Safety Considerations

Thumbnail for [node:title][user:name]Ensuring the safety of life and property is critical. By reviewing your project for possible hazards and educating your volunteers about safety, you will minimize the chances of personal injury or property damage. Always have a first aid kit on hand and a phone to call 911 if necessary.

The safety tips below may be useful while on site at an outdoor project. Please advise your volunteers to take these precautions, where applicable.

  • Wear sunscreen.
  • Drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Remain hydrated!
  • Wear appropriate safety items such as gloves, goggles, dust masks, safety vests, and sturdy closed-toed shoes.
  • Watch out for sharp or dangerous objects such as broken glass or needles. Don’t ever pick these items up. Have volunteers stand by the object(s) while another gets the project leader, team leader, or CSO representative. Be cautious around bio-medical waste if encountered.
  • When finished with tools, be sure to put them in an appropriate place and with the points down. Please do not leave tools lying around as someone may be injured. Clean your materials/equipment before you leave.
  • If children are present, please watch them closely to be certain they are not playing with dangerous/inappropriate items.
  • If using a ladder, make sure that all the rungs are intact. When on a ladder, have a spotter. Make sure you are going up the ladder on the right side and do not stand on the top rung of the ladder. If using scaffolding, always have a spotter. Stay away from any electrical feeds.
  • Do not intentionally inhale chemical/gaseous fumes. Be on the lookout for poisonous insects, snakes, scorpions, etc., and keep your distance from them. Turn rocks away from you, not toward you. (Critters like to hide under them!)
  • Please do not wander away from the project, volunteer group, trail, or area where you are working.
  • Please report all incidents immediately to the project or team leader.

Tell volunteers where they can find the first aid kit. Whether indoors or outdoors, make sure to monitor and encourage safe behavior!

Know the Physical Address of the Site

When dialing 911 from a cell phone, the 911 call center may not be able to pinpoint your exact location. Always know the physical address of the service project, and be able to relay it to the 911 dispatcher. You or another volunteer/staff person may want to greet the emergency responders and direct them to the person needing assistance.