Leaf It Out Risk Assessment

Risk Assessment for Volunteer Leaves Clearing (Leaf It Out)

Leaves clearing is generally very safe and it is unlikely that you will encounter any serious hazard or incidents.

We recommend that you:

  • Work in daylight hours
  • Outside of peak time (avoid rush hour)
  • Only go out if visibility is good
  • Avoid raking leaves uphill or into the roads as they will only wash back into the drain
  • Stay on the pavement – do not attempt clearing any drains from a verge on main roads.

Before staring your clearing, consider if you have all necessary tools for the task:

  • The correct Personal Protective Equipment – e.g. thick gloves, hi-viz vest, sensible footwear, weather appropriate clothing etc.
  • The correct equipment – broom, bag or bin, shovel, dust pan and brush etc. and know how to use the equipment
  • Consider all the risks and hazards in the work area – see below

Risks and hazards:





Measures to reduce effects in the event of an Incident


Broken glass, sharp object

Cuts and infections

·  Use shovel/dust pan and brush to pick up leaves.

·  Use suitable gloves.

·  Any needles found should not be picked and reported to the local council.


Seek medical attention where necessary. Thoroughly wash any cuts or abrasions as soon as possible, however minor.


Ground conditions

Sprain, muscle damage and broken bones

·  Avoid dangerous area

·  Wear suitable footwear, ideally with ankle support.

Thoroughly wash any cuts or abrasions as soon as possible, however minor. Seek medical attention for any serious cuts, bruises or strains.


Leaf sweeping

Manual handling, repetitive strain

·  Cease work if you suffer from condition that is likely to be exacerbated by activity.

·  Minimise repetitive bending.

·  Take care lifting bagged leaves that may be wet and heavy. Seek assistance or break into small, more manageable loads.

Seek medical attention where necessary.


Highways vehicle, bicycles, plant and machinery

Collision with moving traffic.

·  Avoid close proximity to traffic if possible.

·  Stay off the carriageway at all times.

·  Wear high visibility clothing if necessary

·  Do not work on the roadside if the speed limit is 40mph or over, on bends or anywhere with low visibility.

·  Always sweep leaves onto safe surface eg pavement or verge before collecting.

·  Be aware of any approaching vehicle.

·  Children should not work by a road-side.

Seek medical attention in the event of injury.


People, lone working

Physical or verbal assault

·  Be aware of aggressive or difficult people.

·  Withdraw rather than face conflict.

Seek medical attention in the event of injury. Report the incident to the police.


Adverse Weather eg: thunder storms

Various health issues

·  Cease work in inappropriate conditions.

·  Avoid working in extreme conditions.


Seek medical attention where appropriate.



Infection spread

·  Avoid working if you show any Covid-19 symptoms, or you are self-isolating or awaiting test results.

Book a test, follow medical guidance.



On completion of work ensure that you wash your hand thoroughly as soon as possible after finishing the task.


Waste disposal

Use your garden waste bin, if you have one.

If you own woods or fields behind your home, dispose leaves into those natural areas where they’ll decompose and continue the circle of life. 

In Autumn, you can create leaf mold by piling leaves in a corner of your garden, or spreading them over your garden and around trees and shrubs (but don’t touch trunks). In spring, turn the partly decomposed leaf mold into the soil. You can also add leaves to your compost pile.

Bag them and leave by the bin if you do not have a garden waste container.

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