10 Factors that should be part of Every Shelter’s Risk Management Plan

September 12, 2013

Managing risk is a key factor when operating an animal shelter.  Every director or manager of an animal welfare organization or animal shelter should work on developing and devising a well thought out and highly detailed plan for managing risk factors.  Such a plan is considered a risk management plan and calculates the degree of risk involved in working with animals for the benefit of the public as well as the animals under the organization’s care.

Risk management plans increase safety awareness among staff members and volunteers and lower insurance liability for shelters by addressing multiple risk factors with both people and animals in mind and by incorporating best practices from throughout the animal service industry.

You may direct an animal shelter or simply love animals, but you wish that they are well treated and protected while cared for at public and nonprofit shelters.  These guidelines offer a foundation for developing a risk management plan.

10 Factors for Every Animal Shelter’s Risk Management Plan:

  1. All staff members and volunteers are required to undergo initial training and orientation before working with animals
  2. Protective gear worn while working or interacting with animals
  3. Security procedures outlined and displayed  for kennel areas and their entrances
  4. Feeding procedures for serving animals displayed and reviewed with every staff member and volunteer
  5. Ensure proper management and maintenance of facility, i.e. lighting, water, waste, etc.
  6. Security equipment installation and monitoring to protect the shelter, its animals, staff members, volunteers and visitors; video cameras, fencing, entrance and exit doors, etc.
  7. Emergency evacuations procedures and periodic drills for natural disasters such as fire, flood, or any other natural disaster, even security breaches that place animals, staff members, volunteers or visitors in danger
  8. Mandate immediate reporting of risk factors to immediate supervisory staff, including animal cruelty, safety violations, and security noncompliance.
  9. Develop safety procedures regarding animals, staff members, and others
  10. Discuss, distribute and periodically review all shelter policies and procedures with all staff and volunteers, i.e. staff/ volunteer handbook

A risk management plan can serve as a major component of the daily operations of an animal shelter while providing guiding principles for reducing risk throughout the organization.  By putting such a plan into action, you not only identify risk factors but include policies and procedures for reducing and eliminating them as well.  Overall, a risk management plan can prepare you and your shelter for offering the best and safest service possible.

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