Charity and Voluntary Organisations

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1 Charity and Voluntary Organisations A health and safety guide

2 Crown copyright 2013 First published 2013 You may re-use this document/publication (not including logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence. To view the licence, visit doc/open-government-licence or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU; or This document/publication is also available on our website at Any enquires regarding this document/publication should be sent to us at: Health and Safety Works NI, Longbridge House, Waring Street, Belfast, BT1 2DX, Northern Ireland; or

3 Contents Introduction 5 Managing health and safety 7 Health and safety policy 7 Risk assessment including vulnerable workers 8 Information, instruction, supervision and training 9 Information you should have on display 10 First aid and accidents 10 Premises 13 Managing asbestos 13 Managing fire safety 14 Charity shops and public areas 14 Safe maintenance 15 Workstations 15 Working alone 17 Home visits 17 Violence 17 Driving at work 19 Policies and procedures 19 Fundraising 21 Event management 21 Health and safety checklist 22 3

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5 Introduction Health and safety legislation applies to all businesses, including third sector employers such as voluntary organisations, charities, social enterprises and notfor-profit organisations. All these employers have the same health and safety duties to their workers as any private sector employer in the same circumstances. The term worker is used throughout this guide and deliberately includes employees and voluntary workers such as people who work for an employer but not as an employee. While most health and safety law specifically refers to employees and the duties owed to them, it is good practice, and very strongly recommended, that people working as volunteers are given the same level of protection as employees. This guide provides basic health and safety advice and information for charity and voluntary organisations. Many such organisations, particularly smaller ones, do not have access to professional health and safety advice and simply do not know what it is that they need to do to manage health and safety. This booklet covers the main aspects of health and safety that charity and voluntary organisations will need to be aware of in order to meet their legal duties and keep their workers safe. Ultimate responsibility for managing health and safety in your organisation will rest with the most senior person, that might be the Chief Executive or Chairperson of the Board. You can, however, appoint a competent person, to assist you and to make sure that health and safety is managed on a daily basis and at a practical level. A competent person should have the necessary knowledge, ability, training and experience to manage your health and safety. Charity and Voluntary Organisations A health and safety guide 5

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7 Managing health and safety Health and safety does not have to be complicated. You just need to manage it in the same way you manage any other business activity. This section will highlight what organisations are legally required to do to manage their health and safety. For most organisations, you will have certain arrangements, procedures or rules in place to make sure that accidents are prevented during the course of your day-to-day business. You will also find a useful checklist at the back which will help you make a start in managing your health and safety. Health and safety policy A health and safety policy sets out how your organisation will manage its health and safety. It will demonstrate your organisation s commitment to the health, safety and welfare of your workers. The policy should be specific to your organisation and it should clearly say who does what, when and how often. The policy is usually made up of three parts: A Statement of Intent (what you intend to do) A written policy statement shows your workers, and anyone else, your commitment to health and safety. It should be signed and dated by the most senior person in the organisation; Organisation details (who will be involved) This section names those who will have responsibilities for health and safety matters in your organisation; and Arrangements (how you will put it in place) This section explains how you will control the main hazards that have been identified in your risk assessment. The policy will only be effective if you and your workers follow it. It should be reviewed regularly, at least once a year, or sooner if there are changes to work processes, machinery, equipment or staff. If you have five or more workers, your policy must be in writing and signed and dated by the most senior person in the organisation. The health and safety policy does not need to be complicated. To help you, we have created a template that you can download and complete. You can download the template and more detailed information on writing a health and safety policy from HSWNI s website, and click on health and safety policy. Charity and Voluntary Organisations A health and safety guide 7

8 Managing health and safety Risk assessment Carrying out a risk assessment can help you protect your workers and your business, as well as help you work within the law. It helps you focus on the risks that really matter the ones that could possibly cause real harm. If you have five or more workers you must record the significant findings of your risk assessment. However, it is good practice to record your risk assessment regardless of the number of workers or level of risk. A risk assessment simply means looking at what, in your work activities and workplace, could cause harm to people and an examination of the control measures that you already have in place to prevent harm. The aim is to make sure that no one gets hurt or becomes ill. The law does not expect you to remove all risks but to protect people by putting in place additional measures to control the risks if it is reasonable to do so. When you are carrying out your risk assessment, it may be helpful to divide your business into different activities or areas and deal with these separately. This will be less daunting than trying to carry out a risk assessment for the whole business. Do you know the difference between a hazard and a risk? Hazard A hazard is anything that could, or has the potential to, cause harm. Risk Risk is the likelihood of the hazard occurring and the severity of the harm if it does occur. You should carry out risk assessments in all areas of your workplace and record your findings and any action taken. Vulnerable workers There are many groups of people at work who you should pay special attention to, to make sure that you maintain high standards of health and safety at all times. They may have particular requirements and therefore be at a particular risk, for example: young workers; new mothers and women who are pregnant; workers with disabilities; migrant workers; people with communication difficulties; and temporary workers or contractors. If you have workers that fall into any of these categories extra thought may be needed to protect them from some hazards. Charity and Voluntary Organisations A health and safety guide 8

9 It is important to remember that as an employer you have a legal duty to carry out a specific risk assessment for: young workers (16 18 year olds); and new mothers and women who are pregnant. A risk assessment is not about creating paperwork. Your risk assessment is a living document and should reflect any changes in the work that you do. It is also good practice to review your assessment (at least annually) to make sure the controls you are using are working and are still appropriate. To help you, we have created a template that you can download and complete. Information, instruction, supervision and training Everyone who works for your organisation must receive the right information, instruction, supervision and training to do their work safely and without a risk to their health. Prohibition sign: No smoking Warning sign: Electricity You can download the template and more detailed information on how to complete a risk assessment from HSWNI s website, and click on risk assessment. Mandatory sign: Ear protection must be worn Information sign: First-aid equipment Information is what you tell your workers, either verbally or in writing, to make them aware of the dangers associated with their work and the control measures that they need to follow in order to protect Charity and Voluntary Organisations A health and safety guide 9

10 Managing health and safety themselves, for example health and safety signs. It should also include any restrictions placed on them, for example not using certain machinery because they have not been trained to use it. Instructions can be verbal or in writing. They tell a worker what they can or can not do, for example an instruction manual or a safe operating procedure. Supervision is keeping an eye on someone while they work. This is very important when young or inexperienced workers first start working as they are more likely to get hurt compared to older more experienced workers. Training is about giving your workers the skills and knowledge that they need to work safely and without risks to their health or safety. The training provided should be specific to the job and each worker. It should also include learning outcomes or goals that can be measured to make sure the training is effective and relevant. All of your workers should know what they are expected to do and you should check they understand that they know how to work safely. Training should include induction training, on the job training, professional development, job specific training and refresher training. Records should be kept of all training completed by your workers. Information you should have on display You are required, by law, to display some information, or make it available to your workers, in your premises where all of your workers can see it. Health and safety policy statement (signed and dated). y y Health and Safety Law in Northern Ireland: What you need to know poster. A valid copy of your Employer s Liability (Compulsory) Insurance certificate. You must also display your fire evacuation procedures and your first-aid arrangements. You may also want to display some other of your organisation s policies and procedures such as your company rules. More detailed information on what information you should have on display is available online at HSWNI s website, and click on Information you must display. First aid and accidents It is important that you can provide first aid at all times to people who are at work. Your requirements will depend on the findings of your risk assessment Charity and Voluntary Organisations A health and safety guide 10

11 which should consider a number of factors including the nature of your organisation and the number of workers you have. The minimum first aid you should provide in any workplace is: a suitably stocked first-aid box; an appointed person to take charge of first-aid arrangements; and information for all employees about first-aid arrangements. You may decide your organisation needs a first-aider, if so, they must hold a valid certificate of competence in either: first aid at work (FAW), issued by a training organisation approved by HSENI or HSEGB; or emergency first aid at work (EFAW), issued by a training organisation approved by HSENI or HSEGB or by a recognised Awarding Body of Ofqual/Scottish Qualifications Authority. More detailed information on managing first aid is available online at HSWNI s website, and click on first aid. Accident reporting You may need to report some workplace injuries, incidents and work-related diseases to HSENI. You must report immediately any serious incident connected with work which results in death or major injury to a worker or self-employed person working on your premises; a dangerous event; or a member of the public being taken to hospital from your premises. You will also need to report, within 10 days, any injury which results in the injured person being away from work for more than three days and any disease, confirmed in writing by a doctor, arising from specific types of work. You can report all work-related accidents to HSENI in writing or online at Records must be kept of accidents, diseases and dangerous occurrences that you report. The accident book can be used for this purpose or you can keep electronic records on a computer. The recording of the information must conform to the Data Protection Act and records must be kept for at least three years. More detailed information on what accidents, diseases or dangerous occurrences you need to report is available online at HSWNI s website, and click on reporting an accident. Charity and Voluntary Organisations A health and safety guide 11

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13 Premises Most charity and voluntary organisations will either own or rent premises. If you own, occupy or manage premises you will have some responsibilities. If you own premises you will be responsible for the structure of the building and the services to it, which may include any external areas such as car parks, pathways, entrance and exits and so on. You will need to make sure that the building is structurally sound, well maintained and safe. Having a planned, preventative maintenance programme in place will identify any problems before they cause any health and safety issues. If you rent premises you may have less responsibility for the building. Generally you will have to look after repairs and maintenance inside the building and make sure any equipment you provide for your workers to use is safe, fit for purpose and maintained. External maintenance and repairs to the building and external areas are more likely to be the responsibility of the landlord, particularly in multi-occupancy premises, although this will depend on your tenancy agreement. Common areas such as corridors and any equipment provided by the landlord, such as a lift, remain the responsibility of the landlord. It is very important that responsibilities are outlined and agreed before the agreement is signed. committee. This enables organisations to communicate and agree how to manage any issues relating to the premises. More detailed information on forming a health and safety committee is available online at the HSE website, and search for health and safety committee. Managing asbestos Any building that has been built or refurbished prior to the year 2000 may contain asbestos. Therefore, if you own or rent non-domestic premises which may contain asbestos you will have: a legal duty to manage the risk from this material; or a legal duty to co-operate with whoever manages that risk. Buildings built prior to 2000 are required to have an asbestos register. More detailed information on managing asbestos is available online at the HSENI website, If you share premises with other organisations it is often a good idea to have a health and safety Charity and Voluntary Organisations A health and safety guide 13

14 Premises Managing fire safety You have a legal duty to make sure that your premises and workers are kept safe from fire and its effects and make sure people can escape to safety if there is a fire. It is now a legal requirement to carry out a fire risk assessment of your premises. If you have five or more workers, or require a licence or registration for the premises, you must record the significant findings of the risk assessment and any actions you have taken to remove or reduce the risk. The purpose of the fire risk assessment is to help you decide: what are the chances of a fire starting in your workplace; whether a fire in your workplace would put people in danger; if any individuals may be especially at risk; whether your existing fire precautions are suitable; or whether more precautions are needed. You must provide and maintain the necessary fire precautions to protect all of the people on your premises such as testing your smoke alarms and fire alarms. Information, instruction and training on the fire precautions must be given to all of your workers, for example you should practice a fire drill at least twice a year. More detailed information on carrying out a fire risk assessment and managing fire safety is available online at HSWNI s website, fire_safety Charity shops and public areas Many charity and voluntary organisations have charity shops as part of their fundraising activities. Although some health and safety issues are the same as for commercial shops such as safe displays, customer access and fire safety, there are some differences, namely: charity shops are often managed solely by volunteers; the shop premises are often on a short term lease; and charity shop stock generally comes from donated goods that are then sold. This means that there is no control over what is donated, how much or when. When looking at the front of the shop where customers come in to look at and buy the displayed items it is essential that it is tidy, safe and easy for everyone to move around. Good housekeeping procedures should be in place to prevent slips and trips and the area should be well lit. Make sure people know where to leave donated goods. Charity and Voluntary Organisations A health and safety guide 14

15 Safe maintenance Maintenance is carried out on buildings, plant, equipment and vehicles to make sure they perform the functions required. It is important that any work equipment you provide for your workers is kept in good working order so that it is safe for them to use. Carrying out regular maintenance will prevent work equipment from becoming defective and putting your workers in danger. More detailed information on safe maintenance is available online at HSWNI s website, and click on maintenance. risks have been assessed and reduced; all workstations meet the minimum requirements. This applies to screens, keyboards, desks, chairs, the work environment and software; work is planned so that there are breaks or changes of activity, with more frequent shorter breaks preferable to less frequent longer breaks; and training and information is provided. More detailed information on workstations and display screen equipment is available online at HSWNI s website, and search for Office health and safety. Workstations The workplace contains many workstations. A workstation may include a chair and a table, but many will also include computers and other displayscreen equipment. Display screen equipment includes visual display units and work equipment that has a screen displaying text, numbers or graphics, such as a cash register. Most workstations are generally safe but incorrect use can give rise to a number of health complaints. There are actions you must take to make sure your workers are safe and comfortable. Make sure: Charity and Voluntary Organisations A health and safety guide 15

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17 Working alone Most charities and voluntary organisations will have workers who, at some time, work on their own. This may include caring for people at home, working in a small charity shop or carrying out door-to-door collections. Regardless of the different situations, there are some common factors that every organisation should consider, including: having a lone worker policy; avoiding lone working where possible; carrying out risk assessments; having contact arrangements/whereabouts procedures in place; providing a means of communication such as a mobile phone or pager; providing adequate first-aid equipment; arrangements for lodging or storing money; and avoiding particularly hazardous activities, such as using dangerous equipment. Home visits Lone working often occurs in private homes where the organisation has no control over the working environment. Lone workers should not be put at more risk than other workers. They should be trained to adequately assess any risks and take the necessary precautions in these situations. Procedures should be established to make sure the lone worker knows what to do if a dangerous or uncomfortable situation occurs, protecting their personal safety at all times. More detailed information on lone working is available at the HSE website, and search for Working alone: health and safety guidance on the risks of lone working. Violence Some workers may experience violence at work. The term violence at work includes any form of threat, assault or abuse (whether physical and/or verbal) to a worker while they are at work. Physical attacks are obviously dangerous, but serious or persistent verbal abuse or threats can be a significant problem too, as they can damage workers health through anxiety and stress. Your organisation should have policies in place to deal with violence at work. More detailed information on violence at work is available online at the HSE website, and search for Violence at work. A guide for employers. Charity and Voluntary Organisations A health and safety guide 17

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19 Driving at work Many workers will be required to drive a vehicle as part of their work, be it in a company or hired vehicle or the worker s own vehicle. Road safety is controlled by road traffic laws and enforced by the police though some aspects of driving and vehicles are subject to health and safety laws. Policies and procedures It is essential that your organisation has policies and procedures in place for driving at work. The main factors to consider in your driving policy and risk assessments are: Drivers Are the drivers competent? Are your drivers properly trained? Are they fit and healthy to drive? Has the driver got adequate insurance? Has the lone working policy been discussed? Vehicle Is the vehicle fit for purpose? Is it safe and well maintained? Is safety equipment properly fitted and maintained? Is there a pre-user checklist for company vehicles? Have the statutory inspections been carried out? Journey Are routes planned thoroughly? Are work schedules realistic? Has sufficient time been given to allow journeys to be completed safely with adequate breaks included for very long journeys? Have weather conditions been considered? Passengers Is any special equipment required? Are seatbelts and head restraints fitted correctly and do they work properly? Do passengers know how to behave? Mobile phones Mobile phones are often used at work. They can have safety benefits such as allowing you to keep in contact with employees especially people working on their own. However, it is illegal under road traffic laws to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving. You should tell your workers about your policy on using mobile phones and handsfree kits. The police will, in most cases, continue to take the lead on the investigation of road traffic incidents on the public highway. However, if the police identify serious management failures as a contributing factor in the incident then the incident may be referred to HSENI. More detailed information on driving at work is available online at the HSE website, and search for Driving at work. Charity and Voluntary Organisations A health and safety guide 19

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21 Fundraising Fundraising plays an important role in most charity and voluntary organisations. It can cover many different activities, from a small street collection to a large concert or sponsored walk. Regardless of the nature or size of the event you must carry out a risk assessment. The risk assessment will identify any potential hazards involved and highlight the control measures that are required. For larger events such as firework displays or concerts, you will also need an event plan. Event management It is very important that health and safety is included in the pre-planning stage of all events. Remember for each fundraising event, regardless of size, you should always consider the following: People Who is involved? What numbers are you expecting to attend? Will crowd control measures be required? Do they have special requirements? Facilities What equipment is needed? What welfare facilities are required? What first-aid provision is required? How will you communicate with the crowds? Do you need to inform the emergency services? What emergency evacuation plans have you made? Environment Where is the event being held? How will it be laid out? Will the weather have an effect? What are the ground conditions? Is traffic management required? Please note this is not an exhaustive list. More detailed information on running events is available online at the HSE website, and search for event safety. Event What is the nature of the event? Where will it be held? How will people get there? How long will the event last? Charity and Voluntary Organisations A health and safety guide 21

22 Questions you should ask YES N/A Further action needed Managing health and safety Do you have a health and safety policy? Is it signed, dated and the statement of intent displayed? Have you documented risk assessments for all your work activities? Have you considered any vulnerable groups? Have you drawn up safe systems of work? Have you got employer s liability (compulsory) insurance? Is a copy of a valid certificate on display? Have you displayed the Health and Safety Law poster or issued pocket cards? Do you have first-aid arrangements in place? Have you an appointed person, emergency first aider or a first aider? Is first-aid information on display for everyone to read? Do you know what work- related accidents to report? Do you keep a record of all work-related accidents? Training Have all workers received appropriate training? Induction Job specific Refresher Fire evacuation Have training records been signed and dated by all workers? Premises Health and safety checklist Do you know what areas of your premises you are responsible for? 22 Does your premises require an asbestos register? Are public areas well lit and tidy?

23 Questions you should ask YES N/A Further action needed Do you have a planned, preventative maintenance schedule in place? Is the electrical equipment and services checked regularly? Are all workers aware of the procedure for reporting faults? Do you have documented maintenance records? Do you have emergency evacuation procedures in place? Do you carry out regular checks on fire-fighting equipment, etc and keep records of action taken? Working alone Do you have workers who regularly work alone? Are they aware of the lone working policy? Do you have check in/keep in touch procedures? Have they been issued with mobile phones/first-aid kits? Driving at work Do you have workers who drive as part of their work? Are they aware of the driving at work policy? Have they got adequate insurance if driving their own vehicle? Are pre-user checks carried out on company vehicles? Do the vehicles carry passengers? Are all workers adequately trained to assist passengers? Is the vehicle subject to a thorough examination? Fundraising Have you carried out a risk assessment remembering to consider: people; event; facilities; and 23 environment. Please note this is not an exhaustive list

24 For more help and advice Health and Safety Works NI, (HSWNI) the small business advisory service of the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland, the regional health and safety authority. For more information on our service or to request a visit from an adviser go to our website: and click on request a visit Health and Safety Works NI Longbridge House Waring Street Belfast BT1 2DX Phone: Textphone: Fax: Website: This leaflet contains notes on good practice which are not compulsory but which you may find helpful when considering what you need to do. March 2013 v1

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