Keeping people safe

By Heather Miles

Try this quick quiz – answers are at the bottom of the page!

  1. How many injuries has APS had in the last 5 years – across all district groups?
  2. What are the main risks in our activities?
  3. Do you know what to do if there is an injury or safety incident?
  4. Who is responsible for safety in APS?


Many of us will have heard about encountered Health and Safety (H&S) procedures in our work lives – all aimed at keeping people safe. 
We recently reviewed our H&S policies and procedures in response to insurer requests and we had gaps. As a fully volunteer organisation, APS NSW is not actually covered under the Work Health and Safety legislation. However, we do have a duty of care for ourselves and those on our activities. According to SafeWork NSW, a duty of care requires the same kinds of policies and procedures as if we were covered by the legislation. 
So, we are upping the ante on H&S. The board and district groups have been working together to develop the approach in a commonsense way. This applies even if we meet in a facility owned by a council or other organisation. 

Who this applies to

Whether you are a visitor, member, a volunteer team member or activity leader, a district group leader or the board, you have a responsibility to be safe and ensure the people around you are safe. This means assessing risks before activities, doing pre-activity talks to participants, following the right procedures (like not how you manage heavy objects and staying alert), reporting incidents, being adequately trained for volunteer activities, knowing emergency procedures and knowing where the first aid kit is. 
More info on responsibilities is here (https://www.austplants.com.au/H-and-S-responsibilities) but can be summarised  as:

Guides for different activities

We’ve prepared some guides (draft) to help you and the leader of the activity identify and mitigate the risks and keep ourselves all safe. There are four guides (https://www.austplants.com.au/Guides-to-keep-us-all-safe): 
  • Bushwalking
  • Visiting a garden
  • Holding a meeting
  • Propagating or running a nursery


What’s next

We’ve asked District Groups for feedback on the policies and procedures and will adjust as we go.

We are also working on some simple training, ideally online, or delivered at District Group meetings – stay tuned. 

Check out more info here

All the info you need and the forms are here: https://www.austplants.com.au/Health-and-safety/. If you have any comments or feedback, please let us know (hmiles1672@gmail.com). 
Remember, it’s common sense: 

Answers to quiz

  1. 8 injuries – 5 falls (one very serious), 1 person hit in the head, a faint, and a strained shoulder and a few insect bites
  2. Slips trips and falls, manual handling, insect bites
  3. Take care of the person, and report the incident – see here for procedures and forms (https://www.austplants.com.au/Health-and-safety/)
  4. Everyone!