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Health and Safety

If you are in a serious emergency situation right now, dial 111 

We take seriously the health, safety and wellbeing of everyone involved in ecological restoration with PFK. If you have experienced any kind of accident, incident or near miss, we want to know about it so that we can improve processes, PPE and education to minimise or remove the risk of such incidents happening again. 

Knowing the risks you might encounter during your activities and taking steps to reduce those risks is the best way to keep yourself and others safe. This page is designed as a resource for volunteers to find our health and safety information all in one place. If you feel we are missing anything here, please get in touch by email and let us know so we can improve the information here. 

Click here to read the Pest Free Kaipātiki Health and Safety Commitment Policy.


Click here for information for Reserve Groups. 

Incident Form

Part of our commitment to health and safety involves being informed about any accidents, incidents or near misses that might happen while you are out and about volunteering.  This enables us to identify any areas where we could improve on process or practice. 

If someone has an accident, incident or 'near miss' while volunteering, tell us about it using 

this form.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What sort of risks might I be exposed to while volunteering in Kaipātiki? 

​You’ll find more information below about these risks including   - weather  - using poisons  - safe tool and trap use  - general first aid situations like trips, stings and sprains  - working in different terrains like wetlands, near cliffs or at heights  For a full explanation of all the risks and actions to mitigate them, please read the Volunteer Safety Plan.

What clothing and equipment should I bring with me on the day? 

Depending on the activity or weather, consider wearing or bringing: 

  • Long pants and long-sleeved shirt to cover skin 

  • Covered shoes or boots 

  • Sunhat 

  • Sunscreen 

  • Water bottle 

  • Gardening gloves (if you have them) 

  • Hi-vis vest (if you have one) 

  • Rain jacket 

  • Clothing appropriate to the season (e.g. warmer layers in winter, sun protection in summer) 

We have some PPE available to borrow at the PFK Tool Shed, including gardening gloves, dust masks for woolly nightshade control, high vis vests, safety goggles, and nitrile disposable gloves. 

  • Gloves are a must for working with rat poison, traps or ag-chemicals including herbicide gels 

  • Dust masks are useful for working with woolly nightshade or under dusty material like large quantities of tall ginger or arundo grass.  

  • Safety goggles are a must for moth plant control if you are pod plucking with vines above head height 

  • Long sleeved clothing is useful for moth plant control to prevent sap getting on the skin (old is best as it stains) 

  • Gloves that are close fitting are best for DOC 200 trap use to avoid accidents due to lessened  hand dexterity 

Are there different guidelines for working in risky terrains like around slips, in wetlands or near cliffs? 

Volunteers should not be working in risky situations or on unstable terrain. The coordinator of the event should do a site inspection prior to the start of work and inform participants of areas to avoid in a verbal briefing during collective action, or in advance for independent volunteers.  

You can review relevant hazards in this summary sheet to help you identify risks. If you feel there are safety risks while undertaking work, move away from the area and focus on a different task or location where risks are not present. 

What do I need to know about working with traps, poisonous herbicides and predator baits? 

If you are using herbicides and baits for the first time, or the first time in a while, please read the guides on Using bait stations, as well as unique hazards associated with predator control volunteering in our Predator Control Hazard Sheet and guidelines on herbicide use for pest plant control.

The trapping and baiting techniques we use in Kaipātiki are relatively simple and easy for anyone to do. It is important, however, to learn how to use pest devices or poisons responsibly and safely by reading and following the guidelines closely and learning from an experienced person. 

Make sure bait is securely locked away in a closable container made of heavy duty plastic away from children and pets, always dispose of bait responsibly by double bagging and putting in your general rubbish collection. Keep track of bait at ALL times. Use gloves when handling bait or touching your bait station or traps.  

Please refer to the guides on our website for how to control pest animals.

Could my dog, pet, or child eat rat bait or a poisoned animal carcass? 

The bait stations PFK recommend keep bait inaccessible to children, pets and other nontarget creatures. Never simply leave bait blocks in a roof space or dish somewhere and share this message with your neighbours who may not know better. 

Lockable stations that pin down bait inside are not a risk to pets. If bait is not secured, predators can carry it off and hoard it. If a dog dug up such a cache, they would receive ‘primary poisoning’. This is 100% avoidable by using the correct hardware and keeping track of your bait blocks.  

CONTRAC is a single feed bait. DITRAC is a multi feed bait. If a non-target animals such as a cat or ruru/morepork consumes a rat that has been killed due to poisoning, there is a minor risk and this is termed secondary poisoning. Single feeds pose a higher risk of secondary poisoning, multi feed has a significantly reduced risk.  

The good news is an animal would have to eat many dead carcasses in a single day to feel ill effects. Dogs typically don’t consume rats, however cats will scavenge.  

If poisoning is suspected, Vitamin K is the antidote from a vet. If you are still concerned after the safeguards above, consider keeping a close eye on pets during the first pulse when you use CONTRAC or only use DITRAC but you must keep up with the recommended replenishment and refresh schedule. Feed you cat well over this period, and don’t let pets roam alone in reserves. 

What should I do if I hurt myself, or get an insect bite or sting? 

Please report to the coordinator of the event straightaway. They or the designated first aider will administer first aid and advise on next steps. 

If you have an allergy or any health condition, please let the coordinator know at the start of the event and ensure you carry a personal epi-pen if you require it. 

Please when you are safe and recovered, please use our Accident, Incident and Near Miss Register.

What should I do if I think something is unsafe or I see people doing something risky? 

Please report to the coordinator of the event straightaway. 

Who is responsible for supervising children who attend events? Can they join in the same work as the adults? 

If the whole whānau wants to attend an event, please connect with the coordinator and ask what sorts of tasks will be appropriate for the children. It is the responsibility of the parent(s) to supervise their children’s behaviour and safety throughout the event. 

What do I need to know about visiting private property? 

Beware of any dangers, dogs or other issues on site; do not enter if there is a risk.  

Always do door knocking in pairs. 

If you do not get permission from the owner or receive a response, leave immediately. Do not stay and look around or deviate from the most direct path to the door or away from the door Do not collect any material from the site. Leave a friendly note in the mailbox. 

Check with occupant/owner to ensure children /pets are restrained and under control during your visit and will not be at risk if others are using herbicides at the same time. 

For Reserve Groups

Anchor 1

Auckland Council requires a Safety Plan to be completed and submitted to the ranger at least once every two years. Please use this form to submit your plan. 

Please remember to complete a site inspection before every event, and give a safety briefing to the working group. Here is a safety briefing outline that you can follow. 

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