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New Safety Rules Endorsed By PBHA Board

By Jason T. Benowitz

The Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA) board of trustees passed new safety regulations yesterday that will guide the group's programs.

The measures, which will go into effect April 7, "will affect every person who works in a PBHA program or is served by one," said Roy E. Bahat '98, president of PBHA.

Some provisions of the safety code include required screening for volunteers who will work with children, guidelines on how volunteers can protect themselves while working in potentially dangerous environments and procedures for medical emergencies.

"This is the first time that a service organization on campus made its own safety policy," Bahat said. "These policies demonstrate that students with advice from experts can run their programs safely and effectively."

Former PBHA program director and current officer Marc H. Katz '98 compiled, researched and wrote much of the policy.

"It is a direct consequence of the deep respect for the safety of all of PBHA's constituencies: their volunteers and clients," Katz said.

He said the policy was "the most important thing that's happened to our program in recent memory."

PBHA Secretary Amanda Spector '98 also said the new safety rules were significant.

"Never before had we compiled all our safety rules and regulations in a systematic way," she said.

The entire project required nearly three months of "intensive work," Spector said.

The group produced "roughly a dozen drafts or so before we got it right," Katz said.

Trustees praised the efforts of PBHA students.

"The students who worked on it deserve a tremendous amount of credit for what they accomplished," said G. Stewart Barns, a member of the board. "They took the initiative to solicit good advice from lawyers and the insurance office."

The result was "a model safety policy," Barns said. "It is comprehensive, educational in terms of the staff and protects the safety of the clients."

Judith H. Kidd, assistant dean of public service, said the regulations were the result of a joint effort by PBHA, the insurance office and her office.

"During these past couple of weeks everybody's been involved," she said. "I've seen various drafts all along."

Annemarie Thomas, the University's director of insurance, confirmed that her office approved a draft of the regulations, but declined to comment further.

"We were involved," she said. "We made sure everything was O.K."

Katz said that Thomas' input "was incredibly intelligent and insightful."

Bahat said the motivation to develop a safety policy came from PBHA leadership.

"It was student-led and student-initiated and wasn't imposed on us," he said.

But PBHA officers said they were grateful for assistance from the University.

"They were a great help in putting it together," Spector said. "Although the safety policy was student-initiated, we never thought we could do it without professional advice and support.

"It was student-led and student-initiated and wasn't imposed on us," he said.

But PBHA officers said they were grateful for assistance from the University.

"They were a great help in putting it together," Spector said. "Although the safety policy was student-initiated, we never thought we could do it without professional advice and support.

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