Our Society is committed to ensuring the health and safety of our workers, the people we assist, and others who may be impacted by our activities. Keeping our members, volunteers, and employees safe will enable us to continue to provide a hand up to people in need.  

We all have a shared responsibility for safety and need to work together to keep everyone safe. People leaders have increased responsibility due to their influence over how our work is managed. Our senior leaders are ultimately accountable for the health and safety of our people.

The safety team is responsible for the provision of an effective safety management system, the associated tools and the provision of professional advice and practical support to enable success. 

Member and Volunteer Safety Responsibilities 

  • Take reasonable care for your own health and safety and those around you 
  • Follow established safe work procedures and reasonable instructions  
  • Participate in safety training and contribute to safety discussions 
  • Report hazards, incidents, and injuries 
  • Respond appropriately to emergencies 
  • If injured, cooperate with return-to-work and recovery-at work-plans.  ​​​​​​​

For further information refer to the Health & Safety Policy

Online Safety Induction

Our online Safety Induction has been updated.  This updated training module provides a summary of our current approach to safety and some of our key processes.

For our Members – you will hear more from your Regional Director and President over the coming months.

For our Volunteers – please login to the Vinnies Learning Centre (VLC), then scroll to My Training and click on Vinnies Safety Induction – Volunteers. The course will take about 30 minutes to complete.

Wellbeing Webinars

Our EAP provider is offering members and volunteers a series of free webinars to inspire you. Don’t delay, by registering now for these webinars, you will be kept up-to-date about the webinar and receive the live link closer to the time.  Explore the full list of webinars available.


First Aid

Familiarise yourself with our standard emergency procedures, so that you are prepared if an emergency occurs (see Emergency Response tab).

Call triple zero (000) if you our someone else is seriously injured or in need of urgent medical help. 

If you need first aid assistance:  

  • Contact your local first aider  
  • Treat yourself using the local first aid kit (for minor injuries) 

If you are not sure who your local first aiders are, talk to your conference president, volunteer or site manager, or look for the poster on your noticeboard that provides local contacts.  

If the situation is more serious you may also need to: 

  • Attend your local emergency department  
  • Call or visit your general practitioner  
First Aid kits are generally located in easy to access positions across Vinnies.  Look for this symbol.






Red Cross portal 





Using an AED



Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs)

Some Vinnies workplaces have an Automated External Defibrillator.

When used within the first 3-5 minutes of a person suffering a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), an AED can dramatically increase a victim’s chance of survival. AEDs were designed to be used by virtually anyone with little or no experience.

An AED will automatically analyse the heart rhythm of a pulse less victim and, if the victim is in ventricular fibrillation (VF) or ventricular tachycardia (VT), shock the victim’s heart in an attempt to restore its rhythm to normal. AEDs will not shock patients who do not require a shock.

Whether you’re trained or untrained, call triple zero (000), ask for ambulance and follow the operator’s instructions, which may include starting CPR and using an AED if available. Acting quickly is what’s important.

Further information about AEDs for your area, talk to your conference president, volunteer or site manager.

Watch – How to use the Heartsine 360 Defibrillator

Watch – How to use the AED Plus

Flood affected sites: keeping you safe

The following information is provided to assist in preparation for potential flooding and clean -up activities. Ensure you heed the advice and instructions from emergency services during this time.

Never enter or travel through floodwater – this includes walking, driving, riding and playing in floodwater. Entering floodwater is the leading cause of death during floods.​​​​​​​ Remember, if it’s flooded, forget it

Follow the alerts: NSW SES Emergency Warnings

Prepare for a flood event

Know the Australian Warning System

Know your risk 

NSW SES provides advice on local areas. Learn about your risk at www.ses.nsw.gov.au/knowyourrisk/

Know where to go 

Find the safest route to travel in the event you might need to evacuate. Identify places where evacuation routes may be cut and locate alternate routes.

Check with family and friends outside the flood prone area to organise a place to go.

Find out where potential evacuation centres could be in your area.

Know who to call

For emergency help in floods and storms, call the NSW SES on 132 500.

Keep local emergency numbers handy 

In life threatening emergencies, call Triple Zero (000)

Download the FloodSafe 8 Tips Poster

Download the Flash FloodSafe Guide

Stay informed

Stay informed by ensuring you are notified of any flood or storm events in your area

> Monitor all emergency alerts and contacts, including NSW SES HazardWatch

> Understand the Australian Warning System 

> Check the Bureau of Meteorology for alerts, updates and weather warning

> Listen to the radio for information, updates and advice. Know the frequency of your local emergency broadcaster

> Check LiveTraffic NSW for road conditions and closures 

> Find the current evacuation centres

> Follow NSWSES on social media – on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

> Check with friends and work colleagues to make sure they are aware of any warnings

> General information on flash floods can be found on the NSW State Emergency Service (SES) Website

> Know What you can do during a storm 

> Find Electricity Safety Tips

If you require assistance due to flood and storm emergencies, call NSW SES on 132 500.

Response to a flood event

When a Flood Warning is issued, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself and others:

  • Never drive, ride or walk through floodwater
  • Stack possessions, records, stock or equipment on benches and tables, placing electrical items on top
  • Secure objects that are likely to float and cause damage
  • Relocate waste containers, chemicals and poisons well above floor level
  • Activate your Plan 
  • Keep listening to your local radio station for information, updates and advice
  • Keep in contact with your team leader, friends and family
  • Be prepared to evacuate if advised by emergency services
  • Act early as roads may become congested or close

Download the During a Flood factsheet

Download the Evacuation Warning factsheet

Download the Evacuation Order factsheet

Recovery after a flood event

Follow the advice and instructions of your local authorities and take all the necessary health and safety precautions. Do not enter alone.

Before returning – wait until authorities have declared the area safe before returning/entering any Vinnies flood affected premises. The State Emergency Services (SES) will issue an all clear. 

Prepare – before entering the flood affected premises understand and download the:

Proceed with caution – when returning follow the re-entry checklist, follow the directions of your Team Leader, do not enter alone, and take all necessary health and safety precautions.

Download cleaning up after a flood | NSW State Emergency Service

Download cleaning up after a disaster | Australian Red Cross

Your health and wellbeing

Living through a natural disaster can be very challenging. It’s important you prioritise your safety and wellbeing after a flood or storm event and seek appropriate support if required. Here are some resources for you to explore. 

Incident and Hazard Reporting

All incidents, injuries and hazards associated with Society activities must be reported to your relevant manager or supervisor as soon as reasonably possible, regardless of who is involved or where it occurred.

Initial Response 

Remember your immediate response to an incident or hazard should always be to

  1. Assess the danger to yourself and others
  2. Take immediate action to keep yourself and others safe, including arranging for first aid or medical attention for an injured person​​​​​​​
  3. Let your manager or supervisor know what has happened (initial verbal report).​​​​​​

Some more serious incidents need to be reported to SafeWork NSW straight away. These notifications are managed by the Safety team on behalf of the Society.  

Reporting an incident or injury

An incident is a distinct, one-off occurrence that has or could have an adverse impact on people. This includes incidents resulting in injury or illness and ’near miss incidents’ where there was potential for injury. 

If you or one of your colleagues is injured or involved in a near miss incident:

  1. Assess the danger to yourself and others
  2. Take immediate action to keep yourself and others safe including arranging for first aid or medical attention for an injured person.
  3. Report the incident to your manager or supervisor as soon as reasonably possible and before the end of your shift. 
  4. Formally record the incident using the IRMS before the end of the shift (or within 24 hours).

If you don’t have all the details – you or your supervisor can update the information later. 

Your manager or supervisor will be prompted to investigate the incident and plan action to prevent the re-occurrence of similar incidents in the future. If the actual consequences of the incident are serious or there were serious potential consequences, the Safety team may also be involved in the investigation process. 

Online report an incident – IRMS

What happens if I have an injury?

In the event of injury to one of our members or volunteers, we are committed to a safe and early return to work and the best possible recovery outcomes. It is important that you take action to receive appropriate medical treatment as soon as possible. Where possible, your manager/supervisor, or President and our Return-to-Work Partner will support you to recover while continuing to engage in work.

The following documents provides information to assist with your recovery and outlines our Return to Work (RTW) program.  

Return to Work Program [PDF]

Member and Volunteer information pack – Work related injury [PDF] 

You are entitled to lodge an insurance claim for the reimbursement of some medical expenses. Refer to the Volunteers accident insurance program overview and claim form. 

Member and Volunteer accident insurance program overview

Member and Volunteer – Voluntary Worker Claim Form


Reporting a Hazard

A hazard is anything that has the potential to cause harm. 

If you notice a hazard and it is within your control to address, deal with it straight away and discuss with your manager or supervisor later. 

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​If the situation is outside of your control to manage and action is needed to ensure safety: 

  1. Assess the danger to yourself and others
  2. Take immediate action to keep yourself and others safe including arranging for first aid or medical attention for an injured person.
  3. Report the hazard to your supervisor and the supervisor of the area or activity involved.  
  4. Formally record the hazard using the IRMS before the end of the shift. 

The relevant supervisors will be prompted to plan and implement action to ‘make safe’. Sometimes this will require a cooperative effort between your division or unit and the Society’s Properties and Facility Management team (e.g., for facility maintenance issues). 

Online report a hazard – IRMS


Wellbeing resources

We are focused on creating an environment that supports and nurtures the wellbeing of our people so that you can thrive and perform at your best. Our EAP provider is offering members and volunteers a series of free webinars to inspire you. Don’t delay, by registering now for these webinars, you will be kept up-to-date about the webinar and receive the live link closer to the time.  Explore the full list of webinars available.

Having a tough time (or someone you know) and need support right now? Help is available.

Crisis support | Support following a natural disaster | Support following traumatic events

If you are struggling, we encourage you to talk to your people leader and seek support.

If you do not feel comfortable talking to your supervisor, you can also talk to the Pastoral Support Team, your People and Culture Partner or Safety Partner. 

Alternatively, you can seek confidential support from our Employee Support Provider (Converge International) 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Call 1300 687 327 to guide you in managing lifestyle, work, and people concerns.

Looking after yourself

The 5 Ways to Wellbeing is a great community resource developed by the Royal Melbourne Hospital. We encourage you to explore the 5 ways to wellbeing and take action to make the 5 ways part of your everyday routine.

Take this short quiz to check-in on how you are travelling. 

Wellbeing tools

Black Dog Institute – digital tools and resources

Black Dog Institute – MyCompass: a free resource with a focus on building resilience and good mental health providing tips and exercises to maintain good mental health.

This Way Up | Psychological self-help courses – online courses are designed to help you identify, understand, and improve psychological difficulties like stress, insomnia, worry, anxiety and depression.

Smiling Mind – a free app designed by psychologists to support you in adopting a mindfulness practice.  There are programs for stress, sleep, attention and concentration, and wellbeing among other topics.

Coping with Stress – a 2 months free self-paced online course teaching you how to reduce your demands and increase your resources to help you manage the stressors in your life

Converge Employee Support Program (EAP)

The Society has partnered with Converge International to provide our members and volunteers with free, confidential coaching support for up to 4 sessions per issue to help you deal with the challenges, concerns or issues that may be affecting you at home or at work. 

Everything you discuss with a Converge Clinician is confidential, and support is available face-to-face, over the phone or internet via their online portal.  This EAP service provides support for a variety of short-term, personal or work issues, and gives you access to qualified professionals including psychologists, social workers and management coaches.

Call 1300 687 327 or visit the online portal to access the service and resources anywhere, anytime. 

Converge International Online Portal 

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