Dealing with Accidents
Accidents happen, no matter how meticulously you plan. Planning for an accident can be just as helpful as planning to avoid them! The only problem is that you can’t tell what sort of accident it will be. However, in the event of an emergency of whatever kind there will be some standard procedures to follow, both ‘during’ the accident and afterwards. Many of these will be identified as part of your Risk Assessment:
- Have you got enough leaders to deal with the accident and the rest of the group?
- Is there adequate First Aid support?
- Does the group leader have the necessary charged phone and emergency numbers to hand?
- Do you have a procedure for deciding when to take the whole group home?
- Is there a chain of communication to ensure that parents/guardians are informed?
- Is there an allocated ‘home contact’ to phone for advice and support?
- Is there support available for volunteers and young people to discuss what happened, in the event of a traumatic accident?
- An accident report form should be completed as soon and as fully as possible after the event
- Any subsequent action taken should also be recorded, along with any reasons why other actions are not taken
- A report should also be written outlining who, when and how appropriate people were informed (e.g. parent/guardian, Senior youth worker/manger, Management Committee, Police, Social Services)
Reviewing the Accident Forms or Accident Book can give you an idea of where there are persistent problems (with equipment, particular activities or a member of staff). You must, however, remember that this information is confidential and should be treated as such. If you share a building with other users it might be helpful to have a Health and Safety meeting with them regularly to identify any issues that need to be raised with the buildings owner.