Do waivers work? No…. to put it bluntly. A good example is a prosecution in QLD in 2017 where a gym (a charity) was prosecuted for a Category 2 (medium) offence under the WHS Act 2011, for failing in their duty and exposing an individual to a risk of death or serious injury.
So what happened?
The victim was bench pressing 98kgs when the bar fell on his neck. They were only found 20 minutes later and according to media reports, provided first aid, then rushed to hospital in a serious condition, where later they died, at just 15 years old.
The gym had a waiver of responsibility in place and a policy for anyone under 16 to be supervised at all times.
Regardless of what the waiver says, under legislation, you are still required to provide a safe work environment, have safe plant and equipment, safe process and safety information. Safety training needs to be clear and understandable and the level of supervision must be in balance with the level of risk.
Signed waivers only provide limited protection, but they never remove responsibilities set out in the work health and safety legislation where there has been gross negligence or breaches of the legislation.