The duties towards volunteers, employees and third parties are very similar. While obeying the relevant laws is important, trustees have a wider obligation to protect their organisation and anyone who works inside it, as well as anyone who has contact with it.
Do we need to think about health and safety regulations?
The simple answer is yes. All charities and businesses fall under the scope of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and it applies to everyone who is present in the organisation, including paid employees, unpaid workers and volunteers. In fact, charities can be legally liable for injury or damage caused by employees or volunteers to others while working on behalf of the organisation.
What can you do to avoid problems?
Charities and not-for-profit organisations have a duty to use risk assessments to identify, assess and manage risk. When done correctly, these can help avoid many problems, for example, some of the typical duties include:
- Minimising and managing the risk of accidents resulting from slips and trips in premises, e.g. customers and staff in charity shops
- reducing the risk of injury from products supplied
- managing the many risks associated with organised events, e.g. fundraising activities.
Broadly, the duty towards third parties, such as visitors, customers and people attending organised events, are similar to those relating to employees and volunteers. Make sure you have the correct policies and risk assessment to correctly manage these risks.
You can find more information about your Health and Safety duties by reading our Knowledge Library factsheet, Understanding Health and Safety.
Keeping your organisation protected if something goes wrong
You’re legally required to have Employers’ Liability Insurance if you have paid employees, but even if you only have volunteers, Employers’ Liability insurance is recommended as it protects your organisation if an unpaid worker or volunteer suffered an accident and sued for damages (if found negligent and up to the limit of liability).
The same goes for Public and Products Liability insurance. It’s not compulsory for charities but is highly recommended as it will protect your organisation against negligence up to the limit of liability.
You can learn more by reading our Knowledge Library factsheet, Do you need employers’ liability insurance for your volunteers?
Need some free risk management guidance?
Here’s how to access a wide range of services through Aviva Risk Management Solutions, completely free of charge:
Get in touch for advice by calling 0345 366 6666 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Specialist Partner Network
We can offer Aviva customers risk management products and services at discounted prices through our trusted partners. With areas of expertise ranging from escape of water to health and safety, all our partners are well established with a pedigree in risk management.
And, of course, you can find more information on how to reduce the risks to your charity in our Knowledge Library.