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Volunteers - Health and Safety

Charity Volunteers - Health and Safety

Although health and safety law may not apply for the benefit of charity volunteers in exactly the same way as it does for charity employees, it is good practice to treat volunteers in the same way as employees in terms of health and safety measures taken.

A charity must provide a safe place of work for its employees, and in order to do so, the charity must apply the same standards of safety in respect of volunteers as it does in respect of employees. Charities are required to protect health and safety of the public and in this context this includes their volunteers.

Health and safety risk assessments must take account not only of risk to a charity’s employees but also to others affected by its activities, and this includes its volunteers. Charities have a duty of care to all volunteers in particular to their younger or older volunteers, volunteers with extra support needs or volunteers who are vulnerable in some way.

Charities should also consider and plan for safeguarding of its volunteers, as necessary. Volunteers themselves also have a duty to abide by a charity’s safeguarding measures: vulnerable service users or other beneficiaries of the charity will thereby be protected from acts or omissions of volunteers or others.

Charities must carry out a Covid-19 risk assessment to manage the risk of the spread of coronavirus and ensure the safety of volunteers (and staff) returning to work. See our template Covid-19 Back to Work risk assessment and other templates under "Related Documents" below. 

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