Review these revised safety checklists before any service project

Despite the pandemic, Scouts continue to serve their communities. While we take a face covering with us when we head out now, it’s important to remind ourselves what else we need to do to keep safely serving.

Take a look at these two updated risk assessment tools: the SAFE service project planning checklist and the SAFE project tool use guidelines; you can also find both in the appendix to the Guide to Safe Scouting. SAFE is an acronym for safety points Scouts and Scouters should abide by before any activity, including service projects. They are:

  • Supervision
  • Assessment
  • Fitness and Skill
  • Equipment and Environment

Are qualified and trustworthy adults monitoring the Scouts? Have leaders reviewed the risks? Are Scouts using tools they can physically and maturely handle? Are the tools safe to use? These are just a few questions to ask before any project. You can find more, along with age-appropriate guidelines for tool use, in the updated risk assessment documents.

More resources

Let’s say at a service project involving clearing a lot of brush, an adult brings a heavy-duty log splitter to help cut up the wood, making it more manageable to carry, plus create firewood the Scouts could use on a future campout. With this big piece of machinery, a couple of 15-year-old Scouts want to use it. Should they?

You can find the answer (which is no) in the BSA’s Incident Reviews. These are pages detailing actual incidents, from gaga ball to zip lining, where injuries and deaths have happened.

What if a Scout wanted to use a chainsaw to cut the wood? Again, the answer is no, but you can find more safety tips, like using chainsaws, generators and ladders, on the BSA’s Safety Moments page.

These resources are here to help you and your Scouts commit to making safe decisions. And while the pandemic continues, more resources on how to continue Scouting can be found here.

About Michael Freeman 244 Articles
Michael Freeman, an Eagle Scout, is an associate editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines.