Blog - Pedal Progression

Bristol Train Cleans – risk assessment


Task / activity Trail Clean Location Bristol
Purposeful Adventure Bristol Trail Clean Trail Manager Bristol Council

Evaluation of risk (refer to bottom of this template)

RISK Likelihood
Severity LOW

It has not happened for a long time, is known to be infrequent and is not likely to happen.


It may be less regular but is still recognised as being likely to happen.


It may happen regularly, or it could be a usual or common occurrence.


There would be minor injuries to persons or some slight damage to property.  Environmental impact resulting in minimal environmental damage in both the short- and long-term.


It would probably cause serious injuries, or persons would be off work for over three days due to their injuries / substantial property damage.  Environmental impact resulting in damage contained within site boundaries but requiring prompt remedial action, e.g., fuel spillages.


The result could be a fatal accident or multiple injuries / major property damage.  Significant environmental impact resulting in off-site damage or long-term environmental issue, e.g. pollution of watercourse, contamination of land etc.




What are the hazards?


Who might be harmed?








Initial risk (without controls) What controls are required? Residual risk Action by
Severity Likelihood Risk Rating Severity Likelihood Risk Rating
Stationary Volunteer Trail Cleaners being struck by a moving object. E, V, P, O. Being struck by other walkers, runners & riders using the trails during a trail clean.


Being struck by vehicles in car parks and on fire roads.

M M M Liaise with and obtain permission from landowner/trail management company and agree date, time and area of the trail clean.

The Trail Clean will be clearly communicated in advance to all trail users through social media and by verbal notice and signage at the trail head and or visitor centre.

Trail Cleans will be organized and supervised by experienced and competent members of the Trash Free Trials Volunteer Ambassador Team.

All volunteer walkers, runners and riders will receive a safety briefing prior to the trail clean. The briefing will identify the type of trails within the forest/centre and location of the trail cleans.

Walkers, runners and riders unfamiliar with the location will be grouped where possible with volunteers who have knowledge and experience of the trails at the venue.

Trail Cleans will by default be carried out on Blue running & MTB trails, walks will take place on short to medium routes and around the visitor centre and carpark.

Hi Viz clothing must be worn in car parks.

Any trail cleans on running or MTB trails of ‘RED’ grade will be led by a qualified and professionally affiliated guide (MIAS MBL2 etc.)

No trail cleans will take place on ‘BLACK’ grade or above trails.

Trail Cleaning will only take place on long, wide, non-technical climbs with good vision such as fire roads (but not on short climbs or single track), at the top of climbs, at viewing points and at the bottom of downhill sections away from the trail exit.

Rubbish will only be collected from the sides of the running and MTB trails. Volunteers will not stop in the middle of these trails.

A trail clean supervisor will be positioned at the rear of the trail clean to warn both the approaching walkers/runners/riders and the trail clean volunteers either verbally or with a whistle.

M L L Trail Clean Leader. (TCL)
Colliding with stationary object E, V, P, O, En. Trail clean volunteers stopping too suddenly if spotting litter when moving and causing another volunteer or trail user to collide with them.








Hitting a tree, fence or other stationary object.

M M M When stopping to pick up litter that is spotted whilst moving the walker/runner/ rider that ‘spots’ the litter will:

·         Make it verbally clear that they plan to stop.

·         Identify a safe place to stop at the side of the trail.

·         Before stopping ensure that no one is behind them.

·         Ensure that they do not move back on to the trail until it is safe to do so.


Make Sure that Volunteers have the correct equipment, experience and skills to use the chosen trails.


Risk of Exposure or contact with a harmful biological or chemical substances or plant life, puncture wounds & manual handling. E, V, P, O. Exposed skin becoming damaged, irritated or infected as a result of exposure to COVID-19, Corona Viruses, rat’s urine (Weils Disease), stinging or poisonous plants, dog faeces (Toxocaracanis) or sharp edges. M M M Volunteers are advised to collect easily accessible ‘clean’ lightweight single use plastic litter only.


Suitable puncture resistant gloves must always be worn and where possible arms and legs should be fully covered.


Any cuts or breaks in the skin should be covered with a waterproof plaster before putting on gloves.


The preferred hierarchy for picking up litter is:

·         Litter Picker. (Straight into bin bag)

·         Gloves.

No item of litter is to be picked up with bare hands.


Volunteers are advised to avoid touching their face with the gloves during the trail clean and to clean their hands thoroughly after removing their gloves before eating or drinking.


Volunteers are to inform the trail clean leader of any items of hazardous or large items of waste and this information will be recorded and passed on to the landowner or trail manager to allow them to have it removed by specialists.


Weather Conditions E, V, P, O, En. Sunburn, insect bites, dehydration, hypothermia.

Extreme Weather, snow, flooding, high winds

M M M  

Trail clean leader is to review weather forecast 7 days ahead of the planned trail clean and liaise with the landowner or trail manager at least 48 hours before to ensure that the weather conditions will be suitable for the trail clean to go ahead.


Advice on weather conditions and the appropriate action to be taken by volunteers to be notified in advance on social media outlets.


Weather to be checked on the day of the clean and potential hazards are to be brought up in the safety briefing.


Checks to be carried out at the safety briefing to ensure that volunteers have the correct equipment to suit the forecast weather conditions. Water, layers, sun cream etc.


Always plan trail cleans to maintain a safe distance away from bodies of water.

Personal Protective Equipment E, V, P, O. Failure to wear the correct equipment could lead to serious head injuries, broken bones, eye injuries, sprains, cuts, burns, skin irritation, bites, Lyme disease, anaphylactic shock, hypothermia. M M M Helmets, eye, knee and elbow protection should be worn by Mountain Bikers.


Suitable footwear and gloves should always be worn.


Ideally walkers, runners and bikers should cover lower arms and legs, if skin is exposed please ensure sun cream is applied along with insect repellent and avoid walking through long grass to minimise contact with ticks.


Always check the weather in advance and ensure that you take the appropriate equipment and bear in mind that weather conditions can deteriorate quickly at altitude.


Report any accidents or bites to the trail clean leader.


Slips, trips and falls on the same level. E, V, P, O.  

Walking and running trials have rough, undulating tracks with uneven surfaces, challenging climbs and tricky descents. MTB trails contain technical challenges with unsurfaced single track with steep flowing sections.


Expect Mud, roots and rocks.


M M M Always stick to the designated and waymarked trails and follow all signed trial diversions.


Avoid using mobile phones and tablets whilst moving on the trails, stop and read signs erected by the trail managers and always look forward on the route to spot potential hazards on the trail ahead.


Wear suitable footwear when walking and consider off road ‘studded’ shoes when running. Riders should ensure that they have suitable tyres for the conditions.






Forestry Works/trail diversions and farming operations.

E, V, P, O, Env.  

Possible contact with large plant, moving machinery, tools plant and equipment.


Contact with Electric fences, injuries from farm animals and trespass.


M M M Trail Clean leader is to liaise with the landowner or trail centre management team to identify the location of any trial diversions and/or forestry works and factor these into the agreed areas of the trail clean to be communicated to the volunteers in the safety briefing.


All volunteers are to stay on the defined and waymarked trails, obey signage and use approved stiles and gates and stay clear of fences and animals.


Where possible MAPS should be issued to clearly show defined boundaries to avoid trespass.


Damage to the environment E, V, P, O, Env.  

Fire, disturbing nesting birds/animals, leaving rubbish behind.


M M M  

No fires, BBQ’s etc. will be allowed at any time on the trails. In extreme weather conditions care must be taken not to create sparks.


All volunteers must stick to the waymarked trails and avoid walking in long grass or disturbing bushes.


All rubbish collected must be stored securely so as not to fall out of the bags whilst in transit. All empty bags are to be secured to prevent them blowing away.



Violent/aggressive behaviour E, V, P, O.  

Aggressive behaviour towards volunteers by other trail users, members of the public or landowners

M L L  

Ensure effective communication measures are in place to make all key stakeholders aware that the trail clean is taking place.


Withdraw rather than face conflict.


Do not work out of sight of the group.


Trail Clean leader to have mobile phone to report incident to the relevant authorities.


Young Persons E, V, P, O.  

Persons with less experience may not understand safety briefing or how to implement control measures fully.


M M M All persons under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian (over the age of 18) M L L TCL
Emergency evacuation E, V, P, O.  

Remote locations of trails can make it difficult for the emergency services to get access to casualties.


M M M Trail Clean Leaders will be carrying fully charged phones, ideally there will be access to different networks. Trial Clean Leaders to liaise with landowners or trail centre managers to establish locations of communication dead zones.


On larger trail cleans and in case of signal failure, the trail clean leader will be carrying a radio that connects to the Trash Free Trails Trail Clean sign-up tent at the trail centre.


In the event of an accident or incident, the injury will be assessed and where possible treated on the trails. Where the trail user is not able to safely make their way back to the trail centre (head injuries etc.) the trail leader will identify the nearest trail way marker and notify the trail centre for assistance. In critical emergency situations 999 will be contacted.


The number for the trail centre and the location of the nearest Accident and Emergency will be communicated to the volunteers in the safety briefing.


Volunteers will be asked to notify the trail clean leader (confidentially) of any existing medical conditions which may need attention during the trail clean.




Assessor Position Signed Date
Stan Townsend Head of Sustainability S. Townsend 10/07/2021


Review the risk assessment at regular intervals or when there is reason to believe that it is no longer valid.

Reviewed by  

Review comments

Review dates


Evaluation the risk

  1. Aim – reduce the risk to low if possible.
  2. List the hazards associated with an activity à   estimate (L, M, H) the potential severity of the hazard (refer to definitions in ‘severity’ column) then estimate (L, M, H) the likelihood of it occurring (refer to  

               definitions in ‘Likelihood’ row) à do this before and after controls are identified.

  1. Results:
  • Combined risk = LOW: the activity does not require further management attention beyond the standard ‘good practice’ controls included in the Construction Health and Safety Plan (or Environmental

Management Plan), site rules and relevant procedures / guidance.

  • Combined risk = MEDIUM: the activity could be significant and management control is important. Manage through Method Statements and or other management plans or procedures specific to the project.

Additional training or resources may be required.

  • Combined risk = HIGH: deemed to be significant and senior management control is of a high priority. Consider design changes. Best Practice measures should be adopted. Manage through Method

Statements and or other management plans or procedures / instructions specific to the activity plus specialist knowledge and planning.  Note that higher risks may require more effort (and costs) to control.