There is a great deal that safety professionals can do to positively impact the world; they do it every day in their companies and organizations. However, there are a large number of organizations, large and small, that serve their local communities that could benefit from what a safety professional has to offer. Most, if not all, non-profits and community service organizations have a need for some type of safety and health assistance. Those needs however, are not always apparent to them nor can they often afford to purchase a consultant's services.
Many safety professionals take their knowledge, skills and abilities for granted. They work every day with the broad spectrum of safety-related information, they promote safety in their organizations or influence other's organizations, and they attend meetings and conferences with other safety professionals. A great number of safety professionals don't know how valuable their knowledge is in greater society; it's simply what they do.
Within greater society and specifically the non-profit arena, what safety professionals have to offer is invaluable. Most people have some idea of safety, "how to be safe," or what exposures and controls are, through a variety of sources. It could be their workplace training programs, some experience that they have had or the media. While some of this knowledge is good, it tends to be narrow in focus, limited or in some cases wrong. Many times the information that people pick up about safety, especially from the media, is wrong. As a safety professional, you are in a unique position to bring a broader view to the safety and health issues that organizations face. In addition to providing accurate information, a safety professional can provide perspective. For instance, many people hear asbestos and immediately have a visceral reaction, acting out of fear brought on by the media and legal advertisements. But as a safety professional, we have the opportunity to stand back and analyze the exposure and communicate that information in a meaningful manner. If needed, we can formulate a plan that minimizes or eliminates the hazard without undue burden on the organization.
The knowledge and experience that you as a safety professional can bring to a non-profit organization is limited only by your imagination. We have the ability to educate, inspire, reduce exposures, mitigate losses, prevent injuries and losses, and bring reality to a situation.
While there are many organizations that could use the assistance of a safety professional, we will focus on the non-profit sector, as that is where volunteering is most highly leveraged. There is a broad range of organizations that might benefit from what you have to offer. We'll explore that from a broad perspective as well as more specific examples.
The mission of many non-profit organizations is to assist those in need or serve a population of people or community in some way. Their resources and revenue streams are generally directed toward bringing services or programming to people in some way.