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Volunteer Safety and Management

Volunteers are the backbone of many nonprofits, houses of worship and other organizations that serve the greater good. It’s important, then, to keep them safe—and to make sure they are safe for your organization. One of the first steps is checking your level of insurance to safeguard your organization in the event of an illness, injury or other problematic event. Then, you need to take a close look at your practices.

Church Mutual has developed the following list to help organizations ensure their volunteers, and those they interact with, remain safe.

  1. Defend volunteers against the coronavirus. As we continue navigating the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, remember you need to alter your operations, practices and procedures to prevent the virus’ spread. Provide protective equipment for all volunteers—including gloves and face coverings—and encourage frequent hand washing and social distancing.
  2. Screen all volunteers. Background checks are not enough. When you bring new volunteers into your organization, use an intensive screening process that requires a comprehensive application, references and an interview, as well as a background check. By the time a volunteer starts working, you should have a clear understanding of his or her motivations and prior experience.
  3. Train all volunteer drivers on safe driving practices. Check each volunteer’s motor vehicle records before allowing them to drive on your organization’s behalf. If they will be using their own vehicle, ensure they carry up-to-date auto insurance. Drivers who will be operating a 15-passenger van should review Church Mutual’s transportation safety resources to make sure they understand the increased risks of driving such a vehicle.
  4. Help volunteers avoid slips, trips and falls by maintaining your facility. Install safety mats, ensure you have proper lighting in all areas and keep floors free of tripping hazards.
  5. Safeguard your volunteers against the elements during outdoor events. If it’s a hot, sunny day, provide plenty of sunblock and water and encourage volunteers to take breaks in shaded areas. If it’s a stormy day, stay inside when you see lightning. If it’s raining and your volunteers still want to be outside, make sure they have the proper footwear to prevent them from slipping. If it’s icy, use salt or sand on sidewalks and other areas where people walk.
  6. Provide an easily accessible and well-stocked first aid kit for volunteers. Accidents happen, and you need to be prepared. Church Mutual has created a handy list of items that should be in all first aid kits. Make sure all volunteers know where to find a first aid kit in the event one is needed.

Without volunteers, you wouldn’t be able to accomplish all that you do, which is why you should invest your time in developing a volunteer safety and management program.

Originally posted on blog.churchmutual.com

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