Health & Safety Policy

The health and welfare of our participants, staff, volunteers and audience members is of the utmost priority. In order to protect this the following policy and procedures must be adhered to.

LEADERSHIP / RESPONSIBILITY

A Director has lead responsibility for each area of our work and takes overall responsibility for ensuring that the health and safety policies and procedures are implemented within that area. The lead Director will normally be: Sarah Hughes for Art Club, Pop-Up Poetry Club and related activities; Ju Gosling for Music Club, Professional Development Club and related activities, and for events, exhibitions and performances; and Julie Newman for Photographers and Filmmakers Club and related activities, and training.

At least one Director must be present at all evening, weekend and one-off events and activities organized by Together! 2012 CIC.

Directors are responsible for risk-assessing a new venue, with the named individual usually as above, and for seeking appropriate advice as necessary. Venues in use on an ongoing basis must be risk-assessed again annually by a Director. Risk assessments must include emergency evacuation routes, including whether any lifts can be used in a fire, and where the refuge points are if not.

Directors are responsible for risk-assessing a new activity and for seeking appropriate advice as necessary, and for reviewing the safety of an activity at least annually.

When carrying out risk assessments, Directors and Activity Leaders must be aware of the access requirements of different impairment groups and the health and safety risks that could particularly impact on them, such as trip hazards for people with visual impairments; claustrophobic environments for people who experience anxiety; lack of visual signage for people who are unable to access print information; ramped entrances without sideguards for wheelchair users etc.

Activity Leaders must ensure that they have read and are aware of the risk assessments for the venue and activity concerned beforehand, and raise any questions with the lead Director, in addition to being familiar with the Health and Safety (and other) policies and procedures as a whole.

Activity Leaders are responsible for risk-assessing the environment immediately before an activity begins and for taking action to remedy any hazards, and should not allow participants to enter the space before this has been done. For example, are there any trip or slip hazards present because furniture has been displaced or cables left out? Has the fire exit been blocked?

Activity Leaders should provide information about the location of fire exits, accessible toilets etc to participants at the start of each session, and remember that long-term participants may not be able to retain this information between sessions.

During an activity, Activity Leaders should not absent themselves without handing over directly to a suitable deputy.

Staff and Volunteers should be made aware of the Health and Safety (and other) policies and procedures as a whole, and raise any questions with the Activity Leader.

All staff and volunteers should have current DBS (formerly CRB) clearance; where this is not possible (for example because of delays in processing these), no staff member or volunteer without a current DBS check should be left alone with participants.

Staff and Volunteers should not absent themselves during an activity without informing the Activity Leader directly, and must not leave an activity without adequate numbers of staff and volunteers remaining.

VULNERABLE ADULTS

Together! 2012 CIC is an arts organization and not a social care provider. Activity leaders, other staff members and volunteers can provide some access support for participants during an activity. However, participants who require support to travel to an activity should not be left unaccompanied by their carers or support workers during that activity unless it has first been established that they are safe to remain independently, including during an emergency. Emergency contact details for the carer or support worker must then be left with the Activity Leader.

Whether or not a disabled person is safe to be left, carers/companions are welcome to join in activities on an equal basis with the person they are supporting. Paid support workers are expected to support the participant to gain the maximum benefit from their participation unless the participant wishes otherwise.

Together! 2012 CIC will assist participants who require support to participate in an activity safely, but whose care packages are currently inadequate to enable attendance and participation, to negotiate for the appropriate support with the local authority.

See also our Protection of Vulnerable Adults Policy.

ASSISTING DISABLED PEOPLE

As above, Together! 2012 CIC workers and volunteers are able to provide access support only. For example, in addition to differentiating activities to meet individual requirements, we can assist with scribing, audio-describing etc. We can also offer assistance with opening doors, moving furniture, taking off and putting on outer clothing, fetching drinks etc. Staff and volunteers may not provide intimate personal assistance or otherwise take the place of carers and paid support workers, nor may they lift in place of hoists, transfer boards or evac chairs.

FIRST AID

Activity leaders are expected to be qualified First Aiders wherever possible, and to attend regular courses to keep qualifications in-date (we recognize that some disabled people will be unable to gain this qualification).

A First Aid kit must be present at all pop-up activities.

Activity leaders must ascertain who is the on-duty First Aider at pop-up and regular venues.

All accidents must be reported to the lead Director and venue manager and recorded appropriately.

All participants in regular activities will be asked to provide an emergency contact which will be recorded in the activity register kept by the Activity Leader. In the event of a participant becoming unwell or distressed, permission will be sought (if possible) for the Activity Leader to phone the emergency contact.

LIFTING

No lifting of people must take place – hoists, evac chairs or transfer boards must be used instead as appropriate, and then only by people who are qualified to use these.

No lifting of powered wheelchairs, or of occupied manual wheelchairs, must take place under any circumstances, however short the height/distance concerned. If a wheelchair user or ambulant person with limited mobility is unable to vacate a building because a lift has broken down, the emergency services must be summoned.

No lifting of heavy objects must take place where a trolley, sack truck or other option is available to assist with moving equipment or materials.

Objects being lifted should not be stacked, but instead moved separately.

Heavy objects requiring lifting must be lifted by a minimum of two appropriate people working together.

Activity Leaders must be aware of safe lifting techniques and ensure that anyone who is assisting with lifting has been taught these first.

ALCOHOL & DRUGS

Together! 2012 CIC does not serve alcohol at our events for access reasons, but alcohol and drug use also pose safety risks.

Staff, volunteers and participants may not bring alcohol or illegal drugs into activities, and must not attend activities under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.

Any concerns about participants being affected by alcohol or illegal drugs must be brought to the attention of the Activity Leader. Assistance should be sought from the venue manager if necessary.

Any concerns about staff members or volunteers being affected by alcohol or illegal drugs should be raised using our Feedback, Compliments and Complaints Policy and related procedures.

FATIGUE / BREAKS

All workers and volunteers must arrive suitably rested and refreshed and fit to work.

Appropriate breaks must be taken throughout the day, including at least 30 minutes at lunchtime (procedures must be in place to maintain safe levels of cover if an activity is continuing throughout the day).

The length of the working day must be appropriate for the individual concerned and must not exceed this.

Personnel levels (including volunteers) must be sufficient to avoid over-fatiguing workers.

FOOD SAFETY

Together! 2012 CIC only serves pre-packaged snacks and sealed individual bottles of drink directly to participants. Use-by dates must be checked by workers and volunteers when these are being distributed, and any out-of-date food and drink disposed of appropriately. Associated rubbish must be cleared away on a regular basis during an activity to prevent trip and slip hazards etc.

No food containing nuts must be served at any Together! 2012 CIC activity.

Suppliers of fresh food and drink to Together! 2012 CIC must be properly qualified and certificated and must ensure that all ingredients are listed.

Suppliers of fresh food and drink to Together! 2012 CIC must be briefed to ensure that choking hazards are avoided and that food is easy to eat with one hand. Any cutlery supplied should be risk-assessed in relation to the activity being undertaken. Where possible, knives should be avoided altogether; otherwise plastic or wooden knives should be supplied. Drinking straws must always be available to minimize spills by people who have difficulty lifting cups. (NB: This is also an access requirement.)

Activity Leaders must be aware of the food and drink being served by suppliers and of the practices being adopted and take action if necessary to remedy any issues. For example, if nuts are served as a garnish or addition, these must be removed immediately.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

All staff, volunteers and participants must be suitably equipped for the activity being undertaken, including the use of knee pads/kneelers and hard hats as appropriate. These will be supplied by Together! 2012 CIC.

High-visibility jackets must be worn on all ‘live sites’ and when working outside after dark, including when assisting participants and audience members to load and unload wheelchairs. These will be supplied by Together! 2012 CIC.

Anyone working above ground level must use an appropriate set of steps and ladder, and ladder users should normally co-work with someone to monitor safety and stabilise the ladder as appropriate.

FURNITURE & EQUIPMENT

All furniture and equipment that is purchased or otherwise acquired by Together! 2012 CIC must be risk-assessed as being suitable, safe and appropriate for the intended use. Regular checks must be made to ensure that furniture and equipment remains in safe condition, and appropriate for any changes in use that may have take place. Electrical equipment must be inspected annually and bear the appropriate label confirming this.

INSTALLING POP-UP EVENTS & EXHIBITIONS

As above, all new activities will be risk-assessed prior to beginning, using an external consultant where necessary (our preferred suppliers are Sygma Safety & Events Ltd).

As above, participants and audience members should not be allowed into an event or exhibition space until the environment has been risk-assessed as being ready. In particular, children and any adult deemed to be vulnerable in the particular circumstances should not be allowed into environments where installations are taking place. Activity organizers should ensure that there is comfortable space available where people can wait in the event of any unexpected delays.

Activity Leaders should be particularly aware of electrical hazards when installing pop-up events, including hazards posed by trailing cables. All cables must be taped down before an event opens.

Exhibition installers should be particularly aware of the hazards posed by glazed pictures falling during installation, and take action to minimize any risks caused. For example, frames, fixings and hanging systems must be checked prior to installation, and other people should not remain close by.

All packaging, equipment boxes etc should be stored in one place during installation of pop-up events and exhibitions, and if possible removed completely before an activity begins. Plastic packaging must be folded and stored during the unpacking of exhibits and equipment, rather than being left on the floor.

RECORDING & REPORTING

Any action taken under the Health and Safety policy must be reported to the lead Director as soon as possible and be suitably recorded. Where possible, incidents should also be discussed at the following Directors’ meeting.

TRAINING

All Directors, staff and regular volunteers will be expected to attend relevant training courses (for example in food hygiene, health and safety and lifting) when notified that these are available. Training for paid workers will take place during contractual hours.

MONITORING AND REVIEW

The Health & Safety Policy will be monitored on an ongoing basis and reviewed annually by the directors to ensure that it remains fit for purpose, and will be updated as necessary.