Volunteers need looking after too
Do you rely on the help of kind-hearted volunteers? Or do you volunteer your own time to another company or organisation? The recent case below raises some important issues that are worth considering.
In December 2018 a social club in Staffordshire was prosecuted and fined after a volunteer fell and suffered life-changing injuries whilst stowing Christmas decorations in a loft space in November 2015.
Cannock Chase Council’s health and safety inspector found the loft ladder being used was badly maintained. The social club had not followed its own risk assessments and did not provide their volunteers with information and training on safe working at height. No one had been tasked with responsibility for safety and health.
It is important to remember that as an employer you have responsibility for the health and safety of not only your employees, but also those working on a volunteer basis. Although volunteers are not directly employed by you their safety should still be a high priority, and as highlighted in the above case the HSE will still apportion responsibility.
The HSE emphasises that health and safety law should not be a barrier to volunteering activities, but taking a sensible, proportionate approach is the best way forward.
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