Youth work organisations and workers must be prepared and know what to do if faced with an emergency or critical incident i.e. a situation that overwhelms the immediate staff team and requires the wider support of the organisation and/or external support services.

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It is good practice for all workers, particularly those working directly with young people, to receive a structured briefing at the beginning of any programme and/or after any significant change. This briefing should include a summary of the risk assessment, identifying key hazards and any key control measures that apply to the forthcoming activity. Workers should be given the opportunity to ask questions on the risk assessment and their role in the application of control measures.

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The aim of this guidance assists you to ensure your organisation effectively oversees the application of safeguarding.

This guidance is primarily for anyone in the voluntary sector but is applicable to anyone providing youth work services to children and young people. This could include but is not limited to a charity, community interest company, social enterprise or unincorporated charitable organisations.

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Youth work organisations use a range of different venues for delivering their services. The venue itself is a key part of the overall safety management system so advance planning is required.
When using residential venues that are not owned or managed by the youth work organisation, workers should ensure that procedures are in place to manage the safety and wellbeing of young people and workers at the venue.

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Fire safety should always be of paramount concern. Youth work organisations should ensure that all workers, volunteers and young people are aware of fire safety and evacuation procedures relevant and specific to the venue, setting and activity.

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Youth work organisations should give particular consideration to road transport safety. Travelling in various means of transport is likely to be one of the higher risk activities involved in the delivery of youth work services. This guidance focuses upon private hire and self-drive road transport and not other methods such as rail, air or ferry. Safety should always be considered when planning transport but other factors will also need consideration such as convenience, cost, health benefits (i.e. walking or cycling) and environmental impact (i.e. use of public transport). All national and local regulations must be adhered to at all times.

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The information included within this resource applies to any equipment used during youth work activity, either by young people themselves or the workers who are with them. Information in this resource does not cover workers’ use of occupational work equipment. For example equipment used in office settings which young people do not have access to, or where a contracted third party may be operating machinery to set-up a site in advance of a youth programme i.e. to put up marquees or teepees.

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Youth work organisations should pay particular attention to the safety management of large scale events such as: large fundraising, sponsorship or sporting events; jamboree style events; recruitment or promotional fairs; religious festivals; other events involving large groups of people.

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All youth work organisations, regardless of the extent to which they prepare or supply food, should consider and apply principles of good food hygiene and safety. Some organisations may qualify as a ‘food business’ and be subject to the regulations of the food industry (see section below for more details), but all organisations should be mindful of hygiene and safety principles as part of their general health & safety responsibilities.

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Supervision can be provided directly, indirectly (within clear boundaries) or remotely. Workers should always ensure that arrangements are appropriate for the needs and capabilities of the group and that associated risks have been taken into account.  

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