There are new changes to the Work Health & Safety Legislation as part of the harmonisation of workplace health and safety practices in Australia. Venues who utilise volunteers need to be aware of whether they fall into the category of a volunteer or a worker and what that means for them and the venue itself.
While there exists many grey areas, the information at hand suggests that Directors and Committee Members of not-for-profit associations are running a business which results in them having health and safety duties. These persons will therefore be deemed as a worker, and not a volunteer.
Therefore it appears, Directors and Committee Members of not-for-profit associations can be prosecuted as a worker, up to the maximum penalty of $300,000 or 5 years imprisonment for a Category 1 offense.
Where there is any uncertainty, best practice would suggest that not-for-profit associations take the following steps to minimise any risk:
- Corporate Governance Training for all Directors and Committee Members
- Ensure you have a comprehensive risk management strategy in place
- Ensure all volunteers undertake an induction that addresses their work health and safety duties
- Ensure your business has a Work Health and Safety Advisor with a Cert IV in OHS
Contact Occupational Health and Safety Training Consultant, Danny Hickey on 0458 464 444 for more information.