HOMEBeautificationAnnualTrash-OffSafety Tips
Contact Beautification

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:

  1. Good common sense
  2. Good physical condition, including sight and hearing
  3. Mental alertness
  4. A sense of responsibility for the safety of the public and crew
  5. 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.

HOMEBeautificationAnnualTrash-OffSafety Tips