Safety Statement

Leixlip Tidy Town Association


Everybody in Leixlip Tidy Town Association (LTTA) is responsible for their own and their colleagues’ safety.  This Safety Statement is the volunteers’ commitment to their own safety and the safety of those they come in contact with while volunteering with LTTA.  In preparing this Safety Statement, hazards were identified, the risks to who might be harmed and how, were assessed, and the precautions needed were described.  This statement will be reviewed annually, when new work practices are introduced or when work practices change.  

Ensuring the implementation of safe practices rests with the Chairperson and Committee.  To assist in the delivery of safety policies the Chairperson will appoint a Safety Co-ordinator.  The responsibilities of the Chairperson, the Safety Co-ordinator and the individual volunteers for safety policy in LTTA are outlined below. 

The Responsibilities of the Chairperson are:

  • Provide a Safety Statement for all LTTA volunteers.
  • Ensure the volunteers are aware of the Safety Statement and accept their responsibilities outlined in it.
  • Lead by example in adhering to the Safety Statement provisions and always put safety of volunteers first.
  • Discourage the taking of unnecessary risks and ensure that new volunteers are informed on safety policy.
  • Ensure the provision of necessary safety equipment and accessories.
  • Appoint a Safety Co-ordinator.

The Responsibilities of the Safety Co-ordinator are:

  • Contribute to the production of the Safety Statement.
  • Be familiar with the contents of the Safety Statement and bring it to the attention of the volunteers.
  • Keep the Safety Statement contents under review and propose necessary changes to the Chairperson.
  • Investigate and follow-up on any accidents and report to the Chairperson.
  • Ensure that identified hazards are rectified insofar as possible.
  • Ensure a first aid kit is always close at hand.
  • Train a number of first aiders with a view to having one for each work team.
  • Ensure a fully charged phone with emergency numbers easily accessible is available.

The Responsibilities of the Volunteers are:

  • Familiarise themselves with the Safety Statement and work to its requirements.
  • Ensure that work clothing and footwear are suitable from a safety viewpoint.
  • Report defects / risks in equipment to the Safety Co-ordinator.
  • Report any minor accidents and ‘near misses’ to the Safety Co-ordinator. 
  • Do not attempt to lift or move items that might cause injury.
  • Dispose of cigarette ends and matches carefully and properly.
  • Take responsibility for their own safety and avoid being a danger to others through act or omission.
  • Put their own safety and that of their co-volunteers above all other considerations.
  • Ensure they are properly dressed and equipped for the task on hand – appropriate gloves, mouth and nose masks, goggles, ear muffs, hard hats, overalls, boots,
  • wellingtons.
  • Undertake a risk assessment before starting work. 
  •  Read the label and follow the instructions for any products used, e.g. chemicals, paints, detergents, solvents, lubricants, etc.
  • Ensure power tools and equipment are in good working order and operate them in accordance with the Instruction Manual. 
  • Always wash hands after picking / handling litter.
  • Wear hi-viz vests / jackets.

Statement of Intent

LTTA commits to ensuring that the health and safety of our volunteers will not be compromised or put at risk. Therefore:

  • Work practices will be managed to ensure the safety, health and welfare of volunteers.
  • Conduct likely to compromise health and safety will be outlawed.
  • Safe equipment and tools will be available.
  • Risks to health from machines, tools or substances will be minimised.
  • Effective protective clothing and materials will be provided.

Management of Hazards

The objective in accident prevention is to identify hazards and reduce or eliminate the potential for accidents.  A hazard is anything that can cause harm or ill-health.  Hazards may be physical, chemical, biological or human.  There are three steps in the management of hazards: identification, evaluation and action (i.e. elimination or reduction).

Identification:  All the potential hazards are identified and listed.

Evaluation:  Risk is the probability or likelihood of a hazard causing injury or damage.  Risk can be classed in two ways – by effect and by likelihood.  Each of these in turn can be considered in three categories: the effect may be categorised as slightly harmful, harmful or very harmful, and the likelihood may be categorised as unlikely, likely or very likely (see Figure 1).

Figure 1:  Risk Assessment Rating (Scale 1 to 9)


    Slightly        Very

Likelihood    harmful    Harmful    Harmful

Unlikely    1    2    3    Explanation: A hazard that is very

Likely    2    4    6    harmful and very likely to occur is 9 

Very Likely    3    6    9    times the risk of one that is only

                slightly harmful and unlikely to occur.

Action:  The Risk Management Process can be represented as follows:

Work Activities
Identify RisksMonitor
MonitorEvaluate Risks(as per Risk Assessment RatingIf RiskAcceptable
Implement Prevention / ControlMeasures

Managing Hazards and Risks

When a hazard is identified and the risk assessed, arrangements must be put in place to protect health and safety.  The long-term objective must be the elimination of the hazard at source.  Pending that, short-term steps must be taken to reduce the risk score to 4 or under (Figure 1).  

Short-term measures include:

  1. Temporarily suspending the operation
  2. Temporarily removing more susceptible volunteers from the location of the hazard (i.e. those with asthma from a dust or fume hazard)
  3. Using protective equipment and clothing.

Long-term measures include:

  1. Elimination of the hazard entirely.
  2. Reducing the risk from the hazard
  3. Containing the hazard by enclosure.
  4. Reducing volunteer exposure to the hazard.

Reporting Accidents

All accidents and injuries must be reported to the Safety Co-ordinator who will complete an Accident Report Form.  The Accident Report Form will include the date, time and location of the accident.  It will show the name of the injured person, the names of other volunteers in the work party, witnesses (if any) and the person reporting the accident (if different from the injured party).  The Report will carry a description of the accident, how it happened, what caused it and what happened immediately afterwards (i.e. first aid, taken to the doctor / hospital, taken home, etc.).  The Accident Report will be forwarded to the Chairperson who will deal with any consequences.

Hazard List – Equipment and Activities

The following hazards and associated risks are encountered by LTTA volunteers:

  • Road traffic – speeding, glare of lights, blind corners and recesses.
  • Mowers – back injury, loss of digits, cuts, flying objects.
  • Hedge cutters and strimmers – back injury, cuts, flying objects.
  • Ladders – falling while painting, erecting signs / bunting, checking bird and bat boxes.
  • Picking and handling litter – cuts to hands, diseases (toxocara, campylobacter, salmonella and many more from dog faeces).
  • Loading / unloading – handling heavy machines and equipment, large bags of clay, mulch, hedge cuttings, etc.
  • Manual handling / lifting – seats, planters, equipment, etc.
  • Trips / slips / falls – trailing cables / hoses, slippery river / canal banks, icy paths.
  • Electrical – damaged cords, plugs, extension leads.
  • Blower – dust, soil, mulch, compost, saw dust.
  • Spraying –handling chemicals, back injury, inhalation of fumes, dermatitis.
  • Chainsaw  – serious cuts to limbs.
  • Hand held drills – injuries to hands or feet.
  • Power washer (pull-cord / engine) – injury from water jet or dislodged objects.
  • Hand tools – lacerations, limb injuries.
  • Trailer –back and limb injury.

Each of the above is considered in detail below under the headings of Hazards and Risks, and Prevention Measures. Hazards and Risks are merged because the distinction between them is not always clear.

Road traffic

Hazards and Risks:

  • Traffic injury to volunteers, motorists, cyclists, pedestrians.

Prevention Measures:

  • Tidy Town groups should not work on roads with speed limits > 80 kph. 
  • Children under 14 should not work on roads.
  • Volunteers engaged in activities such as litter picking, hedge trimming, kerb edging and weeding should face the traffic (i.e. walk on the right side of the road).
  • Use safety signage with warning signs placed at each end of the stretch of road being worked on.
  • Wear hi-viz vests.
  • When working on traffic islands and roundabouts there should be a minimum of two people – one to watch the traffic while the other is working.
  • Be careful not to leave items (tools, implements, bags of litter) on the road or sticking out from the verge / footpath.

Mowers (both ride-on and push machines)

Hazards and Risks:

  • Entanglement, being struck by ejected objects, injury when handling blades or other maintenance tasks, manual handling risks if transported by trailer.

Prevention Measures:

  • When routinely passing areas to be mowed remove any loose surface objects.
  • Ensure all guards are properly fitted to the mower during use.
  • Stop and turn off the mower if there are people in the vicinity.
  • Check regularly for fuel leakage.
  • When refuelling shut off the engine and leave to cool.
  • Wear ear muffs, gloves and boots when operating the mower.

Hedge cutters and strimmers

Hazards and Risks

  • Back injury, cuts, eye injury from splinters, hit by flying objects.

Prevention Measures

  • Wear protective clothing, goggles, strong shoes and cutter gloves.
  • Ensure guards are properly fitted.
  • Turn off engine before attending to the machine.
  • Ensure helpers are at least two machine lengths away at all times.
  • Be aware of passing pedestrians. 
  • Refuel according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Always look out for the presence of electric wires and cables.

Ladders and buildings

Hazards and Risks:

  • Ladders moving or slipping, falls resulting in injury and possible death.

Prevention Measures:

  • Prevent ladder from slipping by tying at the top.
  • Ladders should extend at least 1m above the working point.
  • Make sure ladders are on level and firm ground.
  • Never place ladders where there are moving vehicles or electricity wires.
  • Extending ladders should have an overlap of at least three rungs.
  • Use portable scaffolds instead of ladders where possible.
  • Always ensure at least one free hand to grip the ladder.
  • Set ladders at a stable angle – ratio of 4:1 height: distance from base.
  • Never place ladders on fragile surfaces, e.g. PVC gutters.
  • A second person should hold the foot of the ladder to prevent it slipping – this is effective for ladders up to a height of 6m.
  • Never place ladders on unsteady bases such as barrels or planks.
  • Never use damaged or home-made ladders.
  • Never enter a derelict / disused building without permission and ensuring it is safe.

Picking and handling litter

Hazards and Risks:

  • Road traffic injuries, cuts from sharp objects and glass, unidentified canisters, clinical waste, syringes, contracting diseases from dog faeces (e.g. toxocara, campylobacter, salmonella).

Prevention Measures

  • Always use gloves. 
  • If cut or stuck allow the wound to bleed, wash with clean water and disinfect, dress

with sterile dressing.

  • Always wash hands before eating, drinking or smoking.
  • On public roads stay on footpaths and verges.
  • Always wear hi viz vests/jackets.
  • Ensure that rubbish left for collection is not a hazard to the public or to the collector.

Loading / unloading

Hazards and Risks:

  • Collision with traffic or pedestrians, injury from loads or objects falling.

Prevention Measures:

  • The vehicle for loading / unloading must be safely parked away from other traffic.
  • Adequate clearance must be provided around the vehicle.
  • There must be a safe exit path in the event of a load falling.
  • Loads must be properly tied down with nylon straps.
  • Ensure the load cannot move in transit.
  • When implements / machines are lifted out of a trailer ensure they are lifted correctly.

Manual handling and lifting

Hazards and Risks:

  • Injuries from lifting / bending, twisting, pushing, pulling, carrying a load.

Prevention Measures:

  • Keep back straight, use thigh muscles rather than back muscles for lifting.
  • Seek human or mechanical assistance.
  • Reduce leverage on the back by keeping the load close to the body.
  • Do not snatch at the item to be lifted.
  • Put the load down by bending the knees, not the back.
  • Never lift and twist your body at the same time.
  • Avoid lifting in constricted spaces.
  • Maintain balance while lifting.
  • Arrange the ‘load’ to the most advantageous position before lifting.

Trips / slips / falls

Hazards and Risks:

  • Falls due to wet and slippery surfaces, uneven ground and obstacles.

Prevention Measures

  • Keep work areas tidy.
  • Where ground is wet and slippery (e.g. river / canal banks) wear suitable footwear.
  • Ensure good lighting.
  • Fill in or level uneven surfaces.
  • Take care around manhole covers.
  • Cordon off slippery areas if not in use.
  • Do not clutter passages and walkways. 
  • Keep trailing cables / hoses along walls / fences.
  • Clear up spillages.
  • Keep tools and equipment tidy during use.


Hazards and Risks:

  • Electrocution, burns, injury.

Prevention Measures:

  • Report faulty or damaged equipment to Safety Co-ordinator.
  • Have damaged cables, plugs or sockets replaced by competent person.
  • Assume there are buried electrical cables when digging holes in pavements or near buildings in built-up areas.
  • Ensure tools used outdoors or in wet conditions have a proper transformer.
  • Use industrial sockets in wet environment.
  • Always check for electrical wiring and check ground clearance before passing or working with equipment under overhead wires.
  • Follow manufacturers’ instructions when using electrical equipment.
  • Ensure hands are dry before operating electrical equipment.
  • Use purpose made extension leads and ensure they are fully uncoiled to prevent overheating and possible fire.


Hazards and Risks:

  • Dust containing harmful or toxic particles can be inhaled. It can also cause eye damage.

Prevention Measures:

  • Wear a face mask when handling mulch, sawing or sanding timber, or using the blower.
  • Wear protective clothing and gloves.


Hazards and Risks: 

  • Toxic agrichemicals (herbicides, pesticides, fungicides) may be absorbed through the skin and may damage the skin on contact, resulting in dermatitis, back injury from knapsack.

Prevention Measures:

  • Treat all chemicals as toxic and high risk unless proven otherwise.  Read product labels and follow instructions.
  • Maintain sprayer in good condition and operate at proper settings. 
  • Do not spray in unsuitable weather to avoid drift.
  • Wear impermeable rubber gloves (washing-up gloves are unsuitable) and face protection to prevent splashes getting into eyes, nose and mouth or on the skin.
  • Wear overalls with full length sleeves and legs, and wellingtons.
  • Do not attempt to put knapsack on shoulders directly from the ground; use a raised platform. 
  • Wash gloves and overalls after use.
  • Where two or more sprays are used together, do not mix them beforehand; add them separately into the sprayer.
  • Wash sprayer thoroughly after use and ensure the washings do not get into a water course.
  • Rinse out the chemical container and dispose of it properly, put the washings into the sprayer.
  •  Never re-use chemical containers for other purposes.
  • Do not eat, drink or smoke while spraying or afterwards until protective clothing has been removed and hands and face have been washed.
  • Do not attempt to clear nozzle blockages by blowing or sucking.
  • If skin gets splashed, stop spraying and wash the splashed area thoroughly.


Hazards and Risks:

  • Cuts, bruises, amputations, falls.

Prevention Measures:

  • Never leave the saw idling and unattended.
  • Shut off the blade when moving location.
  • Walk with the blade behind you.
  • Never begin cutting with the upper half of the nose of the blade.
  • Do not use the saw above shoulder height or when off balance.
  • Ensure others are at least two saw lengths away from the saw operator.
  • Hold the saw firmly in both hands.
  • Wear goggles, ear muffs, protective clothing and strong boots.
  • Chainsaw operators should have specialist training.

Hand-held drills

Hazards and Risks:

  • Drill, electricity, entanglement, noise, vibration.

Prevention Measures:

  • Use clamps instead of hands to hold work items.
  • Unplug drill when changing bits.
  • Use ear muffs and safety glasses / goggles.
  • The drill should have a chuck guard.
  • The operator must have a secure, firm work base and be properly balanced before engaging the drill.
  • If dust is produced wear a dust mask.

Power washer (pull-cord / engine)

Hazards and Risks:

  • Injury from water jet or dislodged stones / grit.  There are specific dangers with electrical washers.

Prevention Measures:

  • Wear eye protection, water proof clothing and wellingtons.
  • Ensure hoses are properly connected.
  • Run hoses along walls / fences to keep walkways clear.
  • Never point the nozzle at another person.
  • Have the unit on wheels or on a trolley to reduce manual handling.
  • Wear ear muffs.


Hazards and Risks

  • Back injuries attaching / uncoupling, overturning.

Prevention Measures:

  • Maintain trailer to high standard with lights, brakes, safety chain, etc.
  • Park on a solid base for easy attachment.
  • Ensure easy operation tail gate mechanism

Hazard List – General

In addition to the earlier list, there are a number of non specific hazards that Tidy Town volunteers encounter. They include:

  • Water
  • Noise
  • Eye damage
  • Skin allergies
  • Weil’s disease
  • Lyme disease
  • Working alone

These are further considered below under the headings Hazards and Risks, and Prevention Measures.


Hazards and Risks: 

  • Drowning or injuries in deep water or silt, slippery or crumbling banks of canals or rivers, polluted water bodies.

Prevention Measures:

  • Work with other knowledgeable groups on the water body – anglers, water sports people, and local authority.
  • Check the depth of the water and for possible currents.
  • People wearing waders should be accompanied by a partner with a safety line.
  • Be conscious of the risk of Weil’s disease.
  • Do not touch your face, eat, drink or smoke until you have washed your hands and face thoroughly.
  • Clean all wounds and cover with a sterile waterproof dressing.
  • Have a trained lifesaver present if there is a risk of drowning.
  • Afterwards if feeling ill with flu-like symptoms see doctor immediately.


Hazards and Risks

  • Permanent hearing damage can result from excessive noise.  This occurs when the nerve hairs in the ear which sense and transmit sound to the brain are damaged.

Prevention Measures:

  • Wear effective ear protection.
  • Display safety notices where noise exceeds 85 dB.

Eye damage

Hazards and Risks:

  • Foreign bodies entering the eye from grinding, welding, sawing, sanding, chemical splash, dust from the blower, particles from strimmer, hedge cutters or lawn mowers, flying nails, splintering glass.

Prevention Measures:

  • Wear effective eye protection. 
  • Stay out of immediate area of risk when not involved in the activity.

Skin allergies

Hazards and Risks:

  • Dermatitis is an irritation or inflammation of the skin.  It can be an irritant or allergy and can be caused by detergents, allergens, lubricants, motor fuels, etc.

Prevention Measures:

  • Identify and label substances that are hazardous.
  • Wear gloves, face masks and other protective clothing as necessary.
  • Have water nearby for washing.

Weil’s disease

Hazards and Risks:

  • Rats, infection leading to Weil’s disease, possibly fatal.

Prevention Measures:

  • Before starting work cover any cuts or grazes.
  • If possible, implement a rat control programme.
  • Avoid water courses that might be contaminated with rat urine.
  • If a wound, scrape or rat bite is received wash with disinfectant and cover with waterproof plaster.
  • Get anti-tetanus injection or booster if injected previously.

Lyme disease

Hazards and Risks

  • Infected ticks, overgrown vegetation, tick bites, lowered immunity

Prevention Measures

  • Wear light coloured clothing so that the presence of ticks is obvious.                    
  • Shower immediately after working in a potentially tick infected area.
  • Check thoroughly for, and remove, any still adhering ticks.
  • If evidence or suspicion of tick bite seek medical attention immediately.
  • Mention the possibility of Lyme disease to the doctor.
  • Lyme disease is increasing rapidly.  If diagnosed early it can be effectively treated with antibiotics.  But it is difficult to diagnose and there is no definitive test so it often becomes chronic. It is very debilitating with symptoms such as fever, joint swelling, muscle pain, neurological effects and facial palsy.  Lyme disease should not be taken lightly.

Working alone

Hazards and Risks

  • Injury, isolation, loss of consciousness, assault.

Prevention Measures:

  • Avoid working alone if at all possible.
  • Carry a mobile phone.
  • Avoid isolated areas.
  • Ensure water is available together with any necessary medication.

First Aid

There should be a first aid kit and a trained first aider always available and only a trained first aider should attend to medical emergencies.

Sharps / needle sticks / eye splash

In the event of a sharps or needle stick injury the wound should be

  • Encouraged to bleed.
  • Washed immediately and thoroughly with disinfectant. 
  • Dressed immediately with a sterile wound pad. 
  • Splashes of chemical solutions or liquids of unknown origin to the eyes or mouth should be washed away immediately and liberally with water and eye solution.
  • If in doubt see a doctor.


In the event of impalement

  • Never move the casualty
  • Call the emergency services.
  • Do not allow the casualty to eat, drink or smoke.


In the event of amputation of a body part:

  • Put on clean disposable gloves.
  • Call the emergency services and request an ambulance.
  • Control bleeding by applying pressure and raising the injured part.
  • Apply a sterile dressing or a non-fluffy pad and secure with a bandage.
  • Treat the casualty for shock.
  • Do not allow the casualty to eat, drink or smoke.
  • Wrap the severed part in cling film or place in a clean plastic bag.
  • Further wrap this in gauze or soft fabric.
  • Place in a container of ice
  • Write the name of the casualty and the time of the accident on the container.
  • Give the container to the emergency personnel.