A Lesson in Safety at the Project Site

by on Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Look carefully at this picture; there is much to learn from a risk management perspective.

What’s wrong with this picture? The volunteers in this photo are building a latrine. Hmm, where to start? Should we start with the fact that these volunteers aren’t wearing helmets, yet one volunteer is passing down large rocks to the volunteers below while standing precariously on a ladder? How about the fact that there are multiple onlookers who standing very close to the edge?

The soil may be rock-hard and highly unlikely to cave in; it is also highly unlikely that someone would accidentally fall in because they didn’t notice the hole in the ground, but still, some “SAFETY 101” precautions are missing here.

We show this picture at our Project Leader Trainings to illustrate what NOT to do. Even in foreign countries that operate with less stringent safety standards than those in the UK, North America or Australia and New Zealand, ISV’s strict safety protocols must be followed. That includes safety training for all tasks undertaken and mitigating even potential risks. In this case, we should see helmets and site demarcation (for standing safely away from the hole) in addition to gloves and sturdy closed-toed footwear. All this should be preceded by a thorough safety brief.

Volunteers provide tremendous services to our environment and to communities worldwide - let's keep our volunteers safe while they have fun!

ISV prioritizes safety at every level. Volunteers need to think safety too. The best decision any volunteer can make is to carefully research the risk management practices of the organisation with whom they choose to volunteer. Dig deeper than looking for organisations that just say “safety first” and ask about an organisation’s management plans, staff training, pre-departure preparation, assistance in emergencies and daily safety issues.

To learn more about ISV’s safety philosophy and practices visit our website, or email our office as we’d be happy to give you additional information.

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