Scouts and Other Volunteers Hit by OHS Laws

by on 16 January, 2012

Ken_phillips Ken Phillips discusses the damaging affect of new national OHS laws on volunteers:

In a dramatic demonstration of the bad design of the new national OHS laws, the NSW Scout Association has issued a memo to all its volunteer leaders and committee members. The memo is here.
 
In part, it says:
 
Section Leaders are required to perform the following duties

Promptly rectify or notify safety issues around the Scout Hall
Conduct risk assessments on proposed games and activities and ensure that the can be done with a reasonable expectation of safe participation.
Provide clear and concise instructions to Youth Members on safety issues.
Enforce safety requirements and the use of personal protection equipment where required.
Follow the policies and procedures of the Association
If you do not follow directives, policies and procedures, you may be fined.
 In effect, volunteers are now expected to have the same OHS expertise and resources as a senior manager in BHP. This has never been required before. Volunteers now face huge risks.
 
What the Scout memo doesn’t say is that prosecutions are conducted under criminal law, that volunteers would be denied the right to silence and could be held responsible even if they didn’t have control of the situation.
 
Here’s our most recent update on what’s happening with the laws.

The Gillard government is insisting that these laws go fully national.

UPDATE: Link fixed.

Ken Phillips is the Executive Director of the Independent Contractors Association.

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