- Liaison with Council Structure
- Health and Safety Policies
Scouting exists to provide a program for character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness. The need to achieve personal fitness and to avoid sickness and accidents is so basic to successful living that it touches every phase of Scouting. Positive attitudes that help develop good health and safety practices must be taught while knowledge and skills are being acquired.
An individual or small group of persons is needed to ensure that safety and health awareness is included in all programs offered by the council. The function of a health and safety committee is to keep key council personnel AML informed and alert to current policies and guidelines designed to promote health and prevent illness, accidents, and fatalities; and to work through them to keep unit leaders and district personnel safety and fitness conscious.
A committee of health and safety experts works with the camping committee as well as other program committees. They are responsible for safe and healthy practices, equipment, and facilities in all Scout programming including council camps and off-council camping.
Basic functions include:
- Identify health and safety resources. Identify health and safety consultants who could assist the council both as specialists and as members of the health and safety committee.
- Keep informed of health and safety issues. Review national BSA policies relating to health and safety. A helpful publication for identifying policies and guidelines relating to safety in Scouting activities is the Health and Safety Guide, No. 34415B.
- Serve as liaison to the risk management committee. Gain an understanding of the risk management issues of the council and represent the program functions of the council by serving as a liaison to the risk management committee.
- Analyze Scouting program activities to identify potential risk or loss exposure. The committee shall familiarize itself with all council program activities to identify what potential for loss exists.
- Review camp injury reports to identify trends requiring preventive action. An effective resource for identifying trends that require preventive action are camp health logs and injury reports. The committee should consider that if an accident happens once, it could be random or chance; if an accident happens three times, a cause exists and the committee needs to find the cause and change something to prevent the accident from occurring in the future.
- Develop a health and safety training plan. Work with the council training personnel to develop and implement a training plan that addresses health and safety issues and heightens leader and youth awareness of safety concerns and risk avoidance.
- Implement the health and safety training plan. Help all council structures keep informed and alert to BSA policies and procedures related to safety protection, accident prevention, emergency preparedness, health education, fitness, camp standards, and aquatics.
- Communication with program committees. Communicate health and safety and risk management issues to the various council program committees.
- Participate in council precamp inspections. Help conduct council precamp inspections. Since council camps represent significant exposures for accidents, this committee should be actively involved with precamp inspections.
- Promote personal health and physical fitness. Seek opportunities to promote adult leader and youth awareness of personal health and physical fitness.
- Camp health operations. Support the council camp operations in the area of camp health. Assist the council camp in providing training for the camp health officer, liaison with local medical facilities, and standing orders. (See Camp Health and Safety, No. 19-308.)
Special note. A small council may wish to carry out the functions of both health and safety and risk management with a single health and safety/risk management committee. A combined committee reports to the vice president-administration.
Special care must be given with this option to ensure that adequate consideration is given to the program needs of the council. The vice president-program may recommend people to serve on the committee.
The key leadership in a local council is known as the council Key 3 and consists of the Scout executive, council president, and council commissioner. The Scout executive is the top professional Scouter in the council. An open line of communication should be maintained with this leader. Keep him or her informed of federal, state, and local regulations that have an effect on council and unit activities. Advise him or her of situations where potential hazards exist, and discuss possible steps that can reduce these risks.
The program functions include outdoor/camping and high adventure; activities and civic service; training; advancement and recognition; Venturing; and health and safety. (The council may have one program committee with ad hoc committees appointed as needed, or have full committees for each program area.)
The commissioner service is the pipeline or delivery system to the unit leaders (Cubmaster/Scoutmaster) through:
- Periodic personal visits
- Monthly roundtables
This is a major communications link between you and the unit leaders. Keeping the council commissioner alert to health and safety guidelines is an important liaison role of your position. Suggesting periodic health and safety hints on commissioner visitations and/or brief informative programs for roundtable meetings will help keep unit leaders conscious of safety awareness.
It is quite likely you will be asked to serve as a consultant to this committee. A major concern of this committee is the operation of the council-owned or leased camping facility. You will be interested and involved in its safe and healthful operation. Your contacts with local health officials, the nearby hospital and rescue squad, and local physicians and/or the medical society will greatly enhance your value to this committee. You will undoubtedly be responsible for the medical/first-aid operations during the summer camping season.
The committee charged with the mission of risk management will identify trends and hazards in Scouting activities in local councils that threaten the personal wellbeing of individuals (fatalities, serious injuries, sexual abuse, etc.) and financial assets of local councils. The committee will analyze problems and recommend solutions for loss prevention.
Risk management and health and safety are separate functions: health and safety is programmatic, while risk management is administrative. There must be good communication between the two.
The chair of the health and safety committee should act as a liaison to the risk management committee.
The adventure of Scouting activities often equates with a certain amount of real or implied risk. Rather than diminishing the thrill of new experiences, the function of risk management policy should recognize the hazards and help develop a plan to manage the risks and assure participants a safe and successful adventure.
Basic functions are:
- Analyze activities to identify potential exposures to loss. The committee must familiarize itself with all council activities to identify what potential for loss exists.
- Evaluate serious or fatal incidents for future prevention. The committee should investigate or review all serious injuries or fatalities that have occurred on council property or in connection with a Scouting activity, and develop recommendations for future prevention.
- Develop a risk management plan. After the committee has identified the exposures that may cause accidents, evaluated serious and fatal accidents, and reviewed injury reports, it should be prepared to plan a strategy that will not only address specific problems, but will be the basis of an overall effort to heighten the awareness of the need for safety and loss prevention.
- Disseminate policies and procedures regarding safety and loss prevention. The committee should be responsible for disseminating policies and procedures relating to loss prevention. This information will give support to training efforts. It will enable council, district, and unit leaders, as well as youth members, to stay current and alert to safety guidelines.
- Participate in council precamp inspections. Since council camps represent significant exposures for accidents, this committee should be actively involved with precamp inspections.
- Environmental issues. Review council operations in relation to any potential environmental issues.
- Workplace safety issues. Consider the role of the council as an employer.
Serve as a consultant on training courses related to health and safety matters. If unable to serve yourself, suggest someone who is knowledgeable on the subject to serve in this capacity. Also suggest areas for health and safety that should be included in training sessions. (For example: CPR training for adult and youth members.)
The district committee is responsible for the administration of Scouting within the geographical area assigned to them by the council. From time to time, they may call upon you for assistance in providing medical care (or first aid) at district activities, such as district Scout shows or camporees. It would be good to inspect the facilities being used for these types of activities in advance. Advise the district chairman or chairmen of the activity of any shortcomings or hazards.
The Guide to Safe Scouting, No. 34416, the Health and Safety Guide, No. 34415, and Tours and Expeditions, No. 33737, give the current health and safety-related guidelines, procedures, and policies for the BSA. The adventure of Scouting activities often equates with a certain amount of real or implied risk. Rather than diminishing the thrill of new experiences, health and safety policies should recognize the hazards and help develop a plan to manage the risks and ensure participants a safe and successful adventure.
A valuable resource in identifying BSA resource literature associated with health and safety issues is District/Council Health and Safety Support Literature, No. 19-400.
Source: BSA Health and Safety Guide #33415B - 2000 Printing