A volunteer is only a volunteer worker when:

  • the volunteer is doing work for a business who knows that they are doing work for them
  • the volunteer does the work on an on-going and regular basis
  • the work is an integral part of the business
  • the worker is not participating in fundraising
  • the worker is not assisting with sports or recreation for an educational institute, sports club or recreation club
  • the worker is not assisting with activities for an educational institution outside its premises
  • the worker is not providing care for another person in the volunteer’s home e.g. foster care.

A volunteer must meet all the above conditions to be regarded as a volunteer worker.

If a volunteer is working for a business on an on-going and regular basis, but the volunteer’s work is not integral to the work of the business or vice versa, they would not meet the definition of a volunteer worker. For example, volunteer marshals for an annual race, while integral to the event, would not be volunteer worker as they are not doing work for the organisation on a regular and on-going basis.

A volunteer is a person who is acting on a voluntary basis, whether or not the person receives out-of-pocket expenses.

Considerations for Volunteers and Council (PCBU)

Council must take steps to protect its workers and others it interacts with. The steps taken should consider the risks that the business activity creates and the level of influence and control that it has over those risks.

Council will use good practices that will improve the health and safety systems for all people, including volunteers, who interact with their business.

Council will:

  • in conjunction with the community groups/organisations, identify and monitor health and safety risks to workers, volunteers and others at Council's workplace
  • co-ordinate with other organisations and people involved in the work on managing health and safety risks.

A volunteer has health and safety responsibilities to themselves, their organisations, other workers, and other people they interact with at the workplace. Volunteers cannot be prosecuted if they follow all reasonable policies and instructions provided by the PCBU relating to health and safety in the workplace.

Volunteer Worker's Responsibility for Health and Safety

Volunteer workers have the same duties as other workers and must:

  • take reasonable care of their own health and safety
  • take reasonable care that what they do or don’t do doesn’t adversely affect the health and safety of others
  • cooperate with any reasonable policies or procedures the Council has in place on how to work in a safe and healthy way
  • comply with any reasonable instruction given by Selwyn District so that they can comply with Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) 2015, and the regulations.