Many public institutions involve volunteers directly and indirectly
in the delivery of their programs and services. Many University
departments and many activities on the University campus involve
volunteers, including United Way, research, libraries, campus
recreation and athletics.
The University recognizes that volunteers are a valuable resource
and do much to enhance University programs and activities.
Similarly, the University recognizes that individuals derive
significant benefits from being a volunteer, including learning new
skills, enhancing career opportunities and making professional and
Liability Exposure of Volunteers:
There are three (3) areas of potential liability related to the
University engaging volunteers:
Liability of the Volunteer to Third Parties:
Just like any individual, a volunteer is potentially liable for the
consequences of their actions. In carrying out their volunteer
duties, an individual could be sued by a third party.
Liability of the University to the Volunteer:
The University has obligations to volunteers just as it does to
employees in terms of providing a safe working environment and
adhering to fair recruitment, supervision and termination practices.
Unlike paid employees however, volunteers are not insured for
workers compensation benefits, which means that a volunteer can sue
the University should they be injured while carrying out their
Liability of the University because of the volunteer (vicarious
Volunteers acting on behalf of the University expose the University
to potential liability, should their actions result in harm or loss
to a third party.
Volunteer Risk Management
In order to manage the risks and liabilities inherent in volunteer
activities, all University Departments are required or recommended
to follow these guidelines:
All volunteers must be registered by
means of a written agreement, which clarifies their duties,
reporting relationship and duration of their volunteer service.
This form shall also provide the volunteer information about
liability and insurance matters.
Departments registering volunteers are responsible for ensuring
that the volunteer receives adequate training, including safety
training where appropriate, for carrying out their duties.
Volunteers should be at least eighteen
(18) years of age. In exceptional circumstances involving
low-risk activities, volunteers may be under the age of eighteen
(18) but this must be arranged in advance with the Risk
If volunteers are involved in a
situation which may give rise to liability (i.e., they are injured, their property is damaged, or they
are involved in a situation involving injury or damage to a third
party), the incident must be reported immediately to the campus
Public Safety Department. The campus Public Safety Department will
in turn report the incident to the Risk Management Department.
Volunteers shall at all times be named
as “additional insured” on relevant insurance policies, which
the University carries.
Where appropriate, volunteers are to be reminded that the
University does not provide insurance coverage for personal
vehicles. Volunteers who will be driving their own personal vehicles
are to be advised that they are responsible for providing their own
This policy does not apply to volunteers with student clubs or the
Students’ Union, which operate independently of the University.
Faculties, departments, research projects/work and University
Volunteers please complete and sign the required VOLUNTEER FORMS.
See - Assumption of Risk, Release and Indemnification
See - Volunteer Registration and Acknowledgement
The original form is to be kept on file by the originating
department for a
minimum of five (5) years for insurance purposes. A copy can be
provided to the
volunteer if they so request. In the event of an accident, the Risk
Department will then request this form from the department.
INFORMATION FOR VOLUNTEERS
Thank you for volunteering with Winthrop University. The University
recognizes that your volunteer contribution enhances the
University’s programs and activities, and wants to ensure that your
volunteer experience is safe and rewarding.
As a registered volunteer you are included as an “additional
insured” on the University’s general liability insurance policy.
This means that while properly carrying out your volunteer
responsibilities you are insured against liability claims from third
Please note that the University does not insure personal vehicles or
property for either employees or volunteers. Volunteers who will be
driving their own personal vehicles on University business are urged
to contact their insurance broker to ensure that they have adequate
To register as a volunteer please complete the following VOLUNTEER
See – Assumption of Risk, Release and Indemnification
See – Volunteer Registration and Acknowledgement
Return to Risk
Management Home Page