As referenced in the Habitat for Humanity Affiliate Operations Construction Manual, a Release and Waiver of Liability Form should be completed by all volunteers prior to working on a jobsite or in any other capacity for the affiliate, such as in an office or ReStore. Volunteers under the age of 18 should complete the Release and Waiver of Liability for Minors Form, which should also be reviewed and signed by a parent or legal guardian.
A waiver is the voluntary relinquishment or surrender of rights by the volunteer; the right to sue you in the event they are injured on a jobsite.
The Importance of Getting a Signed Waiver
Habitat for Humanity affiliates can’t be expected to assume liability for volunteers working at a jobsite. By signing the waiver, the volunteer is releasing the affiliate from liability.
Volunteers are expected and encouraged to obtain his or her own medical or health insurance coverage prior to becoming a Habitat for Humanity volunteer. The Waiver clearly explains that the volunteer is releasing Habitat for Humanity and the affiliate from liability with respect to injury, illness or death that could results while the volunteer is on the Habitat worksite.
The Waiver includes an Assumption of Risk section so the volunteer clearly understands that they are on a construction site – an area with inherent dangers. However, despite the inherent danger a construction site holds, it is still an affiliate’s responsibility to provide a safe jobsite and working environment. Practicing safety should be a top priority for all affiliates.
Minors as Volunteers
It is the policy of Habitat for Humanity that children under the age of 14 not be allowed on a Habitat worksite while there is construction in progress. Children between the ages of 16 and 18 may be allowed to participate in construction work, but should not be allowed to participate in potentially hazardous activities. These activities, such as using power tools, excavation, demolition or working on rooftops are not permitted by anyone under the age of 18. Each affiliate should check for additional child labor law requirements that may exist in their specific state.
Organization is Key in Managing Volunteers
Maintaining proper and organized project paperwork provides the framework for a successful build. This also reinforces overall effective project management. Volunteers are more likely to follow the project safety rules and procedures in an effectively organized and monitored project. Proper Waiver form management helps project leaders account for all volunteers during all phases of a build.
Copies of both the Release and Waiver of Liability Form & Release and Waiver of Liability for Minors Form can be found in the Habitat for Humanity Affiliate Operations Construction Manual, or send an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org. The forms will be emailed to you.
It is important to note that we strongly recommend that each affiliate have their own attorney review their waivers as laws vary by state. If you have any questions about this information please call the Habitat for Humanity Affiliate Insurance Program at (888) 553-9002.