Checks in place for all in­volved

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

Work­ing with chil­dren check, po­lice check, driv­ing his­tory check, oc­cu­pa­tional health and safety com­pli­ance checks – checks and more checks... for any­one new to vol­un­teer­ing the amount of pa­per­work they need to com­plete can ap­pear daunt­ing.

How­ever, this should not mean po­ten­tial vol­un­teers should change their mind or put it in the too-hard bas­ket.

Yes, gone are the days when a vol­un­teer could just roll up to an or­gan­i­sa­tion and lend a hand.

How­ever, these checks have been in­tro­duced for the ben­e­fit and safety of both the vol­un­teer and the peo­ple with whom they work.

No or­gan­i­sa­tion wants their vol­un­teers to be placed at risk and, like­wise, the com­mu­nity does not want to be at risk from po­ten­tially un­suit­able peo­ple.

Think about it... would you want an el­derly mem­ber of our com­mu­nity be­ing driven to a med­i­cal ap­point­ment by some­one with­out a li­cence? Or have some­one with a lengthy crim­i­nal record al­lowed in your home? No? That’s ex­actly why these checks ex­ist. As de­fined in the Safe Work Aus­tralia fact sheet, ‘the gen­eral du­ties of vol­un­teer or­gan­i­sa­tions in re­la­tion to vol­un­teers are well es­tab­lished in Aus­tralian law’.

This means or­gan­i­sa­tions have a duty of care to­wards their vol­un­teers and their com­mu­ni­ties.

Un­der the model Work Health and Safety laws, the pri­mary duty of care for or­gan­i­sa­tions is ‘to en­sure, so far as is rea­son­ably prac­ti­ca­ble, the health and safety of work­ers, in­clud­ing vol­un­teers en­gaged in work for the busi­ness or un­der­tak­ing’.

To do this, or­gan­i­sa­tions are en­cour­aged to pro­vide train­ing and host reg­u­lar meet­ings to up­date their vol­un­teers on the health and safety re­quire­ments of their role to avoid any in­jury, whether phys­i­cal or psy­cho­log­i­cal, and to pro­vide ap­pro­pri­ate safety gear the vol­un­teer might re­quire to suc­cess­fully com­plete their role.

This could be as ba­sic as sup­ply­ing bot­tles of wa­ter and sun­screen for vol­un­teer driv­ers on hot days, or more in-depth, such as pro­vid­ing con­flict train­ing. That’s one check. Then there are the other vi­tal checks all or­gan­i­sa­tions are re­quired to com­plete to en­sure they’re not plac­ing their com­mu­ni­ties at risk.

No or­gan­i­sa­tion wants to swamp their won­der­ful vol­un­teers in pa­per­work, but all do want to en­sure the safety of both their vol­un­teers and their com­mu­ni­ties.

That is why it’s so vi­tal all vol­un­teers com­plete the re­quired checks. Chang­ing lives, strength­en­ing com­mu­ni­ties Julie Pet­tett is Cen­tre for Par­tic­i­pa­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive

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