In these unprecedented and uncertain times, greater reliance on volunteers may be needed to help manage the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. As with employees, you have ‘duty of care’ to volunteers, which needs to be considered carefully.
volunteers in the public sector

As with employees, you have ‘duty of care’ to volunteers, which needs to be considered carefully. This duty may include providing the necessary training, supervision and provision of any personal protective equipment to assist and help them in carrying out their duties in a safe and effective manner.

There are some good practices and guidelines which you may wish to follow to ensure volunteers are provided with a safe working environment and you comply with the Health & Safety legislation. These include:-

  • Review and make volunteers aware of your Health & Safety policy
  • Risk Assessments are to be carried out or updated to include any potential ‘new’ or ‘increased’ risks
  • Induction – make sure volunteers receive relevant instruction regarding the management of risks attaching to the function they are performing.
  • Make volunteers aware of any potential substances hazardous to health (COSHH) that they may encounter
  • Provide the necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the role they are carrying out and the risks it presents. Where possible check that the PPE is being worn
  • Provide volunteers with a ”go to” point to avoid decisions being made in isolation

Ensuring that you have adequate insurance in place for the work and activities that are being carried out is also important. Liability insurance policies will generally extend the description of ‘employees’ to include volunteers, however, it would be prudent to make your insurance broker aware of any new or increased usage of volunteers within the organisation during this time, and the roles and responsibilities they are being tasked with. This may be deemed a material fact by insurers and so would need disclosing.

Would you like to talk?

For more information please contact your Gallagher representative.

  • Gallagher Public Sector Team