Safety

The safety of our interns is of utmost importance to the SCA.  While SCA maintains a remarkable safety record, we do not assume it can remain so without exceptional diligence and a high level of commitment from you as the intern’s supervisor.

SCA is proud of our safety record and risk management program.  Based on over 50 years of experience, SCA has developed standards and guidelines that promote a strong safety culture.  SCA continually evaluates safety through hazard assessments and incident analysis, and integrates the lessons learned into our protocols, procedures, and training.   In addition to being time and event-tested, SCA’s risk management protocols and procedures are thoroughly reviewed (and revised, as necessary) annually by SCA’s Risk Management Team.

Emergency Communication with SCA

We rely on you to communicate with us in the event of an emergency, disciplinary action, or any other situation that impacts the physical or emotional safety of the intern.  SCA has a wealth of experience and resources available to you in managing challenging situations.  We expect to work with you in managing any major accidents, illnesses, injuries, events involving law enforcement, or interactions with the media.  If you are considering disciplining or dismissing someone, we need to be informed early in the process.

In the event of a medical emergency or other serious incident, 24-hour assistance is available at SCA’s Emergency Hotline: 1-800-YO-SOGGY (800-967-6449). This line has been set-up to support our members, staff, and partners. During business hours, this line rings directly in to SCA Headquarters at Charlestown, NH. Outside of regular business hours, including weekends and holidays, this number will connect you with an on-call staff member. This line should be used for urgent communications only.

Non-Emergency Communication with SCA

For general notification of minor incidents, please call your Coordinator, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.  If you are unable to reach your Coordinator, the Intern Hotline is available at 888-SCA-WORK, press 1 and then x1498.  A few examples of minor incidents include: an embedded tick, early departure of an intern, unprofessional conduct, or a non-injury vehicle incident.  Any information provided on the health and well-being of our interns is appreciated.

Worker’s Compensation Coverage and Claims

Your agreement with SCA describes who is responsible for providing Worker’s Compensation coverage to interns. Since the partner makes decisions about how to minimize risk, determines the conditions under which interns perform their service, and provides training and supervision, it is best for the agency to offer the coverage. Doing so will improve the overall experience for the intern as well as provide maximum protection for all parties. However, we recognize that this coverage imposes a financial burden and if your organization is unable to provide it, SCA can do so for $50 per month.

For work related injuries or accidents, where SCA is providing the Worker’s Compensation coverage, SCA must be notified with 48 hours of the incident in order to file a claim. Follow the instructions under Emergency Communications to SCA to report an incident.

SCA will send an insurance form to you or the intern after the incident is reported. Accidents that occur while the intern is on-duty are covered by Worker’s Compensation. If the partner is providing coverage, follow the agency procedures to process a claim.  If you have questions about Worker’s Compensation coverage, contact your Coordinator.

Job Hazards

There is inherent risk in what we all do, but if we anticipate and prepare to manage this risk, we can prevent many incidents.  We rely on your experience and expertise to evaluate and communicate risk at the worksite and in the local environment.  SCA will work with you to complete formal job hazard assessments for each position.  This analysis will assure we are educating each other regarding potential risks as well as necessary preparation and training.

Training and Supervision

As an intern’s supervisor, you have the opportunity to prioritize a culture of safety through the training and supervision you provide. In our experience, training and supervision are key to a successful internship experience.  Most activities (traveling, working, hiking, swimming, etc.) have some inherent risk.  Before the intern arrives, please assess the intern’s duties and activities for risk management concerns.  Incorporate your expectations for managing these risks into your training plan. 

Interns should receive the training they need to complete their assignments while managing risk appropriately. Any training should meet your agency’s highest standard. 

Attention should be given to interns utilizing mechanized equipment.  The risk potential significantly increases when using equipment such as brush saws, chainsaws, chippers, and power tools.

When it comes to assessing hazards and ensuring safety, interns should be instructed to make the conservative decision at all times, especially when operating mechanized equipment

Emergency Response Plan

SCA encourages partners to review the site’s Emergency Response Plan with intern(s), particularly in regard to weather emergencies. Below is a link to the SCA Internship Handbook that provides a comprehensive overview of SCA’s emergency procedures. SCA recommends that interns complete an Emergency Action Plan (located in the appendix) upon arrival at the site and to keep copies of the plan in several locations for easy reference.  http://jointhesca.org/group/conservation-interns/page/intern-handbook

Vehicles

Vehicle incidents represent the highest opportunity for personal, property, and organizational loss to both SCA and our partners.  Not surprisingly, vehicle-related accidents are one of the most common types of incidents in SCA’s internship program, on or off work hours.  Interns who are driving a motorized vehicle as part of their internship should receive the same or similar training as would full-time employees.  Specific recommended topics include the use of seat belts, following speed limits, as well as responding to local road and weather conditions.  

Make no assumptions about an intern’s abilities or vehicle experience.  Most of us drive small vehicles and are not experienced in handling 15 passenger vans, large pickups, four-wheel drive vehicles, or trailers.  For those interns operating vehicles off paved roads, special training may also be required.  Consider whether your intern needs special training for any of the following road conditions: dirt, gravel, sand, mud, stream crossings, soft shoulders, or narrow or steep roads.  Be sure to train interns on other hazards specific to your area, including wildlife or unusual weather conditions.

Off-Duty Safety

We have found that many incidents occur while interns are exploring the area during their free time.  While we understand they are responsible for themselves during their off-time, we encourage you to educate your intern(s) about the hazards of your area and recommend mitigation strategies.  Encourage the “safety culture” to exist not only at work but during their entire SCA internship.