Your volunteering should be a very safe experience. However, there are a number of steps you can take to maximize your safety, and the safety of those you come into contact with.
When you start doing Chesed the organization you are volunteering for should provide you with an initial orientation. This should include:
Introduction to your supervisor/contact person and other relevant staff
Explanation of your role, tasks and responsibilities
Explanation of health and safety procedures including where the first aid box is, accident reporting and fire procedures
Opportunity for discussion and training
Explanation of any relevant paperwork and systems you are required to complete
Tour of the premises (if appropriate)
Any relevant training required to carry out the task.
When visiting or volunteering from an organization’s premises, you must follow any safety instructions you are given by them.
If you will be volunteering from the organization’s premises, they should provide you with a health & safety orientation when you first start. Are you familiar with:
Their general safety policy and procedures
Procedures to be adopted in the event of an emergency
Emergency evacuation, location of fire exits
Procedures for accidents/first aid
General security at the premises
Don’t be afraid to ask questions if the orientation does not clearly explain all these areas.
Also, if any of your Chesed activities involve working with machinery, hazardous substances or similar, this must have been part of the original volunteer opportunity description, and the organization must provide training. You must not undertake this activity unless they have provided this and you feel safe and competent to do this work.
Finally, always think about what you are doing and how safe it is. Make sure you consider the safety of others as well as yourself so that you don’t endanger the people you volunteer with, whether staff of the organization, the public or other volunteers.