Health and Safety

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This link takes you to a full index of all issues covered by our policies and advice. The rest of the page focuses on a selction.

Tenants - Safety Tips   

Is YOUR Plot Safe?

incident report form

beware of the flowers, cos I'm sure they're gonna get you, yeah - John Otway

plants that can be dangerous, including parsnip and tulips - what to look out for and what to do if affected - RHS list

especially watch out for children near these poisonous plants - list with images.


First Aid Stations

The boxes are padlocked but can be opened with your allotment gate key. There are three stations at West Tarring and Chesswood, while the smaller sites have one. Inside each box are two bottles of spring water, a basic First Aid kit, a laminated poster with basic First Aid information along with a list of items contained in the First Aid case and in an additional plastic box. Creams and sprays are NOT included or recommended because of the risk of allergic reactions to these.

Additional items in each box include:

Each box also contains various plasters for small cuts and grazes, eye pad dressings, dressing pads medium and large, wound wipes (alcohol free) which can be used to wipe minor skin wounds, these can also be used to cleanse hands.

Please remember while on site that your safety (and your family’s) is your own responsibility.

Keep your plot tidy and stow away tools securely. Wear suitable footwear and clothes while working, especially if strimming or using other power tools.

Make sure children are kept safe and supervised.

Avoid possible burns by bringing the correct cooking tools for camp stove cooking or BBQ’s. Extinguish all fires properly and completely.

It is advisable to keep a few First Aid items such as plasters in your shed.

Report any usage of stock from First Aid stations to your overseer so that items can be replaced in a timely fashion.

Keep a mobile phone on your person when on-site.


First Aid is the FIRST response to an injury or condition. If you are unsure or unable to help, please call out to others who may possess the skills to deal with the situation. If the casualty requires hospital treatment, providing they are conscious, ambulant, and compliable with this they may be driven to A&E. But if their condition deteriorates then an ambulance/paramedic should be called.

First Aid is an extensive subject but a lot of it is common sense! Please do not call ambulances for minor problems such as splinters or small cuts. If you wish to learn more about First Aid, visit: St John’s Ambulance at or British Red Cross at



Dynamic Risk Assessments(Point of Work Risk Assessments)

From time to time WAM may be involved in work where a risk has to be assessed on site at the time. Records of what was discovered and decided will be kept here for future reference.

Manual Handling when making deep beds: this involves using heavy beams which should be lifted by two people with straight backs on to a suitable trolley (one kept at Cwd stores). When in place, they should be secured asap to avoid falling hazards and if small adjustments are needed that can be made with a crowbar and not by hand. Se also

Using hired diggers: instructions will be given by the hiring company on how to use the machinery and these should be passed between volunteer drivers under supervision by a WAM representative. Cones should prevent access to pedestrians when the digger is being used and members of the working party involved should co-operate in identifying possible hazards from uneven/unsuitable ground then keep a safe distance from the maximum length of the working arm.


Bites and stings



2) If you are bitten by ticks and get Lyme disease. According the NHS “if you've been bitten by a tick and it's still attached to your skin, remove it as soon as possible To do this:

Frankly, as ticks can be as small as a poppy seed, you may not see them anyway. You are most likely to meet them in unkempt long grass so the best solution is not to have any. Prevention is better than cure. If you inherit long grass and are clearing it, wear boots, trousers and gloves.

3) If it gets infected. Whatever the bite or sting, wash your hands first then wash the wound in soap and water. If it starts to swell beyond a local red bump, seek advice. Don’t scratch it with dirty, earth-covered hands whilst on site. If necessary ask for medical wipes from the first aid kit.
Of course, we do get occasional visits from non-native species, escaped from banana boxes. On the day this was written a wasp spider or ‘false widow’ was found at Humber, which has ‘venom’, but it normally only causes pain, not fatalities, so long as the bite does not become infected. If it looks very colourful, walk round it and ask advice. We found it immediately on google and just left it alone.


Spider bites may have two prongs whilst wasps and other stings have a single puncture. Bumble bees live on the ground and won’t sting but honey bees might of you annoy them.  In that case, you may see a barb still attached to your skin. recommend that you “scrape it out sideways with something with a hard edge, such as a bank card, or your fingernails if you don't have anything else to hand. Don't pinch the sting with your fingers or tweezers because you may spread the venom. ( Wash it gently.

The biggest mistake with bees and wasps is to try to swat them away. They see that as an attack and fight back. Stand quietly and let them pass. If you are not a flower than they won’t pay you much attention. This linkmay help:

Just occasionally, bees from a hive may swarm. The same applies - don’t panic or interfere, but in that case ring 07899 877329 (John Scrace) or 07790 204817 (Jon Barker). Bear in mind they are private volunteers not a 24 hour paid  service. They could be asleep or eating. One they know about the swarm, someone will come and collect them to take them away.

If you find a wasp nest in your shed, inform you overseer. Likewise rats and mice.

Avoid mosquito bites by keeping your water butt covered and not having a dirty, stagnant pond.

Horse flies are the most painful common bite. On warm, sunny days, you can cover up and use repellent. It’s a big hairy, ugly looking thing but you may not see it if you are busy pruning or weeding. If the wound looks like a cut  and really hurts, it may have been a horsefly. It takes longer to heal than most and must be washed to prevent infection.

More information from


Plants that can affect your skin or are poisonous etc-


What to do if you find asbestos on your site

Asbestos was commonly used on allotments for many years and sometimes turns up in large sheets, dug into the ground, sometimes in broken pieces. It is invariably the white, not the more dangerous blue or brown variety, but even white asbestos is harmful if not handled properly and colour alone can be misleading when it is old and dirty. It is dangerous to break the material, releasing fibres that can be inhaled. If you find any you should leave it where it is and notify the overseer. It will then be removed by the working party, put in a blue bag for identification and taken away by the council for safe disposal. If you have to move it for any reason (but try not to) make it wet to reduce fibres, wear gloves and a mask (available from your overseer). If you have any at home, you might care to read this detailed information sheet or this web site.


Using weed killer and pesticide on site (added 16th January 2017)

Good basic advice and guidance on the legal situation is available from

There are two levels of guidance here

1) As a private tenant

2) As a member of the working party

As a private tenant you can use on your own plot any weedkiller or pesticide that is available through an ordinary retail outlet, preferably one of our site shops, and intended for garden use. Be careful to follow the instructions, don’t allow wind to carry spray on to any neighbouring plots or common areas and do not apply more often than recommended. Wash your hands under a tap afterwards but don’t allow any to get into the water troughs.
Be very careful if you order any on line, as some of the products sold will only be suitable for professional use. If the product is ‘professional’ it requires a certificate for use then doing so as an unlicensed amateur can involve unlimited fines - very serious money.  A farmer was recently fined £220,000 and prison is also possible. How do you know which of the stronger liquids you cannot use without a licence? It is not always very obvious, but if it says 'garden use' it is almost certainly OK and if it says ‘professional, agricultural and industrial’ it certainly is not so don’t use it. Don't be tempted to use stronger liquids to kill allotment weeds more quickly or efficiently. They are not necessary and are all illegal. Check the small print and try to read the label.  If you have an old store, this this web site tells you what is and is not legal under current regulations:


Using unlicensed chemicals or using any chemicals irresponsibly will lead to the loss of your plot.


As a member of the working party, you can use any non-professional liquid on public areas such as border and pathways, including exterior fence lines, provided you carry out a risk assessment first. That means checking that, at least, you can keep the public away at the time of spraying and do not allow people or animals near vegetation or ground that is still wet with spray. You should wear protective clothing as advised by the manufacturer (usually at least gloves and mask).
Unlicensed members cannot use ‘professional’’ liquids at all. Stronger solutions must be applied by a certificated operator, who will keep their own records of what is used in what quantities. All supplies of any professional product should be locked away with the petrol store, not in the general tool shed and not with the protective clothing. It should be inside a drip- tray (e.g. a recycled cooling box) to catch drips. Empty containers should be disposed by licensed waste management company but note that WAM is licensed.
If you use only the non-professional liquids we do not need to keep a formal record of what is sprayed for inspection, but it is good practice not to exceed the maximum dose or regularity stated by the manufacturer.


SBK brushwood Roundup regular


Roundup Fast Action 1 and 2


Chipco advanced Itax PY Provado
Weedol Plus Weedol PS PathcleaR  



What to do if you find Knotweed on your site



Volunteers - Health and safety

A first aid box is located in the same place as the tools. Anyone leading a working party MUST have access to this before work commences. Safety glasses, ear defenders, gloves and a hard hat are also provided and must be used when required



Chain saws (updated 24/4/2015)

Chain saws should only be used by individuals who have been trained. The site manager has a list of who can be called upon. For this purpose, protective clothing is provided (jacket, trousers, gloves, helmet and face shield etc) and MUST be worn, along with suitable footwear.



Strimmers and brushcutters should only be used with appropriate footwear and eye protectors. Safety glasses/visors are provided in the WAM toolshed. If you do not protect your eyes you are not covered by WAM's insurance.


advice on storing petrol

Note at Chesswood we have an exterior loackable cabinet and at Tarring we use the separate lockable shed by the gate.


risk assements: West Tarring - Chesswood - George Vth - Haynes Rd - St Andrews - Dominion Rd

I always carry a bottle of brandy with me in case I see a snake, which I also carry with me. - W. C. Fields.