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Because volunteers are so important to the Trash-Off program, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) suggests that certain safety measures be taken and offers other safety tips to Trash-Off participants. The following list is a SUMMARY of the safety tips offered by ODOT revised from ODOT’s "Adopt-A-Highway" program.
REMEMBER: You are working in a
dangerous environment a public highway.
Crew members should possess the
following minimum qualifications:
- Good common sense
- Good physical condition, including sight and hearing
- Mental alertness
- A sense of responsibility for the safety of the public and crew
- Must be at least 15 years old
- Knives, machetes, axes, etc., should not be carried by crew members.
- Do not attempt to compact (squeeze) trash sacks to gain room for more trash. Injuries from broken or jagged objects often result from this practice.
- Fill the sack with what goes in easily and then get another bag.
- Park all vehicles well clear of the roadway and at least ten feet from the shoulder’s surface.
- Keep vehicles on same side of the highway as volunteers.
- Work one side of highway at a time. Car pool to site to reduce number of vehicles.
TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND OTHERS, DO THE FOLLOWING:
- Whenever possible, face oncoming traffic while you work. Be prepared to move out of the way of vehicles in an emergency.
- Discontinue work in inclement weather, especially in times of reduced visibility and wet/icy roads.
- Work during daylight hours ONLY.
- Avoid overexertion. Drink plenty of water, especially on warm, humid days.
- Post a lookout to be aware of traffic situations.
- Have a refresher session on safety awareness each time a crew goes out.
- Do not cross traveled sections of roadway.
- Avoid using headsets! Headsets will interfere with hearing oncoming traffic or other potential hazards.
WHAT TO WEAR:
- Wear light-colored clothing and safety vest at all times when working on the highway right-of-way.
- Wear heavy gloves. Do not pick up discarded syringes or hypodermic needles.
- Watch your footing and wear substantial leather shoes or boots with ankle support. Stay off riprap and steep slopes.
- Wear a hat and long sleeves to avoid sunburn. On sunny days, you may wish to use sunscreen on exposed skin.
SOME THINGS TO STAY AWAY FROM:
- Do not touch or attempt to remove known or suspected toxic/hazardous substances. Notify the Department of Transportation or the local Police with the location of such items immediately.
- Be alert! Avoid areas where snakes may hide, such as tall grass, old logs, or heaps of brush. Be equally alert for stinging insects and especially fire ants.
- Avoid contact with poison ivy, poison oak and other noxious weeds.
- Avoid areas where herbicides have been applied the same day.
- Do not attempt to pick up items on bridges, in tunnels, or on overpasses. These areas are especially dangerous to pedestrian workers.
- Stay well clear of all mowing, maintenance, or construction activities.
- Do not enter roadway or shoulder areas, paved or unpaved, to pick up trash.