Adopt-A-Road Safety Guidance

Safety Guidance

The safety and well-being of Adopt-A-Road Volunteers are Anderson County’s greatest priorities as you work on the roadside. Anderson County requests that Volunteers in the Adopt-A-Road Program comply with the following Safety Guidance. The following list is not all-inclusive and is not a substitute for common sense; volunteer group coordinators and volunteers agree to make safety the first priority during Adopt-A-Road cleanups.

Alcoholic beverages and drugs are strictly prohibited.


Appropriate clothing and footwear shall be worn to protect your body from physical hazards and seasonal weather conditions. High-visibility vests and T-shirts, provided by the County, will be worn at all times when you are outside the transport vehicle within the road right-of-way. Each participant shall be provided with a pair of gloves for use to reduce the possibility of contamination.

Safety Training Video

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has a useful safety training video available for public viewing on YouTube. Find it at:
Anderson County’s Adopt-A-Road Volunteers are encouraged to view this video before participating in any litter pickup events.

Working near Vehicle Traffic

Groups shall only pick up litter from one side of the road at any given time. Groups shall not enter a paved or unpaved median or a traffic lane or ramp at any time to remove litter. Remain vigilant and be prepared for any unexpected behavior of motorists. Never assume a motorist sees you. Volunteers shall work within sight of at least one other person at all times.

Participants shall walk and work in a direction conducive to their safety. On narrow roadsides, participants shall walk and work in the direction facing oncoming traffic. Do not stand or jump on guardrails, drainage pipes, or concrete walls. Avoid all horseplay or demonstrations of any nature. Do not distract drivers.

Vehicle Operation

Care shall be taken to minimize the number of vehicles used to transport participants to a cleanup site. Seat belts for all occupants shall be available and use any time a vehicle is in motion, transporting your group and equipment. Vehicles shall be in proper working order and at least one of them shall contain drinking water and a first-aid kit (provided by Nobody Trashes Tennessee and the Anderson County Litter Grant program).

Safe Parking

Vehicles shall be parked in a safe place as far to the right of the fog line (or edge of pavement) as possible. Use good judgement! Emergency hazard lights shall be employed when vehicles are temporarily stopped or parked on road shoulders.

Safe Driving

  • Always be courteous
  • Obey all laws
  • Stay alert for potential accident situations.
  • Follow at least two seconds behind any vehicle directly in front of your vehicle to provide a safe distance between vehicles.
  • Proceed cautiously through intersections.
  • Be extremely careful when backing up a vehicle. As much as possible, park so that backing up is unnecessary. Consider every available alternative prior to putting a vehicle in reverse.
  • Back up slowly. Do not back up for long distances or around corners. Get out to see if the way is clear and/or use a spotter. Honk horn twice before backing up.
  • Keep vehicle windows clean and unobstructed.
  • Make turn-around and legal U-turns in safe places. Be sure there is adequate sight distance in all directions before making a turn.

Accident and Incident Reporting

Report to the appropriate law enforcement agency immediately all incidents that normal require notification. Information and documentation of all accidents and/or incidents shall be reported on the first business day after the occurrence to the Adopt-A-Road Program coordinator in the Anderson County Mayor’s Office. Volunteers shall work within sight of at least one other person at all times.

First Aid

Anderson County’s Litter Grant Program and Nobody Trashes Tennessee will provide each volunteer group with one basic first-aid kit. Each driver in the volunteer group shall know there the closest hospitals are and the routes to use to reach them. Volunteers should notify their group coordinator of all known allergies and any physical infirmities prior to participation.

Avoid overexertion and heat-related problems by drinking plenty of water and taking breaks when needed.

Infection Control

Precautionary measures shall be taken to prevent exposure to infectious diseases, such as hepatitis. Basic measures include the wearing of gloves, washing hands before eating, and avoiding contamination of the eyes and open cuts, scratches, sores, and rashes.

Possible sources of contamination may include: disposable diapers, hypodermic needles, spoiled food, and dead animals. All bio-hazardous materials, including medical wastes, diapers, spoiled food, and dead animals should be left untouched and in place. The group coordinator immediately will notify the County of any found public health hazards.

Hazardous Substances

Items that are suspected of containing hazardous chemicals shall be left untouched and in place and reported to the County or the proper authorities as soon as possible. Some of these substances may be in containers with identifying labels. Key words to look for on labels are: CAUTION, WARNING, and DANGER. Other substances may be unknown and transferred to identifiable containers such as milk jugs or bleach bottles. Use Common Sense! If in doubt, back away! DO NOT handle or attempt to move these materials.

Possible hazardous materials include: fertilizer, flammable solvents, concentrated herbicides, insecticides, or by-products of amphetamine or other drug laboratories. All hazardous substances and medical wastes (needles) shall be marked for County removal. Call the Anderson County Mayor’s Office if the situation is urgent. If it is an emergency, please call 911.

Collection of Litter

Litter bags shall be filled to capacity, taking care not to overload them. A completely filled bag can way between 5 and 30 pounds depending on the type and density of the materials. Cardboard that has been broken down can serve as a liner between the litter and the bag. The cardboard may help prevent bodily injury due to the possible penetration of sharp objects from the bags. All glass should be placed as much to the center of the bag as possible. Litter bags should never be slung over one’s back; they should be carried slightly away to one’s side.

Litter bags should be placed under and in front of guardrail posts, on top of and slightly away from a curb (as opposed to in the gutter), against a sign post, or possibly with other heavier bags or materials to keep them in place. Bags shall be grouped in piles when possible. Larger items can be grouped with trash bags in piles. Litter bags are not to be placed on the paved road shoulders or near traffic lanes, as they usually end up being moved by the wind and hit by traffic.

Litter “grabbers”

Litter picking “grabbers” will be loaned out on a limited basis by Anderson County. They should not be used to pick up materials weighing more than 1 pound, nor should they be forced into the ground when not in use. Materials weighing more than 1 pound should be picked up by hand.

It is expected that any litter “grabbers” and safety vests loaned to volunteer groups in advance of a scheduled litter pickup will be returned to the Anderson County Litter Grant Program no later than two business days after the litter pickup has been completed.

Miscellaneous Guidance

Awareness of your surroundings is paramount when working on the roadside. The use of personal music electronic devices with headphones is prohibited. Participants shall be mentally alert and physically prepared for uneven ground, slippery and unstable slopes, and for climbing and descending gradual slopes. Climbing steep slopes or grades is prohibited.

Groups shall stay well clear of maintenance and/or construction projects. Litter pickup in and around tunnel areas or on or under bridges is prohibited. Litter pickup shall be suspended during hazardous weather conditions or when poor lighting conditions exist.

Volunteers shall stay within sight of at least one other person at all times. If a stranger approaches any volunteer with inappropriate behavior, immediately contact a team member, group leader, or local law enforcement.