Understanding Health and Safety

by Aviva Community Fund | Nov 12, 2019 | Risk protection for community causes

Understanding Health and Safety

Health and Safety isn’t just about preventing accidents – it’s also about making sure your employees and volunteers have the right training, and that key information is communicated to everyone who needs it.

What’s required under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974?

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and its subsidiary regulations require employers to reduce the likelihood of accident or injury by: 

  • identifying hazards
  • assessing risks
  • supplying information, instruction and training.

You’ll need to create a Health and Safety policy and communicate it to all your members and volunteers. If your charity has more than five employees, the policy must be provided in writing. Please see a guide for Health & Safety Policy Templates

How do I create a Health and Safety policy?

An ideal Health and Safety policy has three main parts:

1. Statement of policy 

This should outline your charity’s approach to Health and Safety and the management of risk. 

2. Organisation 

This details the people who take responsibility for Health and Safety within your charity (for example, who organises training and carries out risk assessments?).

3. Arrangements

These are the specific Health and Safety rules, regulations and procedures documented for your charity. This might include things like safe working, training requirements or the supply of protective equipment.

Additional Health and Safety issues for charities

Everything we’ve covered so far applies to workplaces just as much as charities. But here are some additional things you might need to consider that other employers don’t:

  • the use of volunteer workers in addition to, or instead of, employed staff 
  • the huge diversity of your different work activities 
  • the unique nature of some areas of your work, like public fundraising events.

Risk assessments

Risk assessments are essential to help prevent Health and Safety issues before they arise. They’re a very important job, and usually the responsibility of a trustee.

Read more in our guide: How to create a risk assessment.

Training

Even if it seems like common sense, you can’t assume employees and volunteers will know the right way to undertake tasks, which equipment to use, or even the right way to use it. Please see a guide for Fire Safety

So whenever someone new does work on behalf of your cause, they’ll need general induction training about: 

  • fire alarms, including what they sound like and when they’re tested
  • how to leave the building in an emergency
  • what to do if they have an accident
  • where to go to get first aid, and who to inform
  • the procedures for issuing and using personal protective equipment.

Don’t forget to keep a copy of all this information in your employees’ and volunteers’ training records.

Resources:

For a sample accident report template and a checklist on what to do after an accident, see our guide.

Please see useful guides which may help you.

Accident Recording , Accident Reporting, Induction Training , Lone Working , Slips & Trips Prevention,

Manual Handling, Hazardous Substances