Volunteer Safety Guidelines working in parks and reserves
The Health & Safety at Work Act 2015 requires that people doing volunteer work should have their health and safety protected because their wellbeing and work are as important as that of the employees and paid workers they work alongside.
The Act provides for the health and safety of all volunteers, but enforceable duties are only owed to volunteers whose voluntary work is regular and ongoing, and the work that is performed is an integral part of the business.
As there are many valued volunteers throughout the Clutha District who contribute towards the maintenance of parks and reserves in the area Council has put together this pamphlet as a guideline to ensure their safety and wellbeing. Council thanks you for your efforts and asks that you comply with these guidelines to ensure your activities are safe.
While working in parks and reserves there are some basic requirements you should undertake before getting started:
- Be sun smart – have sunscreen, a hat and appropriate clothing to protect you from the sun.
- Have appropriate clothing for the conditions.
- Bring something to eat and drink with you. Working outside can be arduous and warm weather means you need plenty of liquids.
- Don’t overdo it – take plenty of breaks and ensure that, by working as a team, you avoid heavy lifting and straining yourself.
- If you suffer from allergies, asthma, or have a medical condition make sure you have any medication you require with you. Let someone in your group know what the condition is and how they could help if you were ill.
- Have an appropriate first aid kit available.
Be a Safe and Happy Team
Teamwork is the key to any volunteer operation so help each other and stick together as a group. At break times and at the end of the day make sure all of your group and your equipment is together. Don’t work alone or wander off from the site, try to have a buddy system working within your group; it’s a great way to meet a new person and ensures your safety.
Volunteer work is supposed to be fun and rewarding for everyone. Sensible planning of events and projects is essential so that everything runs smoothly and safely. Checking on weather conditions, personal preparedness, and project goals is the responsibility of everyone in the group and this will ensure the success of the project you are to undertake.
- Before you start your project or event you will need to discuss thoroughly what you are going to be doing with a Council staff member or head of the Reserve Management Committee. They will assist and advise you on your project and where necessary may provide you with a hazard management plan. They may indicate areas that are dangerous and are ‘no go areas’, or indicate areas of interest that should be left to avoid damage and explain why.
- If a site is out of bounds for safety reasons stay well away from it.
- If you are working in the road reserve you will need to contact Council about getting special equipment for your safety and may require a traffic management plan.
- Where a hazard plan is necessary that plan should be shown to all members of your group to ensure they know where they should be onsite and what they should be doing.
- In some cases your hazard plan may have conditions attached which you may be required to read and sign as an acknowledgement that you have understood those conditions.
Safety Equipment Guidelines
A hazard plan requires safety equipment to be checked before you embark on your project and that all of the things you require are available and operational and that you know how to use them. You should only be using power or mechanically driven tools if you have the proper experience and safety equipment, and you have discussed this aspect of your project thoroughly with your project contact person. Please read Worksafe’s “A guide to safety with chainsaws” which is accessible online before operating a chainsaw (see Council/your contact officer if you don’t have internet access).
Working at Height – Safety Mitigations
Working at Height – Safety Mitigations are required if there is any potential for a person to fall from any height. Please read Worksafe’s “Best practise guidelines for working at height in New Zealand.”
|Tree Planting||Ensure volunteers are adequately briefed on the area. Appropriate boots or footwear, no sandals or running shoes|
|Garden Maintenance||Ensure volunteers are adequately briefed on the area. Slasher/ spade/ loppers/ secateurs: safety footwear, gloves. Scrubcutter/ weedeater: chainsaw helmet, safety footwear, eye protection, earmuffs. Chainsaw: approved chaps/trousers, safety footwear, gloves, earmuffs, helmet and eye protection (a special permit is required). Lawnmower: earmuffs, safety goggles.|
|Painting||No working above 3 metres. Ladders to comply with NZ Safety Standard. Electric tools: earmuffs, dust mask, isolating transformer, RCD, eye protection.|
|Litter Collection||Leather or disposable rubber gloves should be worn, or objects picked up using a shovel or spade. Avoid poor lifting techniques.|
|Minor Building||Electrically powered tools: Earmuffs, eye protection, isolating transformers/RCD|
Other Safety Issues
There will be projects where special safety conditions will apply, such as working on roadsides or at a height. The Council staff member or head of the reserve management committee you are planning your project with will advise you on the correct procedures and materials you will require for such tasks.
In the event of an incident where serious harm occurs to a person the accident must be reported immediately to the Clutha District Council. The project should be halted and your contact officer informed. This will allow the Council to assess the nature of the incident and respond appropriately with your group. Minor injuries need not be reported, but your group should consider how these sorts of injuries could be avoided in the future.
These guidelines are for your protection and enjoyment of your chosen project. Good luck with any projects you are involved in and thank you for your contribution.
Disclaimer:This information is a guideline for safety only. Information on hazards and standards are subject to changes at any time.