by Alivia Acosta, ATC National Service Coordinator

Volunteer Injuries Call for Safety Front and Center

In Federal Fiscal Year 2020, while volunteer hours were down by half from last year, there were six known volunteer injuries, the same number as a year prior. Two injuries were on USFS lands and the remaining were on NPS APPA or state lands. The majority of the accidents (4 of 6) were slips, trips, or falls resulting in broken ribs, fractured nose, twisted ankle, and broken elbow. Most of these occurred at the end of the day and serve as an important reminder to individuals and activity leaders to retain, if not heighten, attention to safety precautions. The other two injuries were due to tool use and included a tool blow to the leg that required sutures and a smashed finger.

Highlighting safety and hazards as a central component to any work trip is known to elevate awareness and good decision making. A library of Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) reference resources are found at Before taking on any respective job, volunteers on their own or with trip leaders’ guidance should review appropriate JHA(s). Request JHAs for activities not found in the library by emailing

When accidents happen, be sure to notify land managers and ATC, as soon as possible of the injury.