The following are guidelines on how to host a safe clean-up.

Covid Guidelines

  • Please inform all volunteers of the health and safety guidelines before, or when they arrive, for the clean-up. This can be done with a quick chat to the group/individuals at the start of clean up or by text or email in advance.
  • If you have any symptoms of covid-19 prior to the event, please do not attend the clean-up and ensure to get tested.
  • If you are the organiser of the clean-up and have any symptoms of covid-19, please cancel the event due to the risk that kit may have been contaminated and ensure you get tested.
  • Keep within the current government guidelines.
  • Please ensure two-metre social distance is maintained throughout the clean-up, in line with government advice.
  • Keep a list of attendees for contact tracing.
  • Please use hand sanitiser or wash hands with soap and water before and after the clean-up.
  • Make sure gloves/litter pickers are cleaned before and after the clean-up.
  • If you or any of your group members are vulnerable to contracting Covid-19, don’t hesitate to ask people to wear masks on the clean-up if it would make you and others feel more comfortable. Please note that many may wear masks for their own safety and the safety of others and this action should always be respected.
  • Always keep up to date with the latest Covid-19 guidelines and travel restrictions for your area.
  • If you are unsure of any of the above details or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us on

Health and Safety Checklist

  • Designate a Safety Officer and inform Volunteers who that person is and provide contact details of the Safety Officer.
  • Survey site beforehand to determine specific hazards and fill out the Risk Assessment document.
  • There should be a safety briefing before all clean-ups, especially for new volunteers.
  • Ensure that all volunteers are aware of who is responsible for the First Aid kit and where to find it.
  • Wear good gloves to keep your hands clean and Wear High Visibility clothing – Be Safe Be Seen.
  • Each group should have litter pickers and sacks.
  • Never touch litter even when wearing gloves: The gloves are provided to keep your hands clean. The best way to keep safe is to NEVER touch litter, always use a litter picker or a shovel and never put your hands where you cannot see them. Do not touch broken glass, syringes or unidentified containers. Report same to Safety officer. Keep yourself clean by not touching litter and by wearing gloves. Always wash your hands after clean-up and before you eating, drinking or smoking. Avoid touching face or eyes when working. Use the hand gel provided.
  • Road Traffic: Stay off roads where possible. High visibility clothing will help you be seen, but it does not make you bulletproof.
  • Manual handling: Take your time and don’t do too much. If something is heavy don’t struggle; ask for help.
  • Water Clean-ups: Never enter the water when working in a canal or river clean-ups. Never work on your own. Use the “Buddy” system.
  • Always ensure that a number of people are with you when cleaning canals or rivers.

                 i. Anyone using a kayak or canoe must be trained and experienced.

                 ii. Do not try to access areas that are difficult.

                 iii. Beware of Weil’s disease. If you feel flu-like, consult a doctor immediately

  • When working on the coast, watch the tide. In some areas, the tide may come in and cut you from the shore.
  • Caution: Persons under 18 years should be supervised at a ratio of at least one adult to every five children.
  • Any containers or drums that look as if they may be hazardous should not be touched. Keep people away and contact the coastguard or county council.
  • Ensure that one member of the clean-up has a working mobile and check that there is signal before starting the clean-up.
  • Report all accidents to the Safety Officer.

Downloadable Versions

Risk  Assessment document here.
Full document here.