5 Items to Address in your Volunteer Waiver

February 27, 2013

As an animal rescue shelter, you need volunteers to help socialize and care for the animals on a daily basis.  Working as a volunteer with animals can be one of the most rewarding experiences however animals especially in a stressful situation can be very unpredictable.  Educating and training your volunteers on personal safety with the animals is very important to protect them, the animals and other volunteers.  You also want your volunteers to be acutely aware of all the possible dangers associated with becoming a volunteer so you will want them to acknowledge and sign a waiver.  This waiver will attest that the volunteer is fully aware of potential hazards of working with animals and is willing to take precautions to prevent accidents.  There are five main points to include in your waiver.

1.  The risks associated with aggressive or scared animals.  Animals may bite or scratch especially if they are feeling threatened.  All animals are unpredictable and can cause serious injuries.

2.  Health risks associated with diseases such as rabies.  Many stray animals come into contact and are exposed to a variety of diseases which they may be able to spread to humans.  If a volunteer is bitten by an animal with rabies they will require immediate treatment and it could also cause death.

3.  Health risks to their own pets and vaccinations required.  Many volunteers have their own pets at home that they love and cherish.  They need to know that those pets must be vaccinated against possible infectious diseases the volunteer may pick up from the animal rescue shelter.

4.  Injuries associated with lifting pets or by walking a dog that pulls.  Depending on the job description of the volunteer, they may be subjected to bending, lifting and other physical demands of the position which can lead to injury especially if not performed correctly.

5.  Possible injuries from slippery floors.  Animal rescue centers have a big job of keeping the animals, their kennels and the facility clean so wet floors may occur to maintain sanitary conditions.

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