Cheryl Schiller
Occupational and Environmental Health Consultant,
Bert Schiller & Associates, Inc.
Assistant to the Board Secretary,
Workplace Health Without Borders-US

Promoting Health and Safety Awareness Among Volunteer Workers at Disaster Recovery Sites

Volunteer workers, including many youth volunteers, provide an essential service in rebuilding communities affected by natural, man-made, or economic disasters. However, their work in disaster recovery cleanup, site rehabilitation, and construction activities can put them at risk for sustaining injuries or acquiring illnesses associated with these tasks. Most of these volunteers are recruited through community-based non-profits who, though responsible for the health and safety of their work teams, have limited technical assistance and resources to devote to developing necessary training programs.

Cheryl’s project aims to develop instructional tools to promote worksite health and safety awareness for volunteers working in these environments by taking concepts from industry standards and customizing them for non-professional volunteers. The training tools that will be created are a Job-Site Analysis Checklist to help job coordinators identify hazards and risks before the commencement of work, a Volunteer Training Tool to instruct volunteers on how to recognize and protect themselves from workplace hazards, and a Job-Site Awareness Tool to serve as a type of “Pocket Job Hazard Field Analysis Guide” to be given to each volunteer or team leader.