People—accidents/injury, discrimination. Property—damage, loss, theft. Income—law suits, theft, lost revenue, costs. Goodwill—public perception, consistency with mission.
Volunteer liability—mitigaged by the volunteer protection act and Good Samaritan Act, Organization’s liability—breach of confidentiality, fraud, exploitation, creation of unsafe environment, discrimination, harassment, etc. Volunteer liability—unsafe working conditions, discriminatory practices,
Phase 1: Identify the potential areas of risk Evaluate and rank the top 2 to 5 areas to work with Phase 2: Risk Control: Reduce, Avoid, Transfer or Assume Consider the financing issues including time, money and other resources Communicate the information to those who need to know Phase 3: Monitor your plan, evaluate and make changes to reduce future risks
Note: Forms are no guarantee or even certain protection against litigation. Waiver Forms may include Informed Risk or Liability (example provided in resource packet), Confidentiality form, Acceptable Use Policies, Press Release forms, Acceptable Use Policies (internet), Youth Parent Permission Slips, Criminal Background Release Form, etc. See Volunteer Background Checks Fact Sheet.
Discuss appropriate policies and procedures. In example, mentors should have training regarding confidentiality and appropriate vs. inappropriate behaviors such as hugging, time alone, etc. Even painting lower risks such as painting should discuss ladder safety, good ventilation, etc.
Provide examples as appropriate for your community and participants. Some examples may include: The volunteer leading & teaching a summer camp sessionVolunteers painting a mural at a schoolVolunteers doing home repairs for senior citizensVolunteers serving at a park clean up as a part of a National Day of Service
Additional benefits to youth such as the connections that are made between learning and real life, increased sense of community, etc. As a rule, the greater the degree of control you maintain over the activities of young people, the greater your duty to protect them from harm. This duty encompasses your need to provide a safe environment and safe materials. You must also select the correct tasks, conduct proper training, and designate adequate and appropriate adult supervisory personnel. The Fact Sheet provides a number of other resources for information and tips.
Often individuals are worried about their potential liability. Laws such as the Good Samaritan Act, the Volunteer protection Act of 1997, and individual state laws provide protection to those individuals.
When assessing potential volunteer positions, there are 4 major considerations with risk management being one. However, others apply to other liability issues even if just goodwill.
Risk Assessment- Protecting Your Organization and Volunteers
RISK ASSESSMENT INTRODUCTION & OVERVIEW If you are dialing into the webinar and using your phone for audio; you will need to input the pin that was identified as you logged into the webinar.1
Connect with us on facebook Volunteer Centers of Michigan Michigan Community Service Commission Provides resources to The state’s lead agency on volunteer centers across the volunteerism working to state in their efforts to build a culture of service address key community by providing vision and issues. resources to strength communities through www.mivolunteers.org volunteerism www.mnaonline.org www.michigan.gov/mcsc2
Clear, Consistent Volunteer Management Policies & Procedures Are the first and most important steps in risk reduction.3
What is risk assessment? The identification, assessment and prioritization of risk followed by an action to minimize, monitor or control the effects. To utilize pre-set plans or procedures to control situations that may be potentially harmful to your organization, program, volunteers or clients.4
What’s at Risk? Volunteer liability Areas Organizational Organizational Liability TO Liability Due to Volunteers volunteer activity6
Risk Management Process Establish the context Monitor and Acknowledge update the and Identify program the Risk Implement risk Evaluate and management prioritize the techniques risk7
Principals of Risk Management 1. Establish the context Review the environment in which your organization works. 2. Acknowledge the Risk Specify all risks that you can identify. Goodwill People Income Property8
Next. . . 3. Risk Response—Evaluate & Prioritize Classify the risks in one or more of the following categories The risk must be prevented. The risk can be prevented or controlled. The risk is acceptable. The risk requires insurance to limit exposure9
Finally. . . 4. Control Risks—Implement risk management Create a plan for controlling risks. Avoid the risk situation by not engaging in the activity. Eliminate the risk by modifying the activity. Minimize the risk by modifying the activity. Transfer financial liability through contract or insurance.10
Risk Management Strategies •Use common sense •Involve your volunteers •Provide & implement clear policies and procedures •Be willing to release volunteers who present a risk •Partner with care11
Finally, Implement the Plan Appropriate equipment Changes to the environment Adequate supervision Relevant forms Policies and procedures TRAINED STAFF12
Policies and Procedures Screening to include: application, background checks, interview, reference checks Risk evaluation of project sites and projects Supervision Orientation Training Waiver forms Liability Release/Informed Risk Confidentiality Agreement Picture/Media Release Form Acceptable Use Forms (computer/internet) Others as appropriate for position13
POLL Which of the following risk management policies and procedures does your organization use?14
What’s More Risky? Lower Risk Higher Risk Painting, gardening 1-1 Mentoring/tutoring Event planning and Home visiting assistance Transportation Office/admin. support Survivor/victim Speaker’s bureau assistance Sorting/distributing Meal delivery food, clothing Construction Board membership15
Required background check Vulnerable Populations + Fingerprinting Adult Foster Care Homes & Elderly Homes for the Aged Child Care and Day Care Centers Minors Driver Training Schools and Driver Testing Organizations Educational Institutions , Schools, and Training Disabled Facilities Home Health Agencies Hospices Hospitals Intermediate Care (Rehabilitation) Facilities Nursing Homes17 Psychiatric Facilities
POLL FIRST—Raise your hand-- Does your organization do background checks routinely, for all volunteers? • How are background checks run?18
REVIEW—Important Points1. There are inherent risks in running a volunteer program.2. Volunteer positions do not all have the same level of risk and therefore will have differing risk management strategies associated with them.3. Once the risk factors are identified in a volunteer position, preventive strategies should be incorporated into the position description, screening, orientation, training and supervision of that position.19
Key Questions To Consider. . . What do our volunteers do? (Or what new activities do we want them to do) What could go wrong? How probable is it that it will go wrong? How serious an issue would it be? How can we diminish the probability or protect ourselves? Can we still ask a volunteer to do this?20
Youth Volunteers Many Benefits Engaging Youthin Lifelong Service reported that adults who engaged in volunteering in their youth give more money and volunteer more time than adults who began their philanthropy later in life. (Independentsector.org) Special Considerations Many resources Nonprofit Risk Management Center—”Fact Sheet” http://www.nonprofitrisk.org/tools/workplace- safety/nonprofit/c6/youth.htm21
A Few Examples—Youth Policies Youth Waivers Two-Deep Supervision Knowledge of state workplace laws Under 18 cannot operate power equipment Under 15 have additional limitations— chemical exposure, use of ladders, etc.22
Contact the experts Insurance Agent—check liability coverage Lawyer—review policies, procedures, and forms Identify special issues related to vulnerable populations, use of power tools, youth engagement, etc. Work with the organization’s Human Resources23
YOUR INSURANCE AGENT— ASK ABOUT VOLUNTEER COVERAGE Payment of Medical Expenses in the case of injury Commercial General Liability Insurance Volunteer Accident Policy Workers’ Compensation Policy Defense of Liability Claims against nonprofits Commercial General Liability Volunteers identified as “additional insurds” Directors’ and Offices Liability Automobile Liability Volunteer Liability Policies (purchased with Volunteer Accident Liability)24
Note: There are few overarching legal requirements when a group of people get together to do good work as long as appropriate steps are taken to: Identify Potential Risks Inform individuals involved of those risks Take steps to minimize risk i.e. provide appropriate equipment, tools, and training, conduct appropriate volunteer screening.25
VOLUNTEER LIABILITY The Volunteer Protection Act of 1997 provides immunity for volunteers serving nonprofits or government for harm caused by their acts or omissions if: Acting within the scope of responsibilities Volunteer was appropriately and properly licensed, certified or authorized to act. Harm was not caused by willful, criminal, or reckless misconduct, gross negligence or a conscious, flagrant indifference to the rights or safety of the individual harmed.26
Michigan Laws Provide some protected status to volunteers acting on behalf of governmental agencies. Some examples include: Volunteer disaster worker Public school volunteers Medical Good Samaritan27
SUMMARY—Appropriate Roles A volunteer position must: Meet the needs of the organization. Have an associated risk management strategy that the organization is comfortable with. Require a reasonable amount of training. Allow for adequate supervision and direction28