Having a health and safety policy states your organisation’s commitment to a safe workplace and outlines how the organisation approaches volunteer health and safety. This includes having appropriate levels of insurance that protects both your employees and volunteers in case of a work-related injury, illness or death.
This links to National Standards for Involving Volunteers No.4 – Work and the workplace.
Managing health and safety issues in your organisation is similar to managing any other risk. You can base your policy around the stages in the cycle of basic risk management:
- Identifying the risks and who is at risk
- Assessing and prioritising the impact of each risk
- Deciding what you are going to do to control or manage each risk.
Your emergency procedures will need to include things like:
- Location of fire escape, fire exits and meeting points
- Location and use of fire equipment
- Location of first aid supplies
- Specific procedures dealing with injuries – for example, wearing gloves if an individual is bleeding
- Emergency and evacuation plans
- Who to contact
- Procedures for reporting a health and safety issue.
These should be clearly defined during the orientation process.
Volunteers and the law
In Victoria, occupational health and safety (OHS) is regulated under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007.