The crucial role of health and safety charities
Employees, volunteers, and others who work with charities all require protection from harm under health and safety laws.
In an article for Charity Today, Vicky Kangurs reminds trustees and managers of charities that they have a legal obligation to ensure that robust health and safety measures are in place. Volunteers should have the same level of protection as charity employees. For instance, if employees are required to wear PPE (personal protective equipment) face masks when dealing with vulnerable people, volunteers in contact with vulnerable persons should also be issued face masks.
Kangurs cites past health and safety breaches that have resulted in high fines. In 2018, a charity was fined £30,000 when a cyclist lost her leg in a lorry collision at a charity event. In 2010, a mental health charity received a £30,000 fine after a support worker was killed by a paranoid schizophrenic whose condition was known to be worsening. A charity was fined £6,000 in 2014 after a volunteer lost a finger and thumb when operating an unguarded circular saw.
High-profile breaches of health and safety have a financial cost and may cause supporters of a charity to leave.
One of the main priorities of the Health & Safety Executive to improve health and safety is to have a skilled and trained workforce. Kangurs recommends the CharityGo online training platform, which has two courses written by health and safety experts. One course focuses on health and safety in the charity sector, while the other is catered toward hazard awareness.
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