Volunteer labor helps nonprofits and other organizations keep costs down without sacrificing quality. In many cases, these individuals have years of professional experience and are able to offer both labor and knowledge that can significantly impact an organization’s goals and mission.
It’s not uncommon for those who volunteer to eventually become employees or members of a company’s management team. Even when this doesn’t happen, those who donate their time benefit by helping others and learning new skills that often prove beneficial in their future careers.
Volunteers play a key role in helping society function
With budget cuts across a number of industries, volunteers have become an essential part of providing services and support to groups in need.
For example, fire departments throughout Georgia rely heavily on volunteers to keep communities safe, and they’re a significant part of local emergency response teams.
Volunteers are also largely responsible for keeping state parks open and helping vulnerable citizens find jobs, stable housing and educational opportunities.
Additionally, many school districts throughout the state rely on parents and other adults to assist teachers in classrooms, coach teams and provide other services aimed at helping kids reach their true potential.
How many volunteer workers are injured each year?
Although volunteers in any organization can sustain injuries during their course of work, emergency response and rescue volunteers are often the most at risk of injury. In fact, according to recent data from National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), roughly 22,000 volunteer emergency response personnel are injured each year in the U.S.
The annual injury rate in the U.S for workers who are employed on a full-time basis is 3.1 injuries per 100 workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Although volunteers are not classified as full-time workers, they do much of the same work as traditional employees. Therefore, it can be expected that they would experience a similar injury rate.
Are injured volunteers covered under workers’ comp in Georgia
Workers’ comp insurance provides reimbursement for financial costs related to injuries that occur within the scope of work, including medical expenses and wage replacement. It ensures that workers can get the medical treatment they need to recover from workplace injuries in a timely manner. It also ensures they receive a portion of any wages that are lost if they’re unable to work during their recovery.
In the state of Georgia, companies that have more than 3 employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, but this generally excludes independent contractors, domestic workers (household staff) and volunteers.
Under Georgia law, most volunteers are not covered by workers’ compensation insurance. However, Georgia does require coverage for volunteer firefighters and other agencies that provide emergency response services.
When to contact a Georgia workers’ comp attorney
If you’re a volunteer emergency response or rescue worker who’s been hurt while providing services for an organization, company or government agency in Georgia, you may be entitled to compensation. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can evaluate your case and explain your options to ensure that your rights are protected.
Workers’ comp laws are complicated. There are procedures that must be followed and time limits on how long you have to file a case before you lose your chance to be compensated. If you believe that your injury may qualify you for workers’ comp benefits, we strongly urge you to contact an attorney as soon as possible after your injury.