Econet Risk Assessment [Base Document]
Assessment: Ground clearance, gardening

Scope: Activity [Task]

Assessment Summary: Ground clearance, gardening;

Ground clearance, gardening
Last updated: 02/07/2023 11:32:08
Typical uncontrolled outcomes
Cuts and sprains; puncture wounds; strained back; crush injuries; Toxocariasis; Toxoplasmosis; Phytophotodermatitis
Typical groups at risk
Volunteers; other site users; general public
  • Contact with hand tools
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Thorny material
  • Strains
  • Handling rubbish and waste material
  • Contact with hazardous plants
  • Animal faeces
  • Soil borne infections
  • Irritant or poisonous plants
  • Tools: See "General Conservation Activities" risk assessment.
  • Slips, trips and falls: See "General Conservation Activities" risk assessment.
  • Warn if thorny plants present and wear gloves and goggles when working with such plants.
  • Clear ground of thorns and other sharp objects before kneeling.
  • Thin shrubs from the outside to the centre.
  • Keep work areas clear and tidy, removing waste frequently.
  • Demonstrate safe lifting and handling techniques.
  • If available, use wheelbarrows and other handling aids to move heavier items.
  • Ensure routes for transporting tools and materials are kept clear.
  • Take frequent breaks when undertaking heavy or repetitive tasks such as when hammering or using slasher or strimmer, or alternate with other (lighter) task to reduce risk of strains and other injuries associated with vibration and repetitive movements.
  • Gloves should be worn when handling or clearing rubbish, use litter pickers when collecting litter.
  • Bags of rubbish should not be held close to body, if available use wheelbarrow or carry between two people.
  • Warn of possible presence of irritant plants. Wear gloves and long sleeves when working with or near irritant plants; wash exposed skin thoroughly after work.
  • Animal faeces should be removed using bags or burying where will not be disturbed, avoid skin contact.
  • Wear gloves when working in or handling soil.
  • Wear gloves when working with animal manure, avoid skin contact.
  • Always wash hands or use cleansing wipes or gel before eating, drinking or smoking.

Background Information

Phytophotodermatitis is a rash which occurs when the sap of certain plants comes in to contact with the skin and is then exposed to the sunlight. The rash usual appears after about 24 hours and may be an odd shape, appear bruised, or develop blisters. Plants that may cause the condition include members of the carrot and parsley family.
Last updated: 01/01/2012 00:00:00

Toxocariasis is a rare infection caused by roundworm parasites which is spread from animals (particularly cats, dogs and foxes) via their infected faeces. For most these larvae cause no symptoms and die within a few months. However, some may experience mild symptoms such as a cough, high temperature (fever), headaches or stomach pain. In rare cases, organs such as the liver, lungs, eyes or brain become infected causing severe symptoms such as fatigue, loss of appetite, breathing difficulties and blurred or cloudy vision in one eye.

Further information can be found on the NHS Choices website,

Last updated: 22/03/2021 13:13:32

Toxoplasmosis is a common infection that occurs in most birds and mammals, including humans. Signs of toxoplasmosis include mild flu-like symptoms, such as high temperature, sore throat and aching muscles. However, in most cases, toxoplasmosis doesn't cause any symptoms although serious complications may arise in those with weakened immune systems.

Congenital toxoplasmosis is also more serious and occurs when a woman becomes infected during pregnancy and passes the infection on to her unborn baby. This can result in the baby developing serious health problems such as blindness and brain damage.

Toxoplasmosis is caused by infection with a common parasite called Toxoplasma gondii which amongst various sources can be found in cat faeces and soil contaminated with infected cat faeces.

Further information can be found on the NHS Choices website,

Last updated: 22/03/2021 13:14:30

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   16 February 2024 18:40 T2302164464