Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) Policy: Induction for Volunteers

This is an induction policy document for volunteers on site in the gallery.

Scope & Policy

The Victorian Artists Society (ACN 004 046 824) (VAS) is committed to maintaining a healthy and safe workplace.  In line with workplace health & safety (WHS) statutory obligations, VAS aims to provide the highest level of protection for employees, clients, contractors, volunteers and visitors at all times.  While VAS provides information, instruction and training to employees, contractors and volunteers about safe work practices and its policies, it also expected that workers care for their own health and safety and contribute to maintaining a safe workplace.

This policy applies to all VAS’s Workers while they are:

  • In a workplace under VAS’s management and control (including vehicles); and/or
  • Performing work in the conduct of our business (including at a site away from their usual workplace).
  • Adhering to relevant occupational Health and Safety Legislation.

Worker’s Responsibilities

A safe working culture is the responsibility of everyone and this can be best achieved through the cooperative efforts of all.  This involves being proactive about WHS issues and also responding quickly and appropriately if an incident does occur. 

Whilst VAS is required to maintain a safe and healthy work environment, employees, contractors, clients and visitors are also expected to take reasonable care for their own health and safety and that of others by: 

  • Complying with WHS policies, procedures and instructions; 
  • Taking care for their own health and safety and the health and safety of others who may be affected by their actions; 
  • Taking action to avoid, eliminate or minimise hazards; 
  • Reporting all known or observed hazards to the appropriate person; 
  • Reporting immediately any work-related injury to or ‘near-miss’ incident to the appropriate person; 
  • Actively participating in the management of WHS risks; 
  • Not wilfully placing at risk the health, safety or well-being of others at the workplace;
  • Being familiar with emergency and evacuation procedures and cooperating with directions from emergency or evacuation wardens;
  • Exercise due care and diligence in undertaking required tasks;
  • Advise VAS Staff where they believe they or a fellow on site worker does not possess the necessary training and skills to perform work as directed;
  • Advise VAS Staff where they witness an act or activities likely to endanger the health and safety of themselves or others;
  • Comply with the safety instructions provided on individual tasks and whilst operating in the premises; and
  • To handle artwork within the premises with due care and diligence.


  • Volunteers are required to read the OH&S Manual and sign off on the sheet below.
  • OH&S training will be included in the introductory training volunteers receive on their first shift.
  • Where possible training will be provided by a VAS Staff member on a needs basis.
  • Workers are expected to be clear on all safety procedures and are to seek guidance and training where lacking confidence or clarity.

List of Activities & Risk Control Measures


Potential Hazard

Risk Control Measures

Who is Responsible


Sprains and strains

VAS Staff


Bending and twisting more than 20 degrees leading to back strain

  • Always move in a back and forth motion
  • Do not twist and turn whilst manoeuvring brooms

VAS Staff


Repetitive strain injury

  • Where working at a table staff should be seated.
  • Intermittently hands and fingers should be stretched and flexed

VAS Staff

Protecting Workers

In accordance with work health and safety legislation in Victoria, VAS aims to eliminate risks in the workplace or, where this is not possible, reduce any risk as far as reasonably practicable.

VAS promotes a safe workplace and safe work practices in a number of ways:

  • Training and information:  Workers receive training and information about safe work practices and are encouraged to read and understand VAS’s policies and procedures dealing with workplace safety.
  • Monitoring and auditing:  VAS continually monitors and identifies potential workplace health and safety issues and develops strategies for dealing with them.  VAS also audits its WHS systems.
  • Communication:  VAS and its Workers are encouraged to exchange information about the risks to health and safety and measures that should be taken to either eliminate or reduce these risks as far as possible.
  • Representation:  Workers are encouraged to raise all WHS issues with the manager.  If Workers believe a contravention of the work health and safety legislation has occurred or is occurring, the first step should be to report this to the manager.
  • First aid:  A list of first aid officers is displayed in the kitchen.

Reporting incidents

All workplace accidents, near-misses, injuries, illness or damage must be reported to VAS’s safety representative.  The following procedure will apply:

  • First aid: Where necessary first aid or medical attendance will be organised.
  • Notification: The following applies in relation to reporting of incidents:
  • Serious injury or death:  In the case of an incident resulting in death or serious injury or illness, the appropriate authority must be notified immediately.
  • Other incidents:  In Victoria, the authority must be notified within 48 hours of any incident where workers have been exposed to a health and safety risk, even where no injury has occurred.
  • Investigation and prevention:  All incidents will be investigated to identify the cause with a view to preventing recurrence of the incident. 

Emergency procedures

Workers must maintain an awareness of and comply with office evacuation and emergency procedures.  This includes participating in all practice fire drills that may occur.  If there is a fire or other threat to safety VAS may decide to evacuate the building.  Emergency warnings will be communicated through the building’s fire alarm system.  Fire wardens will direct Workers to the assembly areas and assist them with leaving the building.  All Workers must follow the directions of the fire wardens.  Emergency and fire procedures, such as the use of extinguishers, are also displayed in the kitchens.

Emergency Evacuation Plan

  • In case of fire alarm being activated, the glass front doors will automatically open and stay in an open position for emergency exit. 
  • Please calmly exit the building and assemble on the median strip (grassed area) on Albert Street.
  • The alarm will automatically send an alert call to the Melbourne Fire Brigade, who will attend.
  • If any occupant requires medical attention, call 000 
  • Please wait until the Fire Brigade attends

First Aid Facilities

  • First Aider point of contact VAS Manager, Education & Programs Co-Ordinator, or Gallery Assistants. 
  • First Aid facilities are located in the VAS Gallery office, in the first cupboard in a green box, or in the VAS Studio above the sink. 
  • A defibrillator is located behind the staircase at the back of the building.


Volunteers are covered by our public liability insurance while in the VAS building.