The work Charities do for our society is immeasurable. Whatever the focus of the campaign or brand, the lives touched by charities is more widespread than can even be comprehended. Whether it be children in Africa, the elderly in Oldham, Cranes in Wisconsin or the Rain Forests across our globe, the reach of these organisations is something to be applauded. But the key cogs that keep these wheels in motion are the people within; from volunteers to full-time employees, seasonal workers and shop assistants, without the people the cause wouldn’t stand a chance. So the big question is; what is being done to ensure health and safety for charities is accessible, regulations are adhered to (all boxes are ticked!) and time away from mainstream duties is minimised?
Challenges in Health and Safety for Charities
In order to look into this, I had a conversation with one of our Enterprise e-Learning customers, Andrew Newlove, who is the Health & Safety Officer for Hope House & Ty Gobaith Children’s Hospices.
The range of services provided by the charity includes inpatient respite care, community nurses, support for families, counselling services alongside shops and other forms of fundraising. The problem that faces many organisations such as this is that people are spread out over large geographical areas and often there are only a handful of people based near each location – therefore trying to provide any classroom-based or centralised training has a serious impact upon the productivity of the team. It was, therefore, a critical consideration for the management team to find solutions that covered, not only a wide range of topics and training requirements based on specific job roles but also catered for an incredibly decentralised workforce at an affordable level of investment.
How has the health and safety solution impacted the charity?
Since implementing a Safety Media Software Solution to these challenges, Andrew noted that as an organisation they have not only reduced the time and costs of travelling but also they are giving people the feeling that they are valued by the organisation simply by the fact that some training is being given. The confidence that they feel within their working environment is beneficial not only to them as an individual but to Hope House as an organisation.
The people satisfaction element of that is hard to quantify but what it does mean is that the integrity of the responsibility of the organisation to the employees is bolstered meaning there has been a reduction in staff churn, increase in employee satisfaction and ultimately making it more of an attractive prospect to new people coming into the organisation.
It has made my life considerably easier because we are able to ensure that everybody is suitably trained against a whole raft of possible calamities…
One example that I talked about with Andrew was that he was able to respond to an outbreak of Legionella in Ludlow immediately by assigning Legionella Awareness e-Learning training to the relevant members of staff in their Ludlow area so that they knew what the warning signs were to look out for and how to prevent it becoming a potential issue for the charity.
During the course of our discussions, I was quite intrigued to learn that the Food Safety courses provided in the course library were also particularly important to them as it is something that they are measured on by the CQC. They have to ensure that all members of staff receive the relevant level of training and this can be delivered to new starters immediately.
Was there anything that particularly stood out?
Aside from the range of courses and flexibility of the system to deliver them, one of the key features Andrew cited as being particularly useful from a health and safety compliance point of view was the ability to add specific risk questions to the end of courses. These are editable and reported centrally so that each individual who takes a course is immediately flagged with a risk rating between 0 and 10 and makes use of a simple traffic light system. But also the self-test at the end of the course allows the organisation to be sure that the person knows what they are talking about and give the organisation peace of mind that all bases are being covered legally.
A thought I was left with was that by rolling out these courses and the solution Hope House is now better able to protect the organisation but more critically than that it protects the individuals who are providing the critical services and roles throughout the team.
We gave Andrew the freedom to concentrate more on improving the health and safety practices across the organisation instead of chasing and arranging basic levels of mandatory training. The organisation now has the freedom to offer their employees and volunteers more opportunity for personal growth and development and more time doing the jobs they get the satisfaction out of doing instead of ticking the boxes for the HSE.
What’s next for your charity to get started?
The best way to see how a software solution can help give you the freedom to do more is to try it for yourself.
Author: Claire Williams, Divisional Marketing Manager, Access Group