From the Claims Desk: Don’t Relax Safety in the Summer
School is out, and the weather is warm! Vacations, festivals, and celebrations abound. Summer is a more relaxed time of year, but leaders of Episcopal institutions need to be careful not to let safety slide.
Your organization might be hosting a fundraiser or another event this summer. Sam Carucci, Vice President, Claims, for The Church Insurance Companies, says that an important part of event-planning is limiting volunteers’ roles, so everyone knows where they need to be and what they should be doing.
“For example, if you host a barbecue, only certain people should work at the grill, while others serve food,” Sam says. Avoiding having “too many cooks in the kitchen” eliminates confusion, so it sets up your event for success.
He talks about a fundraising clambake his own church hosted. “Four of us did the cooking in a field, and no one was allowed behind us. We cordoned off the area, so kids weren’t running around us, and adults weren’t coming back to chat. It was still a fun event, and everyone was safe.”
A well-planned event coordinates volunteers “like a symphony,” Sam says. “Everyone who wants to help can do so, but they know exactly what tasks they’re responsible for, from set up to clean up.”
Maybe your facilities are in an area that gets increased traffic on the weekends during summer. Maybe you’re hosting Bible school for children. Maybe some parishioners have extra time and volunteer their services.
Having different people around can infuse an organization’s atmosphere with new life. Create a welcoming environment, but let new people know what the rules are. They’ll be better able to fit in, and the whole population will be on safer footing.
For example, “anyone who will be working with children needs to go through the appropriate training,” Sam says. More can be found on the Model Policy for the Protection of Children and Youth.
If you host events that includes outside vendors, provide a safe space for them to work, and require that they show proof of insurance. “You don’t want to impinge upon the safety of anyone coming in to work,” Sam says. “But you also want to make sure vendors are covered by insurance in case of emergency, or even a small untoward event,” such as an accident or an argument that gets out of hand.
You might host relaxing events, or enjoy longer days with more sunshine, but be careful to keep structure in your activities. “Just because it’s summer, that doesn’t mean regulations should disappear,” Sam says.