Health and Safety – Risk Assessments & Security Information
At Humanitas we take the safety of all our volunteers extremely seriously and have robust systems in place to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all volunteers and staff.
Our UK team are able to provide up-to-date risk assessments and security information for all groups before your trip and our project-based team will always notify us of any changes to these before you set off.
For your peace of mind we are also working to meet the standards of BS8848. This is the British Standard for organising and managing visits, fieldwork, expeditions, and adventurous activities outside the UK.
When on placement at your project location, all of our staff are trained to deal with a vast range of medical incidents and emergencies which may have an impact on your placement.
Security has been considered and an up-to-date security plan, including details of what to do in an emergency or in the event of an outbreak of civil unrest, can be requested before your trip. Our staff keep up-to-date with changes to the security of the regions we work in and will notify you before your trip if we believe there to be any changes as a result of this.
We’ve decided to work towards this British Standard to give you peace of mind and to show that we work hard to ensure every single individual on our trips is safe, protected, and has an enjoyable experience which will stay with you for a lifetime.
How does the standard protect consumers?
BS 8848 details good practice for venture providers to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone taking part. It shows organisations how to plan ventures, identify potential risks, and manage them effectively. It also requires participants to be given clear information so that they can make informed decisions about risks to their own safety.
The standard covers all aspects of the venture – from planning, transport, staff and accommodation, to the activities themselves.
In summary, BS 8848 requires:
A single provider – One clearly identified person, or organisation, to take overall responsibility for the whole venture.
Informed choice – Participants to be given clear information about the venture, and potential risks, before they book.
Capable staff – All ventures to be run by competent and experienced people.
Good preparation and planning – Policies and procedures put in place to identify and manage risk at every stage of the venture
What should I expect from a good provider?
Organisations that comply with BS 8848 must:
Assign clear roles and responsibilities
- Assign clear roles and responsibilities.
- Identify one individual or organisation as the ‘venture provider’ who is accountable for all parts of the venture, including those run by third parties.
- Assess the services of any third party providers, for example, for travel, accommodation or venture activities.
- Give clear instructions to the leadership team about following procedures and supervising participants. Appoint competent staff.
- Assign an overall group leader who knows and understands the skills of the group.
- Recruit leaders with the right skills, training and experience for the activity being undertaken.
- Carry out relevant checks on all staff working unsupervised with children under 18. Plan and prepare.
- Plan and research all aspects of the venture – including the location, transport, accommodation and equipment – to assess them for suitability and safety.
- Prepare an itinerary and budget for each venture.
- Collect information about participants, including any pre-existing medical conditions, to assess that the venture is suitable for everyone involved.
- Check the availability of local medical services and support for each venture. Provide clear, accurate information.
- Before booking – give potential participants clear and detailed information about activities; the expertise of the leaders; potential safety issues; price; itineraries; and any prerequisites for travel (e.g. fitness or training), so that they can decide if it’s the right venture for them.
- After booking – provide detailed information about accommodation, transport, meals, payment schedules, insurance, and the participants’ own responsibilities (for example to obtain relevant visas or insurance).
- Develop written plans to identify, assess and then manage potential health and safety risks. These should cover the venture itself, plus the capability and experience of the venture leaders and participants.
- Make sure that everyone involved in the venture is aware of the risks of specific activities and locations – for example dehydration or altitude sickness – and understand what to do to minimise these risks.
- Produce a written ‘incident and emergency response’ plan for each venture to detail what should happen if things go wrong.
- Ensure that all staff are aware of the emergency plan; have access to medical advice and support; and know what to do and who to contact in the event of illness, accident or emergency.
For more information about British Standards contact BSI on 0845 086 9001 or visit their website www.bsigroup.com
What’s not included:
We try to make our trips as accessible as possible to people from all backgrounds and so when we work out the cost of a trip we always endeavour to include as much as possible. There are certain elements of all our trips which won’t be included and these are listed below. If you want any more information on any of these please do get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.
We don’t include the cost of flights as we understand you may have certain airline preferences and may want to travel at specific times. Please discuss available flights and options with us first before booking in order for us to ensure we are ready for your arrival.
We do not process visas on behalf of any of our volunteers and so this will be your responsibility.
Your vaccinations are your own responsibility and you should always consult a travel clinic or health professional prior to your trip with enough time to gain all of the necessary vaccinations.
A full kit list can be downloaded below.
It is important to remember that there are many organisations which offer various equipment which may be of use to you when volunteering overseas. Our kit list is pretty comprehensive and our recommended supplier will be able to give advice and guidance on all of our suggestions and why we feel they are necessary.
If you’d like to know more about what to bring please watch this video from one of our returned volunteers, which explains what they learned about the things they took with them and the things they wish they had had taken.