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Love where you live

Community volunteer litter pickers

Volunteer litter pickers help us keep the district a clean, safe and green place to live, work and visit.

We are extremely grateful for the work they do.

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Before you start

Community litter picker checklist

We take Health and Safety very seriously and are committed to the safety of all our staff and residents. Individuals and groups acting as volunteer litter pickers can be exposed to a number of easily avoidable hazards. This guidance has been produced to help volunteers identify these hazards, making their involvement safe and enjoyable. It should be followed by all volunteers.


Before your litter pick

  • Choose an area for your litter pick – ensure that you do a risk assessment.
  • Select a time for your litter pick. Ensure visibility is good and pick daylight hours.
  • Check the weather and wear appropriate clothing.
  • Arrange a collection for your litter.
  • Request any equipment needed

During your litter pick

  • Please wear safety equipment – Hi Vis waistcoat, gloves, strong shoes.
  • Always use a picker and gloves when collecting litter. Avoid direct contact.
  • Do a safety briefing – discuss risk assessment and get all members to sign the agreement.
  • Ensure there is a first aid kit and a first aider. Make sure to clean and cover any cuts or abrasions. Seek medical advice if the condition deteriorates.
  • Be aware of your surroundings, stay clear of steep slopes, water, rocks and large areas of mud.
  • Follow local rules and guidelines such as safe and lawful parking.
  • If you find a weapon please call the police and let them know the location.
  • Do not attempt to remove dead or live animals. If dead report to WFDC If alive report to the RSPCA.
  • Do not pick up needles or drug paraphernalia, report to WFDC.
  • Do not pick up any items that are not identifiable and could be deemed hazardous, for example asbestos or  chemicals like battery acid. Report to WFDC
  • Do not turn your back to traffic. Be aware of traffic at all times and make sure you do not work in the highway.
  • Do not overfill bags and avoid lifting heavy objects or sacks alone.
  • Do not compress bags as it can result in cuts and abrasions.
  • Do not approach any one you do not know or anyone who is littering to ensure you avoid confrontation.

After your litter pick

  • Please make sure to clean your hands thoroughly using wipes, gels or by washing.
  • Inform WFDC of any issues you may have encountered.
  • Place rubbish bags in an agreed collection point


Guidance when completing your risk assessment

The lead organiser of the volunteering activity will need to complete a risk assessment before the day of the event. The risk assessment should take no longer than 10 minutes. This is a simple way to ensure you have considered any safety issues for the group and taken the necessary precautions to prevent them, as far as is reasonably practical. Ensure you use the risk assessment when addressing the volunteers in your safety brief.

We have provided a list of potential hazards with their possible risks. This form will help you to think about the area you are litter picking and which hazard and risk might apply to your risk assessment.

Potential risks and hazards





Broken glass, sharp/rusty edges

Cuts and infections

  • Use litter pick to pick up sharp litter
  • Up to date tetanus

Seek medical or first aid attention if needed


Cuts and infections

  • Leave and contact WFDC for removal

Seek medical or first aid attention if needed

Heavy/awkward rubbish

Pulled or strained muscles

  • Take care when lifting – use good lifting practises and share the load
  • If an item or bag is too heavy leave it and report it to WFDC

Stop if feeling discomfort. Seek medical if persists

Batteries, Asbestos and miscellaneous chemicals

Potentially dangerous depending on condition

  • Do not approach or remove any potentially hazardous waste. Report it to us.

Seek medical attention if exposed. Record labels

Ground condition

Sprains, muscle damage and broken bones

  • Avoid dangerous areas and choose safest route
  • Wear sensible footwear

Seek medical or first aid attention if needed

Highways, cars, and motorbikes

Collision with vehicles

  • Avoid proximity to cars and roads
  • Be aware and look out
  • Do not litter pick on roads with more than 40mph speed limits

Seek medical attention if needed

Lone working

Physical or verbal assault

  • Be aware of aggressive individuals
  • Do not get involved in a conflict
  • Have a phone and let someone know where you are

Seek medical attention if needed

Animals – domestic and wild

Lyme disease

  • Beware of dogs 
  • Avoid contact with animals and faeces

Seek medical attention if bit or scratched



  • Stop work in adverse weather
  • Dress appropriately for

Seek medical if needed

Dog faeces

Toxocara canis

  • Do not touch dog faeces 
  • Always wear gloves

Seek medical if needed

Steep slopes

Sprains, muscle damage and broken bones

  • Stay away from these areas
  • Avoid litter picking on steep slopes

Seek medical if needed

Electric fences


  • Always assume the fence is live 
  • Do not touch the electric fence

Seek medical if needed

Water, marshes and bogs

Hypothermia drowning

  • Avoid banks especially if it appears to be unstable and work in pairs 
  • Be aware of surroundings
  • Non swimmers must not be near the water

Seek medical if needed

Hedges, fences, walls and ditches

Falls, cuts and sprains

  • Take care when climbing stiles particularly in wet weather
  • Avoid climbing walls or fences

Seek medical if needed

Tools and equipment


  • Volunteers will be shown how to use the equipment appropriately
  • Use appropriate protection
  • Have a first aider and first aid kit

Seek medical if needed

Trees and shrubs

Trips, cuts and eye pokes

  • Be aware of hazards and risks
  • Be aware of branches and roots

Seek medical if needed

Irritants and dangerous plants

Poisoning, skin irritation and allergic reactions

  • Wear gloves
  • Be aware of dangerous plants and possible reactions
  • Wash hands thoroughly

Seek medical for any unusual symptoms


Cuts and infections

  • If you find a weapon please call the police and let them know the location.

Seek medical if needed


Before the litter pick make sure all volunteers:

  • Have correct equipment – litter pickers, bags, shovels and brushes.
  • Are dressed weather appropriately with gloves, hi-vis waistcoat and sensible footwear.
  • Know the work area, how to report incidents, where to get first aid, where to meet at the end, where to deposit bags and how to mark sharp item (glass or jagged plastic) bags.

After the event make sure all volunteers:

  • Clean their hands thoroughly.
  • Check their wounds have been cleaned, disinfected and dressed – all volunteers should carry out a personal inspection for cuts.
  • Have reported any hazardous waste and identified any bags containing sharp materials (such as glass or jagged plastic).
  • Have reported back to the leader and all equipment has been returned.
  • Have placed rubbish in the agreed place for WFDC to collect.

You can download the Work/Safe Risk assessment from our website. Please ensure you fill it in and send it back to WFDC

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