Health & Safety Policy

Health & Safety Policy Statement


The Knox Community Gardens Society (KCGS) promotes a culture where health, safety and wellbeing are considered in everything we do.

We will actively identify and assess hazards and implement and review strategies to eliminate or mitigate risks to our members and visitors.


Safety is everyone’s responsibility.

The Committee provides direction, resources and support for the members’ health, safety and wellbeing.


Health safety and wellbeing issues will be addressed by the Committee in consultation with members.

Our Health and Safety Policy is implemented and reviewed through a consultative process.

Health & Safety Issues and Risks

Gardening is a relaxing and enjoyable form of exercise, but it can pose health risks.  If you’re careful, you can enjoy the benefits of your garden in good health.  Ignoring safety precautions and using the wrong tool for the job are common causes of gardening injuries.

In an emergency always call triple zero (000).

First Aid

The First Aid box is located in the clubhouse.  It is stocked with basic supplies and will be maintained by the Committee.

Emergency Contacts Sheet

In an emergency there is a sheet with information on the outside of the clubrooms.

  • If there is a serious incident call 000 (or try 112 for mobiles)
  • For Emergency Services, the address of KCGS is 51 Kleinert Rd, Boronia, 3155 Victoria
  • Nurse On Call 1300 60 60 24
  • Poison Information Centre on 13 11 26
  • Emergency Committee Members: John Faulkner: 0417 987 848 and Michael Brogden: 0438 568 425

Reporting Injuries and Incidents

An Accident / Incident Form is to be completed for all injuries and incidents where first aid was required or a dangerous incident occurs that needs consideration by the Committee.  Incidents must be reported to a Committee member.  The Committee will risk assess each incident.  Incidents (no names) and responses will be recorded in the Committee meeting minutes.

For serious incidents, emergency contact details are in the clubrooms on the wall near the fire extinguisher.

Managing Risks/ and Risk Audits

 Keeping the Garden risk free and managing risks is the responsibility of all members. 

The Committee will carry out hazard identification / risk audits quarterly and following an incident. 

Members identifying hazards or potential hazards can complete a ‘Safety Suggestion Form’ and hand it to a Committee member.  Safety Suggestion Forms are located in the clubhouse.

All hazards will be investigated by the Committee and reported back through their meetings.  

Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) in the BBQ area.

A member’s garden key will unlock it.

The following advice is given by the Health Direct website    Defibrillators | healthdirect  :=

“Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) can be used by anybody in an emergency.

A defibrillator is a device that uses electricity to re-start the heart or shock it back into its correct rhythm.  It is used when someone has a sudden cardiac arrest.  This is when the heart suddenly stops pumping.

The defibrillator analyses the heart rhythm and decides whether an electric shock is needed.

They won’t give the person an electric shock unless it’s necessary, so you can’t harm someone by using an AED.  It gives instructions through each step of the process. 

Each year, more than 30,000 Australians suffer a cardiac arrest.  If it happens outside a hospital, their chances of surviving are less than 1 in 10.

Giving the person immediate  cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)  and using an AED early on can greatly increase their chances of survival. 

The most important thing is to use the AED quickly.

Use a defibrillator whenever CPR is needed.  A person needs CPR if they are unresponsive and not breathing normally.  It can save someone’s life if they have a cardiac arrest.

The sooner you use a defibrillator, the greater the person’s chances of survival.

Dial triple zero (000) and ask for an ambulance if someone has had a cardiac arrest.

Remember, time is crucial. If someone is unresponsive and not breathing:-

  1. call an ambulance on triple zero (000),
  2. start CPR and
  3. use a defibrillator as soon as possible.

Anyone can use an AED.  The device will tell you what to do.  AEDs must be used in conjunction with CPR.

Make sure the area around the person is clear.

Don’t touch the person while you are using the AED because this could interfere with how it reads the person’s heart.

If necessary, the AED will tell you where to put electrodes (pads) on the person’s body.  

The device may deliver more than 1 shock.  The AED may instruct you to continue CPR after the shock.  Continue CPR until the ambulance arrives and a paramedic takes over.

Health and Allergies

Members are to work within their own capacity and not work beyond their limits.  

Each member is responsible for informing the committee of:-

  • pre-existing injuries or health conditions for which they may require assistance.
  • allergies which may trigger anaphylaxis – (e.g. bees, food, fungal spores etc.)
  • any  action plan they have, which tells them what to do in an emergency, including emergency contact ph. numbers.  
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  • need for an adrenaline autoinjector (e.g. EpiPen) which they possess.
  • any medication that they carry for emergencies, e.g. cardiac incidents.
  • any other critical info, such as susceptibility to epileptic fits, etc.

Note – please be aware we often share morning tea.  If you do have a food allergy, please supply your own food.

What should I do if someone is experiencing anaphylaxis?

Healthdirect advises the following: –

  • “Anaphylaxis is the most severe type of allergic reaction.
  • It can happen after exposure to certain triggers including foods, bites and stings or medicines.
  • Symptoms of anaphylaxis include difficulty breathing, swelling of the throat and collapse.
  • If someone is having anaphylaxis, use an adrenaline autoinjector (if available), call triple zero (000) and ask for an ambulance.
  • Anaphylaxis develops rapidly and can be fatal, so should it always be treated as a medical emergency.
  • If anaphylaxis progresses, it can lead to a dangerous drop in blood pressure. This is known as ‘anaphylactic shock’.
  • The symptoms of an allergic reaction will vary from person to person. They also depend on the type of allergen and where it entered the body (for example, eaten, applied to the skin or inhaled).
  • This immune response can affect many different body systems, including the skindigestive systemand most dangerously, the respiratory or circulatory

First aid for anaphylaxis:-

  1. Lay person flat and keep them still — do not let them stand or walk.
  2. If they are unconscious, place them in the recovery position.
  3. If breathing is difficult or they are vomiting, allow them to sit with legs outstretched, but not to stand or walk.
  4. Inject an adrenaline autoinjector if one is available.
  5. Call triple zero (000) and ask for an ambulance.
  6. Further adrenaline doses may be given if there’s no response after 5 minutes.
  7. Transfer the person to hospital for at least 4 hours of observation.

If the person is unresponsive and not breathing normally, start CPR.

If the person also has asthma, give the adrenaline autoinjector first and then the asthma reliever puffer.”

Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health

If you’re doing it a little tough right now, you can call: –

  • Lifeline – 131114
  • Beyond Blue – 1300 224 636
  • MensLine Australia – 1300 789 978
  • Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
  • Kids Helpline – 1800 551 800
  • Headspace – 1800 650 890
  • Domestic Violence – 1800 737 732

Some online resources:-

Mental health and wellbeing | Knox

Mental health and wellbeing hubs (

Mental health support | Coronavirus Victoria

Wellbeing and participation (

Manual Handling

Each member should be aware of their own capacity to carry out tasks, lift and carry weights and push and pull wheelbarrows and trolleys.

We have a four-wheel trolley, which is very easy to use and ideal for moving heavy items to and from plots.

When lifting the following procedure should be used:

  • Assess weight.
  • Ensure clear passage to carry.
  • Bend your knees not your back.
  • Keep spine straight.
  • No twisting or side bending.
  • Keep weight close to the body.
  • Ask for assistance.


  • Bend from the knees, not the back.
  • Work in a kneeling position, if possible. Cushion mats can be placed under knees.
  • Long handled hoes and weeding tools allow working from a standing position.
  • Watch where the free hand is placed if using tools to remove weeds.
  • Be cautious of objects near eyes.
  • Change position regularly to minimise strains in joints.
  • Vary the tasks to prevent repetitive strains injuries.
  • Long handled forks and shovels can apply extra leverage and reduce back strain.

Moving Mulch

  • Check that others are clear of the area when using a shovel or fork to fill a wheelbarrow with mulch.
  • Position the wheelbarrow when filling from the mulch pile to minimise the need for twisting your back.
  • Use a mask to prevent inhaling dust, fungal spores and other pathogens.
  • Alternate the tasks of loading wheelbarrows / moving the mulch / spreading the mulch to minimise repetitive strain.

 Tools and Equipment

Do not operate KCGS power tools or machinery or equipment unless you have been properly trained and the training register has been completed. Make yourself familiar with all the operating instructions and any PPE that is required.

Familiarise yourself with the operating instructions before operating equipment.

  • Always use appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the task.
  • Always select and use the appropriate tool and equipment to suit the task.
  • Always check your surrounds before using a tool or operating equipment.
  • Minimise tripping hazards associated with your task, (cables, placement of tools, hoses, etc.).
  • Don’t leave equipment or tools unattended.
  • Use signage or bollards to alert others that equipment is being used in the area.
  • Weather could play a part in operating equipment safely.
  • Put tools and equipment away and clean up after task.
  • Tools and equipment must be maintained in a safe working condition.
  • Tools and equipment that become broken, loose, cracked, blunt or have parts missing must be reported to the Committee via the Communications book for repair or replacement. Place a ‘ DO NOT OPERATE’ tag on the affected item.
  • There may be welding, friction cutting and grinding in progress DO NOT enter the workshop while this activity is undertaken.

Hazardous Material and Chemicals

There are hazardous material and chemicals used and stored in the Garden.  For example: cleaners, detergents, soil additives, potting mix and adhesives.  Each product will be stored in appropriate containers and labelled.  It is easy to forget that common cleaning product can also be a harmful chemical substance if an accident occurs.

 Whether a high or low risk hazard you must:

  • Be aware of the hazard associated with the product you are about to use.
  • Read mixing instructions and safety warnings on labels for that product.
  • Always use appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the task.


As asbestos poses a health risk during removal, packaging, transport and disposal, it is important that it is handled safely during these operations.

The Victorian EPA recommends that loosely bound (broken) asbestos be removed by a licenced professional, as the health risks associated with handling this type of material are greater than firmly bound asbestos.

EPA precautions must be followed for the removal of Asbestos:-

  • Wear disposal coveralls to prevent contamination of any clothing.
  • Wear a disposable hat and disposable gloves.
  • Wear a face filter respirator fitted with a class P1 or P2 filter cartridge, or P1 or P2 disposable respirator appropriate for asbestos.
  • Thoroughly wet down the material before you commence the removal process and maintain in a wet condition until it is packaged.
  • Carefully package asbestos waste, including any off-cuts, in 2 layers of polythene sheeting which is approximately 0.02mm thick. Completely seal up the packages with adhesive tape and keep to manageable size.
  • Smaller size asbestos waste such as tiles, off-cuts and dust should be placed in double polythene bags, approximately 2mm thick. These should be completely tied up or sealed.
  • Clearly label packages to identify contents.
  • Dispose of all disposable clothing.
  • Shower and wash your hair and thoroughly clean your hands and fingernails.
  • Dispose of these at an asbestos waste disposal site licenced by EPA Victoria. The closest Asbestos facility to KCGS is Lyndhurst Landfill, 890 Taylors Road, Lyndhurst.  Phone 03 9702 8111.  Monday to Friday, 7am to 3pm.


Vehicles are allowed within the garden and must be parked in the allocated areas.  There is also external parking available at outside the Kleinert Road entrance.  Be alert to vehicles which may be present outside the garden and take care.

Speeding in the area is not permitted we have small children and elderly members on site. From time to time two was traffic will be implemented when functions are taking place


There are designated areas such as sheds that are used to store materials in the Garden. 

When storing: –

  • Store fuels, pesticides, hazardous materials and chemicals in locked sheds. These sheds are to be labelled ‘Dangerous Goods’ to alert members and Emergency Services.
  • Store valuable equipment in locked sheds.
  • Stack, store and hang up tools and materials neatly so that they are easily accessible and safe.
  • Always keep walkways clear. Do not block doorways.
  • Place heavier material close to the ground.
  • Avoid storing dangerous material in the Garden plots.

Trips and Falling Hazards

Please be aware of tripping hazards and watch where you walk.  Be particularly aware of: –

  • garden bed edges with attachments such as nails or screws.
  • garden beds with netting structures.
  • gravel paths.
  • garden tools in use by a member.
  • uneven ground. 
  • wire – being installed or which has come loose.
  • overhanging plants.
  • plant cuttings or prunings.
  • uneven paving.
  • hoses and electrical cords (when running across the ground).

Use bollards or witch’s hats to highlight your working area.  

If you identify a hazard, you complete a ‘Safety Suggestion Form’ and hand to a Committee member for review and action.  Safety Suggestion Forms are located in the clubhouse.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

It is the personal responsibility of individual members to wear appropriate PPE for the task at hand.  This includes hats, gloves, masks, sunglasses, goggles, footwear, clothing and earplugs.


KCGS is strictly a no smoking area.  In the interests of others, please refrain from smoking.

Caring for Children

The Society has an endorsed Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy

We aim to create a child safe and child-friendly environment where children feel safe and have fun while participating in gardening activities with their families or carers or visiting as part of an education program.

Children are to be under adult supervision at all times.  Please ensure children’s toys and equipment are put away before leaving the Garden.  Educate children about any poisonous and dangerous plants in our Garden.


Be aware who is around and make yourself known to others in the Garden.  Ensure you lock the gate if you are the last person to leave the garden.


Pets should be on a leash at all times and under control by the owners.  If there is an incident with your pet – owner onus applies.  Please clean up and correctly dispose of pet droppings immediately.


There are signs around the Garden for your safety and directions.  Please make yourself aware of signs and follow them.  There may be other important notifications on the noticeboard located inside the clubhouse.

Stings and Bites

  • There are many creatures that call our Garden home and many will try and defend themselves by biting or stinging. The best advice is to not interfere with them.
  • Wear gloves while working in the Garden and take care before moving items that have been lying on the ground for a while, e.g. buckets, building material, bags of manure, garden stakes, mulch, etc.
  • Advise a Committee member if you sight creatures that are not usually in our Garden, e.g. swarming bees and especially wasp nests.
  • If stung or bitten try and identify the creature and if necessary seek medical advice.
  • Beware that wasps are becoming more common. They can be extremely aggressive if disturbed, sting and bite multiple times and can be lethal.

Poisonous / Dangerous Plants

  • All members need to be aware of poisonous and dangerous plants that are grown within the Garden. Also be aware that there are food plants that are dangerous or have poisonous elements.  Inquisitive children will pick flowers, leaves and berries.  Please educate children and others of the dangers of certain plants in our Garden.
  • Symptoms of poisoning include rashes, itching, vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach pains.
  • Exposure to some plants may cause irritation to eyes, mouths and skin.

If you suspect exposure to something poisonous or harmful, first aid measures include:

  • For skin contact – gently wash the skin with clear running water.
  • For eye contact – irrigate the eye with clear running water for 20 minutes.
  • For swallowed plants – remove any remaining plant pieces and wash out mouth.
  • Phone Nurse On Call -1300 60 60 24
  • Phone the Poison Information Centre on 13 11 26 for further information.

If you need to go to hospital, take a piece of the plant with you if you can.

If there is difficulty breathing, unconscious or fitting call 000 (or 112 mobile)

Heat Stress / Sunburn

  • Sun / Heat-related illness can be prevented.
  • Keep cool, avoid vigorous physical activity in hot weather, and drink plenty of water. Ice and water can be obtained from the clubroom fridge.
  • Take note of the weather forecast and minimise sun exposure during times of high UV on hot days.
  • Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide
    • Slip on sun protective clothing.
    • Slop on SPF 30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen
    • Slap on a broad-brimmed hat
    • Seek shade.
    • Slide on a pair of sunglasses.
  • Take breaks and rest up in the shade.
  • Never leave children or pets unattended in a parked car
  • Look out for others. Seek medical assistance if a person shows any signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
  • Heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency that can be avoided by following simple prevention measures.
  • Older people, young children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and people with chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes are most at risk.
  • During hot weather, drink water, stay cool indoors or in the shade, and restrict activity (especially exercise, renovating and gardening).
  • Call Triple Zero (000) if you or someone you are with shows any signs of heatstroke.

Harassment and Bullying

If problems / disputes occur between members, the Committee should be contacted to resolve the issue fairly.  Threats or abuse will not be tolerated.  Loud or rough behaviour prevents the enjoyment of others and must be avoided.

The Society’s “Code of Conduct” further details behaviour expected of members.

Tools, especially knives left in plots

Members are required to pack up and remove all tools, cutting implements, stakes etc when finished working on their plots.  It may be handy to have them on hand when you come to work on your plot, but they also remain accessible to children and/or become tripping hazards.

Need Help Just Ask

If you are fatigued, recovering from an illness or injury please ask another member for help

If you are unable to attend to your plot for any reason please contact the Committee

Herbicides and Pesticides

KCGS values all members’ right to garden without chemical exposure to themselves and the produce they grow.

Insecticides, fungicides and herbicides also harm the soil microbiome, which is essential in making nutrients available to plants and in breaking down organic matter.

The Community Gardens strongly encourages all members to use non-chemical alternatives in and around your plots to control weeds, perceived pests and plant diseases.

Refer to our Guidelines for Chemical Use at KCGS

If members use snail bait  please ensure that it is an “animal friendly” type.  Consider using natural remedies for slugs and snails such as beer traps, etc.


When most common plastics break down, they not only form long term pollution, but disintegrate into microplastics, often containing toxins, where they end up in the food chain which humans and other organisms eat.   Members are urged not leave plastic to deteriorate on their plots or in the soil.

Potting Mixes, Compost, etc.

Can harbour pathogens (bugs that cause disease), if dust is breathed in.  So remember to take precautions when opening bags of commercial material and moving dry compost.

Legionnaires’ disease | healthdirect advises:-

“Legionnaires’ disease is an uncommon, severe and sometimes life-threatening form of pneumonia, or lung inflammation, caused by legionella bacteria.

To prevent contamination with legionella longbeachae that may be in soil and potting mix, follow the manufacturers’ warnings on potting mix labels, including:

  • wet the potting mix to reduce the dust
  • wear gloves and a mask
  • wash your hands after handling potting mix or soil

People with Legionnaires’ disease usually get sick between 2 and 10 days after being infected.  The symptoms are similar to those of the flu.

It is important that you contact your doctor as soon as possible if you think that you have been exposed to legionella bacteria.

COVID & Other Respiratory Diseases

KCGS Committee actively monitors Victorian government requirements and ensures that as an organization we comply.

Our pandemic response is guided by advice circulated by Knox Council and VicHealth.

There is a great deal of up to date advice and community resources available on the Knox website:-
COVID-19 information | Knox

and from  Coronavirus (COVID-19) Victoria | Coronavirus Victoria 

Even if you judge yourself at minimal risk, please consider other members who are not.

Also, many of our members care for elderly and frail relatives.

Vic Health advises:-

“COVID will continue to be part of our lives.  Together, our role is to keep our families, communities, and health workers safe.

COVID is still a threat, especially to the more vulnerable people in our community.  Protecting yourself is the best way to protect them.  If you don’t get COVID, you can’t spread COVID.

Steps to protect yourself and others

These six steps can help you stay ahead of Covid:

  1. Wear a mask: a high-quality and well-fitted mask can protect you and others from the virus.
  2. have your COVID and flu immunisation up to date.
  3. Let fresh air in: open windows and doors when you can – it reduces the spread of the virus.
  4. Get tested: if you have symptoms, take a rapid antigen test.
    All Victorians are eligible to pick up two free packets per each household member per visit of rapid antigen tests (RATs) through their local council.
    Testing, especially with any symptoms, is critical to help with early detection and to protect others. It also allows for appropriate care and timely treatment.
  5. Stay at home: if you have Covid, you should stay at home for at least five days and until you have no symptoms.
  6. Talk to your doctor: if you are at risk of falling very sick, you may be eligible for Covid and influenza medicines – and early testing and diagnosis are important.
    Oral antiviral medications remain highly effective against all currently circulating Covid subvariants to reduce severe disease and prevent death.”

Ventilation Is Important

The Victorian Health Dept advises: –

Ventilation | Coronavirus Victoria

“Ventilation means bringing fresh outdoor air into an indoor space. Ventilation is important because COVID-19 is airborne.

COVID-19 spreads when a person breathes out very small droplets or aerosols that contain the virus. Aerosols can float in the air for a long time and other people breathe them in, spreading the virus.

Adding fresh air into a space reduces the number of aerosols in a room and reduces the risk of COVID-19 transmission from one person to another.

Good ventilation, along with other simple steps such as face masks and testing, reduces the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Check for good ventilation.  The more ventilation, the lower the risk of COVID-19 spreading.

  • Can you see open doors and windows, fans that are on, or streamers moving on air conditioning vents?
  • Is there an air purifier placed in the room?
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) monitors to indicate ventilation.

 The risk of COVID-19 transmission in any room increases:-

  1. if crowded,
  2. if close contact (for example, face-to-face conversation),
  3. if confined or enclosed,
  4. as activity increases breathing, (silent, speaking, shouting or exertion),
  5. the smaller the space,
  6. the more time it takes for new air to replace stale air,
  7. the longer people have been in the room or space.

Their website provides a guide “How to improve ventilation at home or in the workplace” and a video.

More information:

Information is available in other languages via the Knox Council website. 

Help is available from their Multicultural Communities Officer on 9298 8000 .

Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 13 14 50 or via and
ask them to call Knox City Council on 03 9298 8000.

If you have a coronavirus question and need a translator, call either:-

131 450 (TIS National), or

1800 675 398 and ask for the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services Coronavirus hotline.