Volunteer Safety

Keeping your volunteers safe

It is important to Volunteer Wellington that all volunteers are kept safe and well in their voluntary roles, and that both the volunteers and the organisations they volunteer for take all practicable steps to ensure this...

The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) states that an organisation that is a 'Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking' (PCBU) has a primary duty of care to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of their workers (including volunteer workers) and other people on site (such as visitors or customers, including casual or one-off volunteers). Examples of a PCBU are a local council, school or a not-for-profit organisation that employs staff. The Act makes workplace health and safety everyone’s responsibility. ‘Reasonably practicable’ means actively identifying any risk or hazard, assessing the likelihood of that occurring and the degree of harm that might result, and then eliminating or minimising the risk or hazard.

The primary duty of care includes, but is not limited to providing:

  • a work environment that is free from risks to health and safety
  • safe equipment, structures and systems of work
  • provision for safe use, handling, and store of plant, substances, and structures
    adequate and accessible welfare facilities
  • the necessary information, training, instruction, or supervision to do the work safely
    monitoring of worker health and workplace exposures to assess effectiveness of controls

The same level of protection must be given to volunteer workers as paid workers.

It is vital that all of Volunteer Wellington’s member organisations understand their responsibilities, and we encourage you all to ensure you are up to date with your Health and Safety policies, procedures and reporting.

Please read the Work Safe new Zealand fact sheet ‘Information For PCBUs That Engage Volunteers’ here: https://worksafe.govt.nz/dmsdocument/869-information-for-pcbus-that-engage-volunteers