Work Health & Safety

Guide to Work Health & Safety for Organisations that Engage Volunteers

This fact sheet provides information on the coverage of the model Work Health Safety Act to volunteer organisations. In this fact sheet, the term ‘volunteer organisation’ is used to describe all volunteer organisations, including not for profit and community service organisations, whether or not they are covered by the model work health and safety laws.

Volunteer organisations and the Model WHS Act

Safety and health in Western Australian workplaces is regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 (the OSH Act) and the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 (the OSH regulations) supported by codes of practice and guidance notes.

The Not-for-profit law website is another excellent resource for volunteer-involving organisations seeking information regarding OHS issues.

Simple measures to control volunteer risks can include:

  • Appropriate background checks
  • Induct volunteers (physical, role, policies & procedures)
  • Ongoing supervision and training
  • Personal protective equipment and adequate provisions
  • Volunteer pairing or employee / volunteer ratios
  • Regular feedback sessions
  • Involve volunteers in risk management assessments

It is important that your organisation undertakes a thorough and systematic screening and induction of volunteers. Certain background screening checks are required by law (under legislation or contract) and others are discretionary.  You can find more information here.