Health, safety and welfare policy

Our responsibilities for the health, safety and welfare of our volunteers members and anyone in contact with us

Approved: March 2023
Version: 3
Content owner: Safe practice

Girlguiding volunteers are responsible for the health, safety and welfare of our members.

This policy applies to all volunteers, wherever Girlguiding delivers activities. This includes the UK, overseas, or when we partner with other organisations.  

This policy sets out what we expect of our volunteers when it comes to health, safety and welfare. You must follow it when taking part in Girlguiding activities.  

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 gives Girlguiding a legal duty to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved in our activities. This includes our members, volunteers and staff. 

It’s everyone’s duty to look after themselves and others. All our volunteers have a legal responsibility to create and maintain healthy and safe environments – offline, online, and for anyone affected by Girlguiding activities.  

Anyone who is responsible for health, safety and welfare must be competent to do so.  

All volunteers are accountable for any incident arising out of Girlguiding activities. Health, safety and welfare is everyone’s business. Never assume that it’s someone else’s responsibility. Failure to follow this policy or a breach of the procedure will result in compliance action. 


As a volunteer you must: 

  • Ask for help if you think you need it. Always let Girlguiding know if you need reasonable adjustments, additional training or support. This includes being mindful of your own mental and physical health and welfare. 
  • Be Prepared. Reduce the risk – as far as is reasonably practicable - of any incident happening because of Girlguiding activities. Plan activities by doing risk assessments and be vigilant during the activity. Make sure all equipment and resources used in activities are safe to use. 
  • Protect yourself. Never remain in situations where you feel unsafe or take unnecessary risks. Volunteering alone should be minimised wherever possible. If you’re volunteering alone, follow the control measures identified during the planning stage. You should always inform another member of Girlguiding or a home contact where you are. 
  • Be vigilant. Girlguiding activities can take place in environments where things can change quickly. Always be vigilant to ensure that unacceptable risks don’t develop.  
  • Never assume it’s not your problem. You must act if you have any concerns about health, safety or welfare. Take all reasonable steps to assess hazards and identify measures to manage risk.  
  • Find balance. It's not possible to remove all risk, as doing this can reduce or remove the potential for us all to learn, enjoy and thrive. But risk can be managed and mitigated. Promote appropriate and measured risk management to make activities enjoyable, challenging, and safe. 
  • Be honest and accountable. Report, monitor and respond to any incidents arising from our activities. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  
  • Be covered. You must have appropriate insurance cover. This could be Girlguiding’s, the activity or venue providers, or one you take out yourself. Make sure that any activities, venues and locations are suitable. There are some types of venues and locations that Girlguiding doesn’t permit you to use. These are in the health, safety and welfare procedure 

BGO countries must abide by local legislation when applying this policy, where relevant.