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Safety Tips

Please follow these tips to be sure your organization’s work is safe. Remember: A road is a dangerous place to be. Every worker should possess these qualifications.
  • Mental alertness and good common sense
  • Good physical condition, including sight and hearing
  • Sense of responsibility for safety of others and self
Plan Ahead
  • Conduct at least one safety meeting prior to the first pickup in each year.
  • Carpool to the work site to keep the number of cars to a minimum.
  • Park the cars off the road as far away from the pavement edge as possible.
  • Keep the vehicles on the same side of the highway as the workers.
  • Be aware of all known allergies of volunteers before they participate.
  • Provide appropriate and adequate adult supervision for young people.
  • in litter pickups; one adult per eight participants between the ages of 12 and 15.
  • Provide a first aid kit at each pickup site.
While You Work
  • Erect the orange safety signs (LITTER PICKUP AHEAD or SHOULDER WORK) before you begin the pickup and remove them when you’re through.
  • Work only in daylight and in fair weather. Discontinue work in inclement weather, especially when motorist visibility is reduced and roads are wet or icy.
  • Pick up one side at a time when clearing a multi-lane highway with a median.
  • Beware of visibility problems.
  • Be prepared for any unexpected behavior by motorists.
What To Avoid
  • Stay alert for stinging insects and noxious weeds (poison ivy) and avoid them.
  • Pay special attention when handling broken glass. Be careful not to sit or kneel on it and use care when placing it in a bag.
  • Stay away from bridges, retaining walls, construction sites, open water that could be dangerous for workers.
  • Avoid hazardous materials, heavy or large objects.
What to Wear
  • Wear an orange or fluorescent safety vest so you can be easily seen. Wear it to the pickup site so you will have it on from the moment you leave the car.
  • Heavy gloves
  • Heavy leather boots or shoes
  • Bright hat
  • Insect or tick repellant
  • Pants and long-sleeved shirts
Safety Do Nots
  • DON’T Pick up litter on the highway or close to the edge of the travel lanes or on any medians. Stay on the right-of-way facing the traffic, and stay with your team.
  • DON'T Skip the safety training or safety tips before starting the work. Make sure EVERYONE gets the same message about the rules, especially the late arrivals !
  • DON’T Pick up litter in construction or maintenance sites, in intersections, or on bridges or overpasses, or on slopes with riprap stone. Leave that work for MDOT or the town.
  • DON’T Play around or do any thing that will distract passing drivers or other volunteers.This work you are doing is serious business and no place for racing, horseplay and other distractions.
  • DON’T Work during peak travel times when highways are carrying high traffic volumes. Maine DOT or the town may help identify suitable times.
  • DON’T Participate in litter pickup while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol or allow others in your group to do so.
  • DON’T Overexert yourself. Take breaks and drink plenty of fluids.
  • DON’T Bring small children along. No child under 9 should be in the pickup area.
  • DON’T Pick up materials that appear to be hazardous, such as syringes, or anything toxic or questionable. Notify Maine DOT or the town of any such materials following your cleanup.
  • DON’T Compact trash bags to gain more room, especially if there are broken or jagged items.
  • DON'T Go in areas with poison ivy, poison oak, tall grass. Avoid old logs, snakes, ants, etc.


This page last updated on 6/27/13