Falls have been found to be the leading cause of injuries in the workplace, and nonprofit organizations are no exception to this risk.
Volunteers sometimes trip on uneven surfaces, or can easily trip on objects left in a walkway. They fall on stairs, slip on slick surfaces, fall when working on ladders and step stools, fall when they make accidental contact with another person or an object, and in a variety of many other scenarios. If they are older individuals, they may be frailer and more likely to fall than stronger volunteers, which in turn means they are more likely to be seriously injured.
Is your operation prepared to avoid as many slip and fall accidents as possible?
Preventing Damaging Fall Injuries
Sometimes volunteers are injured by falls in remote locations where they are assigned, such as a client’s home. If possible, it is helpful to have the volunteer’s supervisor go out to scout those locations to better identify and remove hazards. If that is not practical for your organization, tell your volunteers you will need them to be your “eyes and ears” at the locations where they work, and report any hazards that could cause an injury to them or anyone else.
Advise your volunteers that if they are ever about to fall it best that they bend their elbows and knees and try to take the hit on the fleshiest parts of the body, like the side of the thigh, buttocks, and shoulder. Experts say that we should always aim for the meat, not bone. It is commonly human instinct to want to first reach out with hands or try to catch yourself with your knee or foot, however, these body parts are very hard and not forgiving when you go down.
It is best to be equipped with plenty of resources. Being able to get your hands on documents regarding injury prevention and vehicle safety can go a long way to keep both you and your volunteers educated. Through special programs, you can find resources that address specific hazards that can cause falls. Being able to execute small-group safety training is extremely beneficial, along with even simply discussing what you learn through resources and providing information to your volunteers individually.
VIS members have 24/7 access to our “VIS Vault” of risk management resources, including our “Preventer Papers” on minimizing the risk of falls and other perils.
You can also find fall prevention programs through the National Council on Aging and Centers For Disease Control and Prevention Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths and Injuries (STEADI). Do what you can to manage the leading cause of volunteer injuries!
Volunteers Insurance Service Association, Inc. (VIS) was established in 1972 for the purpose of providing insurance and risk management services for volunteer-based organizations. In addition to still providing these insurance services today on a nationwide scale, we have expanded to provide noninsurance resources for members to manage their risks and improve their operations. By transferring the volunteer risk exposure to our program, we can help you protect your organization. Contact us today at (800) 222-8920 for more information on our programs and services. Join now!