Keeping Your Volunteers Safe

Churches often have a multitude of volunteers to perform various tasks around the church, including maintenance jobs, food preparation, daycare/nursery jobs, and transportation needs. While having volunteers on hand is great, it is important to keep them safe while at your facility to prevent any unfortunate or harmful injuries.

To minimize risks that volunteers might face, consider following these helpful tips:

  • Make sure all work areas are clean of debris and other slippery materials to prevent slips or falls. Additionally, all work areas should be properly lighted.
  • If the use of a ladder is necessary, ensure the right ladder is selected for the job and training is completed. Review this Ladder Safety checklist for additional information.
  • Volunteers under the age of 16 should not be allowed to operate dangerous machinery or equipment such as riding lawn mowers and chain saws.
  • Provide the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary for the task at hand. For example, provide hand, eye or ear protection.
  • Equipment and tools should be in good condition, properly maintained and provided with the necessary safety guards.
  • Make sure volunteers are adequately trained and qualified to perform the job safely. Leave the complex jobs such as roofing, plumbing and electrical work to certified contractors.
  • To prevent back injuries, train volunteers how to lift properly. If the object is too heavy, instruct them to get assistance or use mechanical devices such as a two wheel cart.

  • If working in the kitchen, make sure knife safety and burn prevention training is conducted.
  • Consider posting signs in work areas that promote safety for your volunteers.
  • If working in hot/humid weather conditions, have a heat illness prevention program in place.

If volunteers are driving church owned vehicles or their own personal vehicle for church business, here are additional safeguards to follow:

  • Educate your volunteer drivers on the dangers associated with distracted driving, particularly the use of cell phones. Prohibit the use of smart/cell phones and texting while driving.
  • Drivers should become familiar with their route before they leave for the trip, and entering destination information into a navigation system should be completed before departing. En route, if assistance with maps, directions or the navigation systems is needed, designate another person in the vehicle to assist.
  • Seat belts must be worn at all times while in the vehicle.
  • Inspect the vehicle prior to use. It should be in good condition and mechanically sound, and all safety features for the vehicle should be in place and in proper working condition.
  • Consider following our Transportation Safety checklist before sending vehicles out on trips.

Having a volunteer staff is a wonderful resource. When utilizing this group, measures should be taken to always keep them safe.

For more volunteer safety resources and tips, log on and visit our Safety Resources page today.

© 2020 The GuideOne Center for Risk Management, LLC. All rights reserved.This material is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to give specific legal or risk management advice, nor are any suggested checklists or action plans intended to include or address all possible risk management exposures or solutions. You are encouraged to retain your own expert consultants and legal advisors in order to develop a risk management plan specific to your own activities.