How to Create a Liability Waiver for Volunteers

September 10, 2013

Volunteering for an animal welfare organization or rescue center is definitely not an easy job, and it can entail several important health risks for the volunteer.
It is therefore necessary that you prepare and inform the volunteer about such risks, and safeguard the legal and economical well-being of your association by requiring your volunteers to sign a liability waiver. However, not all liability waivers are the same: indeed, animal welfare organizations should bear in mind that they should use particularly straightforward wording even when deciding to opt for a very short, basic waiver form.

In this article, you will find advice on how to create the liability waivers that contain the necessary clauses specific to the particular work of your organization.

Liability waivers for animal welfare organizations: the basics

With a quick internet search, you will be able to find a huge number of waiver samples from organizations all over the country, which you could use as guidelines when deciding how to create a liability waiver for volunteers at your own organization.
The liability waiver, which will be written in the voice of the volunteer (therefore, in the 1st person), could start off with a statement such as:

“I, the undersigned, understand that my participation with…is strictly on a volunteer basis. Furthermore, I acknowledge and understand that working with animals may be dangerous and can lead to serious injury or even death”. This opening statement is straight to the point, and will communicate to your prospective volunteers that they should really be aware of what they’re getting into. Then, you can conclude with something along the lines of: “I agree to assume any liability and risks of volunteering at…” sign and date. There you have it, a perfectly fine basic waiver.

Eventual additions to animal welfare organizations’ liability waivers 

If you think that a basic waiver might not suite you, you could also be very specific in your liability waivers and add in writing all the possible risks that volunteers could face during an average day of service in your organization, for example:

  • Bites or scratches
  • Being knocked down by one of the animals
  • Flea and/or tick bites
  • Human illness contracted from animals, internal or external parasites
  • Injuries resulting from cage doors, cleaning equipment, slips, trips and falls

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