Updates to the health, safety and welfare policy and procedure

Changes volunteers need to know about

05 April 2023

Protecting the health, safety and welfare of our volunteers, members, or anyone else to who comes into contact with our work and activities is very important. It’s also everyone’s responsibility. 

Our health, safety and welfare policy sets out what we all need to do to keep everyone safe. 

Last year we held a consultation on the policy and its procedure to get an idea of how our volunteers used the policy and procedure – and what you thought about it. As always, a big thanks to everyone who responded.  

Reviewing the policy and procedure took us longer than we expected. But we had to be sure that we’d got everything right and make them the best they could be.  

We’ve made quite a lot of changes, but don’t worry – we haven’t asked you do anything new, or anything more.  But it’s still really important you read the new policy and procedure.   

When it comes to the policy, the first thing you should know is that it’s a lot shorter – around half the length of the previous one.  

The policy sets out that all volunteers have a legal responsibility to create and maintain healthy and safe spaces for everyone affected by our activities. It also emphasises the importance of being competent to be responsible for health, safety and welfare. 

The policy contains all of our expectations for any volunteer who is responsible for health and safety, like completing risk assessments, having appropriate insurance cover, being vigilant to ensure that unacceptable risks don’t develop if the situation changes and minimising volunteering alone. We’ve removed the separate lone volunteering policy and procedure from the website, as everything is now covered in our health, safety and welfare policy and procedure.  

The first change you’ll notice in the procedure is how the page looks. We’re trying a new way of structuring some of our pages to make it easier for you to find the information you’re looking for. If you click one of the headings, you’ll be taken straight to that section of the page. 

The new version of the procedure also includes a lot more information. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean there’s more for you to do - we’ve just brought together details from different places on the website so it’s easier to find. This includes sections on responding to accidents and incidents, and making sure volunteers have completed the relevant checks and training. 

We’ve added some new guidance on manual handling, and opening and closing your meeting place safely. There’re also some new PDFs on how to use a fire extinguisher and what you need to include in your first aid kit.