Working on the A.T. involves inherent risk, but those risks can be minimized through planning, communication, training, and equipment. Every one is responsible for safety and the safety of our co-workers. Seeking and receiving the proper certifications or training for each Trail task is an essential component of safety.
The most important safety rule is this: Each volunteer has the obligation to say “No” and walk away from any situation they determine to be an unacceptable risk.
Basic safety equipment for all trail work includes a first-aid kit, sturdy boots, work gloves, long pants, and appropriate dress for the weather and conditions.
For work on and off the Trail, the best way to manage risk is to think ahead of hazards and work to prevent them, with things like personal protective equipment, or PPE.
If an accident occurs while performing volunteer work, remain calm, and refer to instructions found in your Volunteer Injury Packet.
Volunteers on the Appalachian Trail are enabled through Volunteer Service Agreements with the National Park Service or the USDA Forest Service.
Each time you volunteer, make sure you are listed on a volunteer roster, that you review dangers of specific tasks to reduce injury to yourself or others, and that you track and report hours and accomplishments.
In the event of an accident, this toolkit helps you file a claim. Each volunteer should carry an injury packet with them for any volunteer activity.
Trail Safe! is a unique safety program designed specifically for National Park Service trail volunteers. It’s based on NPS Operational Leadership Training, where the human factor of safety is explored.
All eight lessons should be watched in order. The sessions range from 18 minutes to 40 minutes, or can be “binge watched”in 3 hours.
Field Leadership Toolkit
Essential tools for for planning your next A.T. project from start to finish.
The job hazard analyses (JHAs) posted below provide information on potential hazards, safety gear, and safety recommendations for various types of trail work. They are intended as guidelines and may not be comprehensive. Trail Maintenance Tasks, Hazards, and Recommended Safety Gear and the JHAs appropriate to the work planned should be reviewed by all participants before every work trip on the Appalachian Trail.
Fundamentals: Activities in the Field JHA
Trail Work with Hand Tools JHA
Portable Electric Tools JHA
Walk-Behind Mower JHA
String Cutter JHA
Electric Shop Tools JHA
Food Preparation JHA
Crosscut Saw JHA
Riding Mower Operations JHA
Rock Work JHA
Hand Trail Tool Maintenance in Shop JHA
Office Work Station JHA
USFS Health and Safety Code Handbook
Interagency Hardhat Inspection Guide
USDA FS Tech Tip Hardhat Inspection and Maintenance
Volunteer Injury Packet
An authorized volunteer working on the Appalachian National Scenic Trail under the auspices of one of the designated Trail maintaining clubs or ATC is entitled to certain protections under programs managed by either the U.S. Forest Service (Volunteers in Forests) or the National Park Service (Volunteers in Parks) through an individual or a group volunteer agreement. These volunteer protections are especially important in case an injury occurs involving an A.T. volunteer while at work. These protections apply if the volunteer is following the guidelines and standards provided by the club, ATC, or agency
If an injury occurs, a volunteer should follow these five steps:
- Immediate care and First Aid
- Emergency treatment by a medical provider, if needed (inform agency authorities first, if possible.)
- Reporting of the injury to the appropriate agency authorities
The documents listed below make up a packet of information about dealing with injuries suffered by A.T. volunteer workers. We recommend that a paper copy of this packet be carried by each A.T. volunteer work leader. Volunteers should be familiar with the contents of this packet, and should complete specific local contact information on the instruction sheet before an accident resulting in injury occurs.
Volunteer Injury Packet
- Volunteer Injury Packet Image
JPG, 27.77 KB
- Volunteer Injury Packet Label
PDF, 22.26 KB
- Volunteer Injury Instructions
PDF, 39.75 KB
- Form CA-1-Report of injury
PDF, 209.04 KB
- Emergency Response Plan Template
DOC, 20.4 KB
Note: Form CA-16 cannot be posted online; contact your ATC regional office for this form.
Injuries should also be reported to ATC. Complete the ATC Accident Report Form and send to [email protected] and to your ATC regional office.