​​Here you'll find some basic information to safe working practices for volunteers helping with activities or community events on Western Bay of Plenty District Council owned - land, roads or facilities.

We love the energy and skills that volunteers bring and while we encourage voluntary groups to help out across the community, there are some very important matters to tick off before you set out.

Before the activity or event, you must discuss your plans with Council. This is to ensure the Health and Safety at Work Act (2015) is followed wherever the activity takes place on Council-owned land; in Council-owned facilities or on Council road corridors.

Council has the overall responsibility and duty of care for the health and safety of every person involved in such an activity. However, the Act does not exempt volunteers from taking their share of the responsibility. The organiser is responsible for the safety of volunteers and for assuring Council that you are aware of the hazards and the implications of taking part. 


Before the activity or event, you must contact Council to discuss your plan and gain approval for it to go ahead.

As part of your planning, it is important to walk around the potential work site and identify all the possible risks involved in the jobs you will be doing. It is also a good idea to do this exercise with the group.

Record the hazards and identify ways you can reduce the risk of these. These are your controls to protect you from the hazards. e.g. wearing sunscreen and a hat is a control to protect you from ultraviolet radiation. Ultraviolet radiation is the hazard. It’s also a good idea to keep a record of hazards - doing this will help ensure you put in place controls to mitigate any risk. This record is called a Hazard Register.

Some activities or events will require a Site safety plan, that must be approved by Council before you start work on site.

This plan should be discussed daily with all members of your group to ensure they know where they should be onsite and what they should be doing. This is often called a “Toolbox Talk”.

Council has a working relationship with Volunteering Bay of Plenty (VBOP) who are experts in volunteer management. VBOP provides advice, assists with the recruitment of volunteers, volunteer coordination on the day of the event and also matches volunteers with the appropriate groups or interest. VBOP can be contacted on 07 571 3714 or email tgacoordinator@volbop.org.nz.​


Any activity or event that affects a road corridor (road, footpath or berm) requires a Traffic Management Plan (TMP). The TMP is a legal requirement which ensures that hazards identified have preventative measures put in place to reduce the risk to motorists and people participating in the activity.

The TMP must be developed by a suitably qualified Site Traffic Management Supervisor (STMS) or professional traffic management company. This plan is then submitted through Submitica, an online application - www.submitica.co.nz.  ​Westlink BOP process and approve TMP applications on Council’s behalf. Allow 10 working days for processing.

The approved TMP may require the event organiser to provide trained marshals, signs, cones, proper reflective clothing or other gear.

Following the activity or event, Council recommends that the organiser hold a debrief and make note of any additional hazards or traffic issues that need to be rectified if done again.

Council takes traffic management seriously. If you have any questions, please contact Westlink BOP at tm@westlinkbop.co.nz or phone 07 577 4680.


If there is an incident where serious harm occurs to a person, ensure that the appropriate medical attention has been provided. Halt activities on site and inform Council immediately. This will allow Council to assess the nature of the incident and respond appropriately. Do not disturb the scene.


Teamwork is the key to any volunteer operation, so help each other and stick together as a group.

  • At break times and at the end of the day make sure all of your group and your equipment are together
  • Don’t work alone or wander off from your site
  • Set up a buddy system within your group. It is a great way to meet a new person and ensures your safety
  • Check weather conditions, personal preparedness and project goals.​​


  • ​Wear footwear and clothing that can cope with the conditions and terrain you will be working in. Sensible boots or shoes, warm clothing and in some cases, overalls are essential

  • Be Sun Smart: Sunscreen, a hat and wear appropriate clothing to protect you from the sun’s harmful rays. Remember to ‘Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap’

  • Have a First Aid kit available

  • Bring something to eat and drink. Working outside can be tough. If it’s warm weather, you’ll need plenty of water

  • Carry a mobile phone and give Council staff on site your number so that we can contact you

  • Take plenty of breaks and get help from your buddies if you need to do any heavy lifting

  • ​Make sure you have medication with you if you suffefrom allergies, asthma or other medical conditions. Let someone in your group know what to do if you fall ill

  • All safety equipment must be checked before you embark on your project

  • Ensure the tools you require are available anoperational and that your members are trained or experienced in their use

  • Only use power or mechanically driven tools if you have proper experience and safety equipment and have discussed the project thoroughly with your group leader.​

Disclaimer: This information is a guideline for safety only. Information on hazards and standards are subject to change at any time.

If you require further information or have any questions please phone our Customer Services Team on 07 571 8008 or visit your nearest library and service centre.

View this information in a printable PDF.

Page reviewed: 21 Dec 2017 12:23pm