Thank you Rodrigo. Your response side-steps answering both of my last two questions.
It is unhelpful to simply pass the onus back to the volunteers and host to decide on a case by case basis. There are helpful and useful distinctions between accident and negligence. It seems to me that in most cases the distinction between accident or negligence should be clear, independent of host or volunteer opinion.
An [i][b]accident [/b][/i]is simply an undesirable incident that no-one could possibly foresee
If a host has foreseen and successfully communicated an undesirable incident along with an explanation for how to avoid that incident, then it seems reasonable to attribute negligence.
[i][b]Negligence [/b][/i]occurs when instructions that have been understood by the volunteer are wilfully ignored. The case of negligence is especially clear if the justification for the instructions was explained.
I take great care to try to foresee what can go wrong and be misunderstood. And in order to check whether I have successfully communicated, I usually ask volunteers to explain to me what I want them to do and why. This is a very useful delegation routine. But still things go awry.
Host says to volunteer, "[i]don't do action A to object O because it will break[/i]"
Volunteer still does A to O and O breaks"
[b][u]Question 1:[/u][/b] Can you give examples for A and O where the outcome can be called an accident and not negligence?
Sorry to pose more questions to side step. :wink:
Here is a real situation:
I instructed: "[i]This is powdered quick lime, CaO. It must be changed to white wash Ca(OH)2 by mixing into water. The chemical reaction that follows produces enough heat to melt plastic buckets so one person must carefully add the powder a little at a time to 4 times the volume of water and the other person must stir all the time. Quick lime is caustic to skin and lungs. Do this here (outdoors). Stand up wind, use these gloves, goggles and this long mixing stick.[/i]"
I supervised the mixing of the first batch. The next batch they did on their own. In my absence, they cut corners, and dumped the whole bag of powder into a dry bucket and poured water on top. Oh dear! They put the melting bucket into a second bucket which also melted.
[b][u]Question 2:[/u][/b] Was this accident or negligence?
[b][u]Question 3: [/u][/b] Does the opinion of the host or the volunteers actually change whether this was accident of negligence?
In this case, I am guessing that the WWOOFers wanted to see the the plastic melt just for fun. But they didn't offer to pay for the buckets.
In anticipation, thank you for suggesting that I use a metal bucket. :wink: That is not the issue, nor, in this case, the piffling cost. The issues are two. One is trying to arrive at a useful definition that distinguishes negligence from accident, and the second is a principle of whether it is reasonable in the eyes of WWOOF.pt for hosts to ask volunteers to pay for things they break due to negligence.
Looking forward to fancy footwork around questions 1, 2, and 3.