Safety Tips

Below are some safety tips and a checklist to use when cleaning your adopted stop. A printable version is also available.

Please follow these tips to be sure that your workday is a safe one.

DON’T

DON’T pick up litter in a road, close to the edge of a road, or narrow medians.

DON’T pick up broken glass, hypodermic needles or other medical waste directly with unprotected hands. Report suspicious items to law enforcement at (703) 558-2222.

DON’T pick up liquid or semi-liquid blood, soiled clothing or articles. Report these items to the Solid Waste Bureau Hotline (703) 228-6570.

DON’T work in the dark or stormy weather.

DON’T try to pick up or move heavy tree limbs and objects.

DON’T overexert yourself. Take breaks and drink plenty of fluids.

DON’T strain your back and/or knees when shoveling snow.

DON’T participate under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

DO

DO wear proper clothing and protective gloves when picking up litter.

DO report damaged signs or dangerous conditions to the Solid Waste Bureau Hotline (703) 228-6570.

DO use a dust pan and broom to sweep up broken glass.

Checklist Prior to Cleanup Effort

 
1. DISCUSS THE STOP TO BE CLEANED UP.
Note any areas of concern or potential danger. For example, high traffic areas.
 
2. SUPERVISE MINORS.
Make sure there is a responsible adult to supervise minor children.
 
3. GATHER TOOLS.
Make sure you have all the tools and materials you need to complete your work safely and efficiently (gloves, shovels, brooms, dust pans, trash bags, etc.).
 
4. GO OVER SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS:
a. Watch for cars and other vehicles.
Volunteers should watch out for vehicles in the area they are cleaning. Sometimes drivers may not expect to see volunteers.
 
b. Obey Traffic and Signal Lights.
Volunteers should obey traffic and signal devices and take caution in crossing streets.
For example, members in your group should cross the street at the intersection and through marked cross walks if these are available.
 
c. Handling Dangerous Litter.
Dangerous litter can be defined as objects that must be handled carefully to avoid cuts or injury, i.e. broken glass, razor blades, etc. These items should only be handled with “litter tongs” or swept with a broom and picked up with a dust pan.
 
d. Hazardous Items.
Hazardous garbage MUST NOT be handled by volunteers. Hazardous garbage can be defined as objects that contain harmful and/or corrosive chemicals (i.e. car batteries) or objects that may carry harmful bacteria or disease (i.e. dead animals, syringes, used condoms, etc.). For disposal of these items please contact the Solid Waste Bureau Hotline (SWB) at (703) 228-6570. The SWB will make arrangements to dispose of the hazardous garbage.
 
e. Access to a phone.
If possible have a cellular phone available and/or know where accessible phones are along the cleanup route in case of an emergency.
 
f. Wear safety vests.
Safety vests are available on a loan basis for groups cleaning in high traffic areas. Call us for safety vests.
 

Litter Pick-Up Safety Tips

  • Never reach blindly to pick up an item. Use a tool such as a rake or stick to “identify” the item before grabbing or picking it up. Members of the cleanup team should wear gloves.

  • Always use a tool to pick up dangerous litter. Dangerous litter should be swept with a broom and picked up with a dustpan.

  • Dangerous or unsafe litter should be picked up by a designated person. You many want to designate one person to pick up dangerous litter, especially if minor age children are in your group.

  • Pair up in teams. Working in pairs is generally safer than working alone. Doing so allows volunteers to look out for each other and for changes in their immediate environment.