Having chosen a place for your tidy up, visit the site and carry out a full risk assessment. It is important that you consider all of the possible risks to you and your volunteers.
When assessing the risks, look for the following hazards:
If the area carries too many risks you may want to choose another place to carry out your event.
To avoid illness from poor hygiene, all those taking part in the clean up must:
Lifting heavy items could be hazardous and volunteers should be discouraged from lifting large or heavy items.
Make sure everyone is aware of potentially dangerous items which they should not pick up.
If very large or dangerous items such as unidentified drums, cans or canisters of chemicals, poisons or insecticides are present contact the Environment Agency on 0800 807 060. If syringes are spotted at any stage during your tidy up, do not attempt to move them yourself. Make a note of their location and inform your local council.
Avoid holding your tidy up near potentially dangerous places such as steep slippery banks, fast flowing or deep water or derelict buildings.
Line pins and tape can be used to section off any potentially dangerous areas. For a large operation, a loud hailer could be used to warn participants to stay in a designated area.
To find out more about invasive plant species and how you can help the charity Plantlife to tackle this issue.
Obtaining public liability insurance is very important and strongly recommended. This will provide cover for your legal liability arising from accidental damage or injury that may occur during the event, including damage or injury to a member of the public or their property.
If you are an individual organising a tidy up, your current household insurance may cover you for public liability. You will need to check your policy to ensure you are covered. If not you will need to take out a separate public liability insurance.
If you represent an organisation such as a local council or school, it is possible that you already have insurance in place but it is important to check that litter picking activity is covered under such insurance. If not, a suitable extension should be made to the policy. If you are unable to obtain public liability insurance for your event please contact BTCV on 01302 388 883 as they can provide group insurance or visit www.btcv.org.uk
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