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Health and safety guidance for community litter picking

Thank you for volunteering to litter pick in your community. We want to support as many people as we can to help keep our district litter free and can arrange to provide equipment and rubbish sacks for your Community litter picking.

The safety of volunteers always comes first. Please ensure you have read and understood the guidance below before starting any litter picking activity.

On this page

Information for organisers

Volunteers are not working for or on behalf of New Forest District Council and are not covered by the council's public liability insurance.

It is your responsibility to assess the area for any risks before, and during, the litter picking session and only continue if it is safe to do so.

Please use appropriate safety equipment including a litter grabber and hi-vis jacket.

You must arrange for the sacks of litter to be collected by the council after the event from a specified location. Or you and your volunteers can each take a small amount of waste home and leave it out with your general kerbside waste for collection. 

Everyone litter picking must follow this guidance for your safety.

What not to do

Do not:

  • litter pick along roads with a speed limit of more than 30mph
  • litter pick along roads where there is no pavement or footpath
  • litter pick along the highway or highway verges
  • litter pick on steep slopes, cliff edges or in water courses
  • pick up fly tipping, needles or other hazardous objects, report it to us as soon as possible by Reporting a problem or by calling 023 8028 5000
  • lift anything that is too heavy
  • litter pick after dark
  • approach strangers or unknown dogs
  • enter any private land, including parish/town council land and Forestry England land without express permission.

What you should do

Before your litter pick:

  • let someone know where you are going and what time you expect to be back
  • charge your mobile phone in case of an emergency
  • risk assess the area you are planning to litter pick, are there any specific hazards you should be aware of.

During your litter pick:

  • always use the litter grabber to pick things up
  • wear appropriate clothing to keep you warm, cool or dry
  • wear appropriate footwear
  • keep hydrated
  • wear sunscreen
  • carry your mobile phone
  • be aware of other people, dogs and wildlife
  • cover cuts and grazes with a waterproof plaster
  • ensure under 16 year olds are supervised by a parent or responsible adult at all times
  • make sure you follow current COVID-19 and social distancing guidance
  • in an emergency, always call 999.

After your litter pick:

  • wash your hands
  • report any fly tipping or hazardous items, such as needles, to us as soon as possible by Reporting a problem or by calling 023 8028 5000.

Download the guidance for your volunteers

Community Litter Picking Health and Safety Guidance (PDF) [34KB]

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