New Organization Seeks to Improve Health and Safety for Volunteers

S4NP-Safety For NonProfits is a start-up project that seeks to support nonprofit organizations’ efforts to improve workplace safety and health in their operations. More than 60 million volunteers and 11 million employees work in nonprofit organizations across the United States. Studies from NIOSH and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics disclose that, on average, one volunteer dies every week while performing volunteer work for nonprofits.  Some nonprofits are proactive and have effective workplace safety and health programs and practices, but most nonprofits “don’t know what they don’t know.” The goal of S4NP is to enable our fellow professionals to deliver pro bono advisory services, within well-defined parameters, to nonprofits in their local communities. These services are not intended to replace services available from fee-for-service consultants, OSHA consultation, or workers’ compensation insurance carriers. Many health and safety professionals are already volunteering in our local communities at food pantries, youth groups, and other charities. We can’t help but see hazards at these operations and know they can be made safer and better for volunteers and employees. People who volunteer and give back to their communities shouldn’t get hurt when doing good. Our experience shows that delivering informational and educational workshops to leaders at nonprofits opens the door to conversations and actions to address workplace safety and health. Most nonprofits are cash-strapped and focused on their stated missions, and they don’t know how to address workplace safety and health matters. S4NP seeks to establish professional liability insurance for the S4NP advisers who deliver pro bono services to nonprofits.  The S4NP team is quickly and steadily advancing this project to the next stage by developing operational and financial procedures and filing the paperwork to incorporate as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. S4NP staff are interested to learn about AIHA members’ experiences with nonprofit work, and welcome volunteers who wish to help advance the S4NP initiative. Contact the S4NP team via email. Jack Geissert, CIH, is the founder and president of Safety For NonProfits, Inc.

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