Health & Safety
The health and safety of all GVI participants is paramount. From selecting our projects and partner organizations and the pre-departure support we provide, to the day-to-day care of our participants in the field, our 150+ expert personnel put your health and safety first – and we have an impeccable track record.
We take health and safety very seriously. We run comprehensive risk assessments for each of our activities, in each of our locations, and are prepared for any eventuality, no matter how unlikely. We have over 150 expertly trained staff members who live alongside the local communities in our locations year-round, and only work with leading organizations in their field. This means that we know the areas intimately, and have dedicated, experienced professionals available to you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Together, everyone works towards the success of the projects as well as the enjoyment and fulfillment of all participants.
We keep in regular contact with relevant embassies and foreign offices, ensuring that we’re able to give you the most up-to-date information and travel advice regarding our locations. Field staff send regular information bulletins to HQ, and office staff visit projects regularly, to ensure we’re always in the know with what’s happening on the ground. Furthermore, we have many staff from the field working in the offices, as well as many office staff now based out in various field locations, which ensures our whole team fully understands the ins and outs of our programs.
In addition, all GVI participants receive the below:
- Pre-departure advice documents concerning travel and safety issues
- Airport pick-up and local orientation
- Accommodation arrangements
- Support and knowledge from GVI’s field coordinators
- A 24 hour emergency phone line.
At GVI, we have built our award winning reputation around 3 principal focuses:
- Our passionate, fun, and well trained staff
- Our critically needed and fun projects
- Our high health and safety standards
PLEASE NOTE: GVI programs are not holidays! It must be understood that all programs by definition are going to have a risk factor, whether you are diving on a coral reef or spending an extended time in the Costa Rican rainforest. All future participants should be aware of the risks involved and make an informed decision on participation. GVI sometimes operates in remote conditions and in some cases deals hands-on with wildlife. GVI endeavors offer you the safest way to visit new places and experience amazing opportunities.
Here are just a few of the protocols we have in place:
- All staff working with minors are background checked with professional references and where possible, criminal record checks.
- All our in-country staff receive off-site safety management training and participant management training.
- All our staff are first aid trained and qualified.
- Training sessions take place upon induction and are maintained via 6 monthly refresher sessions.
- Each project has a staff team, supervised by a project manager, who is overseen by a senior in-country manager. This allows high levels of experience and continuity in safety standards to be incorporated throughout our projects. We have a minimum of one staff member per eight participants, however typically our staff to participant ratio is much higher.
- All health and safety materials are signed off by our senior field managers in-country, and reviewed and confirmed by our Senior Field Team, who have high levels of multi-country experience.
- In the unlikely event that an incident does occur, we have a strong support system to help manage incidents, including senior field managers, the Senior Field Team, and our Director of Operations and Director of Business Operations, both of whom are extremely experienced in field operatives with high levels of training and knowledge- all are on hand as required!
- All participants are given emergency contact numbers and addresses prior to departure.
- Upon arrival all participants receive an initial health and safety briefing, plus a communication card, with the relevant numbers, contacts and addresses for our on-site and off-site staff, including the 24-hour emergency number, which we ask them to keep on their person at all times.
- We ensure participants always have access to staff, make time for individual concerns and questions and ensure that all receive training and guidance as they progress through our projects.
- All of our activities and locations are risk-assessed, using an internationally recognized system of matrix. We have Emergency Action Plans in place for all major foreseeable incidents written by trained experts and reviewed periodically, with numbers and contacts for local emergency services.
- Emergency Action Plans are tested via communication checks, drills and occasionally, real life incidents, these checks and drills are logged and evaluated.
- We hold night-time debriefings to discuss how the day went, and the plan for tomorrow and the week ahead, allowing time for jokes, funny occurrences, plus health and safety considerations and questions or even at times, enforcement!
- We conduct regular checks on our first aid kits, vehicles, fire extinguishers and record these checks.
- Overall, we have 14 channels of communication for participants to approach our staff either on or off-site.
- We follow UK Foreign Commonwealth Office travel advice and monitor other major government’s advice as well, including the USA and Australia.
- GVI has a Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy, two formally trained Child Protection Officers, and works closely with ‘Child Safe’, a leading UK advisor on child safety.
- If our guidelines, and in cases, rules, are not followed, we may offer informal reminders, verbal or written warnings, or dismiss someone from the project if we feel they are endangering themselves, others, or the reputation or success of the project.
- GVI has a strict “zero tolerance” policy for alcohol, drug-use or breaking local laws.
To request more information on GVI’s health and safety polices, or to ask for more information on why GVI projects and courses offer unparalleled support, services and in-the-field safety, please contact us.