mind. We approach problems in a particular way and solve them as fast as we can with the tools we have. What we mean is often there is no textbook approach and its okay to feel a little lost at the start. Be sure to ask questions as you go.

This health and safety course will cover the following highlights:
  • Health and Safety Overview
  • Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment
  • Incident, Near Miss and Hazard Reporting and Conducting an Investigation
Health and Safety Overview
The Cause is Important, Your Safety is Paramount
We believe that…
  • All volunteers are entitled to feel safe,
  • Health and Safety is everyone’s responsibility,
  • Anyone should feel confident to stop an unsafe project, and
  • Health and Safety is a learning journey, which we can always improve.
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What health and safety responsibilities there are with running a volunteering initiative
Activity Organiser/s: Provide volunteer opportunities to their volunteers and are responsible for the H&S of their volunteer onsite.
Activity Organisers are responsible for:
  • Complying with H&S policy and procedures
  • Providing a H&S briefing to volunteers
  • Challenge any decisions that they feel do not consider the volunteers well-being
  • Conduct Formal Risk Assessment for events
  • Report breaches of H&S
  • Minimise risks to self and others

Volunteers: Provide on the ground feedback about their health and safety and ensure their own behaviour is in line with organisation expectations.
Individual responsibilities include:
  • Comply with H&S policy and procedures
  • Report breaches of H&S to a project lead
  • Cease a project if it becomes detrimental to their health or safety
  • Minimise risks to self and others where possible and appropriate
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Briefing volunteers
A big part of the role of Activity Organisers is to make sure volunteers are well briefed and able to volunteer in a safe and effective way. Before any activity commences, there is to be a brief given by the Activity Organiser or nominated rep. This is to cover:
  • the emergency procedures
  • facility locations
  • risks and how to minimise them
  • the main points of contacts.
Once the brief is given, the activity can commence but the health and safety of the participants is to be monitored based on the briefing. All volunteers are entitled and encouraged to air their concerns regarding their personal or collective safety.

As part of this, it is best practice to ensure a written volunteer brief should also be circulated to volunteers. Click the link below to fill up a short form and generate a Project Brief you can hand out at your volunteer activation.
Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment
Before any activity can take place, activity leads need to ensure that hazards and risks associated with the activity are considered and then mitigated where possible. This is to ensure that the volunteers are participating in a safe activity where they can feel confident to proceed without concern for their well-being.

Hazards can be defined as anything that can cause harm. This “includes a person’s behaviour where that behaviour has the potential to cause death, injury, or illness to a person (whether or not that behaviour results from physical or mental fatigue, drugs, alcohol, traumatic shock, or another temporary condition that affects a person’s behaviour)”

Risks can be defined as anything that can arise from people being exposed to a hazard.

Hazards/ Risks need to be identified, assessed (for likelihood and severity), controlled (minimised or eliminated) and recorded. While a generic document can be built up for all volunteer activities, it is essential that the document is reviewed and updated before each activity and the activity lead is to  ensure that new risks are identified, which are specific to the event.
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Formal Risk Assessment Management Process
The volunteer leads needs to think of all possible hazards and create a list. This could be from something as insignificant as cutting your hand on a tree you are planting to falling in a hole and breaking a leg. Download the matrix below and edit it based on what you need. The different tabs have examples of risk matrixes for particular events.
Make sure to edit that so it is suitable for your event. You should then print this out and have it handy during the event and as you plan it out.
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The following table produces a rating of the hazard when considering both likelihood and severity. Each hazard identified should be rated.
For example:
  • Cutting your hand on a tree is Possible for a tree planting event and is Minor - this gives a rating of Medium.
  • Falling in a hole and breaking your leg at the same event is Possible and Major. This produces a rating of Critical.
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Control and Re-assess
Once each hazard is rated you then need to consider the measures in place  to minimise the hazard or eliminate it entirely.
For example:
  • Cutting your hand can be mitigated by providing gloves to volunteers. This drops the risk rating down to Rare and Minor. The rating now drops to low.
  • Falling in a hole and breaking your leg can be mitigated by sign posting areas where holes have been dug and giving a safety brief to volunteers to be aware of their footing. This drops the risk down to Unlikely and Moderate and a rating of Medium.

All of this information needs to be captured in a document. Please generate the risk matrix above and edit it so that it is suitable for your volunteering event.

Dynamic Risk Assessments (DRAs)
Where formal Risk Assessments cannot be done, employees/volunteers are required to conduct DRAs. A DRA is identifying, measuring and evaluating risk in real-time, while working. When using a DRA you can determine whether a task needs to be approached in a different manner or avoided completely. This can mean the difference between staying safe and risking injury.

Steps of DRA:
  • Identify hazards and associated risk
  • Assess the risk: How serious is it?  and What is the likelihood of it resulting in injury?
  • What tools/ resources do you have to remove hazards/minimise the risk?
  • Determine whether it is safe to proceed

When employees/ volunteers have completed their DRA, they will know with confidence whether the activity is safe. At no time should someone feel obligated to proceed with an activity if they feel unsafe.
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Emergency Procedure
In the event of an emergency the following steps are to be followed at a minimum:
  • Project ceased immediately
  • Move to a safe area, as per the briefing, if necessary
  • Emergency services called (if required)
  • Key contacts called (i.e. Next of Kin)
  • Volunteers await instruction from the activity lead for next steps
  • Volunteers to head home if deemed safe by the activity lead. The activity is only to recommence if the emergency is resolved and it is appropriate to do so. 
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Incident, Near Miss and Hazard Reporting
With the variety of volunteering activities that occur and the range of experience levels there is a chance that there may be an incident at an event or project,  despite the risk management requirements. For this reason it is paramount that reporting procedures are put in place to accurately document the incident to allow for change and the prevention of further incidents of the same nature.

All incidents are to be reported with true and accurate detail of the incident. In the case where an email cannot be formulated in a timely manner then a phone call is acceptable.

Injury: a personal injury causing harm, e.g. cuts, bruising, broken bones, unconsciousness, concussion
Illness: includes vomiting, skin disease, dizziness, headache, fever.
Incident: damage to vehicles, assets or property, violation of a safety rule or Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), deliberate unsafe act or creation of an unsafe condition.
Near miss: an unintentional act that could have caused harm, illness or loss.
Hazard: source, situation or act with a potential for harm in terms of human injury or ill health or a combination of these

Should any of the following incidents occur while out on a volunteer activity, SVA  should be notified immediately. 
  • Death of any volunteer or beneficiary
  • Significant Injury to any volunteer or beneficiary
  • Reputational damage to SVA or any partners
  • Damage to property of any beneficiary of volunteer activity
  • Political or religious groups are pursuing the activity
  • Illegal activity is conducted during a volunteer activity. 

In the event of any Near Miss, Minor Incident or Hazard identified personnel are to:
  • Pause the activity if necessary and practicable,
  • Assess the situation to determine whether any risk or hazard needs to be minimised/ eliminated before continuing the activity,
  • Take any action to reduce risk of future harm, 
  • Notify the Volunteer Lead/s, who will in turn notify a member of the Foundation team

Once the event has finished or is ceased due to a critical incident an investigation may be called for. This decision is held by the SVA Team and will be communicated promptly to the Activity Organiser. In the case that an investigation does take place, the following should be done:
  • Where possible take photos that are relevant to the incident or hazard at the earliest possible opportunity,
  • A person should be identified to conduct the investigation that was not directly involved in the activity,
  • An investigation report is to be filled out and provided to the Foundation,
  • Recommendations made for further training or process change to avoid future incidents.   
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Ka pai!
Some final reminders
  • Ask questions and let us know if anything is unclear.
  • Remember : The Cause is Important, Your Safety is Paramount