Under WHS law a volunteer is a person who works for an organisation without payment or financial reward (they may receive out of pocket expenses). This means that your organisation must treat its volunteers as it does to its paid workers.
you do need to do all that is reasonable to ensure everyone's health and safety.
Officers include senior managers and individuals that make, or participate in making, decisions that affect the whole or a substantial part of your organisation, they may be paid or volunteer workersOfficers have an Obligation to report any dangerous incident and/or serious injury or illness to the regulator and to secure the scene for investigation
This immunity for volunteer officers is designed to ensure that voluntary participation at the officer level is not discouraged.
Walk around your workplace and look for hazardsMost likely to be trip an fall Manual handlingKitchen, electrical, chemical and storage relatedTalk with your workforce and volunteers about safe work practices and encourage their feedback and suggestionsRemember you have an obligation to follow reasonable instructions and polices and not to create an unsafe environment for othersInclude WH&S in induction and performance reviews
Katrina North "Workplace health and safety"
South East Queensland Small Museums Conference 20 October 2012Information in this presentation is from the safework Australia website and ‘The Essential Guide toWork Health and Safety for Organisations that Engage Volunteers’.
WH&S – Model Laws New work health and safety laws commenced in NSW, Queensland, the ACT, NT and the Commonwealth on 1 January 2012 This means that persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU/organisations) and workers, including volunteers, in these jurisdictions are protected by same WHS laws.
WH&S – Model Laws Who is a Volunteer? Volunteers = workers Workers and volunteers have the same duties under the Act A volunteer may also be an officer
WH&S – What changed? Positive obligation Reasonably practicable
What does that mean? Identifying hazards, assessing and controlling risk; Providing the right equipment and education; Talking and consulting with your workers and volunteers about safety matters that affect them; Acting on ‘near misses’ and adjusting procedures so they don’t happen again; and Reviewing your control measures – are they still the right ones, are they working?
WH&S – What changed? Requirement for workers, including volunteers, to: Take reasonable care of own health and safety at work and to ensure others are not put at risk or adversely affected by their actions; Comply with instructions so far as they are reasonable able; and Cooperate with any reasonable policy and/or procedure of the in relation to workplace health and safety
Don’t Panic! If your organisation is run by volunteers, this will be taken into account in determining what is reasonably practicable for the organisation to do in any given circumstance.
WH&S – What changed? The definition of an Officer was widened and made more explicit Officers have a duty of due diligence Officers have an obligation to report
Officer’s Obligations Due Diligence - must take reasonable steps to: Continuously learn about and keep up to date with WH&S matters Understand the nature of the work the organisation does and stay aware of the risks workers and volunteers may face Have appropriate resources and processes to eliminate or minimise risks to health and safety Have processes in place for communicating, considering and responding to information about WH&S issues Ensure the organisation has, and implements, processes for complying with any duties and requirements under WHS law.
Officer’s Obligations A volunteer officer cannot be prosecuted for failing to comply with their officer duties under the WHS Act. A volunteer officer can be prosecuted in their capacity as a worker if they do not take reasonable care as a worker. Officers who are not volunteers can be prosecuted for failing to comply with due diligence duties under the WHS Act.
What does this all mean? Have a plan Walk Talk Follow instructions Keep a central record