There are many layers of individuals and institutions involved in safety and health in nonprofits. Each group needs to understand their role in building a nonprofit with a strong safety and health culture. You may identify other layers specific to your nonprofit based on your organizational structure and decision-making processes.

Concentric Circles illustrating the layers of people involced with safety and health in an organization. At the Center is the Board, then leadership, followed by staff, volunteers, people you serve, and finally the outer layers of Labor and Industries and OSHA.

Board: The board provides governance for an organization. They typically set strategic priorities, fund those priorities through a budget process, initiate and approve policy, and are accountable for ensuring the organization provides a safe, healthy, and legally compliant workplace.

Leadership: Whether a paid CEO, co-directors, a team of directors, or a volunteer executive director, this role oversees the day-to-day work around employer compliance. They model proper behaviors and correct violations when necessary.

Staff: A nonprofit’s staff play an important role in implementing and maintaining a strong safety and health culture for all people involved with the organization. Through observations and experiences, staff share concerns and provide advice for improvements. Staff serve on the safety committee or participate in safety meetings.

Volunteers:  A nonprofit’s volunteers are vital to achieving its mission. Some nonprofits only have volunteers, no paid staff. Keeping volunteers as safe as possible is important. (Nonprofits can extend workers’ compensation to volunteers through L&I if desired.)

People you serve: Your nonprofit serves people who benefit from your safety and health program.

Washington State Department of Labor & Industries: L&I is a state agency dedicated to safety, health, and security of Washington workers.

Occupational Safety & Health Administration: OSHA oversees the safe and healthful working conditions for workers. OSHA sets the requirements that all employers must follow, unless state laws are stricter; in that case, nonprofits should follow the state law.

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