Personal Safety – A Gentle Reminder.
The horrible tragedy of Sarah Everard being murdered has made most people think about the safety of themselves and their loved ones – myself included.
Also, with the recent lockdowns and nationwide covid restrictions our volunteering offer has been greatly reduced, possibly increasing the feelings of isolation or vulnerability. As the volunteer roadmap has been published and with lockdowns coming to an end (hopefully) over the coming months, it is a good time to take stock of our personal safety, and that of our fellow volunteers.
The Woodland Trust has in place extensive systems and guidance for lone workers that we all need be aware of and follow – and it’s important to stress “We”.
Each of us is responsible for our own safety when we are out and about whether it’s on site or waiting for a train. Please take the time to read the Safety Guidance Note “Lone Working” and put in place your own safe way of working to suit your needs. Always endorse the basic principles of personal safety when working alone. These are:
· Make sure someone knows where you are going, knows when to expect you back and will raise the alarm if you don’t return – have in place a Buddy System – if this is a loved one make sure they have an out of hours number or numbers to reach your volunteer manager or a member of staff at the Trust in the event of a problem. Make sure you give sufficient detail to enable a search – just writing IN/OUT/ will be of no use if people are worried.
· Take what you need with you – fully charged mobile phone (and charger for long days), appropriate clothing, water, any medicines you may need and other items specific to you – a torch if travelling at night or perhaps a small first aid kit if going out into the woods. – take the time to think about what you may need.
· Never engage in higher risk activities alone – going up ladders, working next to deep or fast flowing water, entering dilapidated buildings or using power tools for example.
· Trust your instincts – if you feel uncomfortable or at risk in a situation you find yourself in remove yourself from it and if necessary, seek out other people to help you. Always share your concerns with your Volunteer manager and please so no if you are not comfortable in a certain situation.
Last of all it’s important to implement sensible precautions without paranoia. Though the risks to lone workers can be significant, they are greatly reduced with a few simple steps, and we should not be afraid to go about our business.
If you have any concerns please speak with your Volunteer Manager in the first instance or a member of the National Volunteering Team at firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information please refer to the Safety note on Lone working. This and similar documents can be found in the Health and Safety section of the Whittle Library.