skip to content

Contaminated land and contamination – from acids/alkalis, metals, solvents, gases, asbestos, microorganisms, toxic, flammable and/or explosive substances, radioactive substances. If your work will put you into direct contact with contaminated land, increasing the risk of occupational diseases or injury, you must include a complex list of control measures explaining what you will do to reduce this. You must also include an action plan of what you will do if contamination does occur, outlining alternate arrangements in the event that you cannot continue with your work.  In all cases you should gain information about the site you are working at before leaving Cambridge.

Hazard Description and Personal Vulnerabilities
  • Include here whether your work is to assess or will include direct contact with land identified as contaminated for example collecting soil samples from polluted sites.
  • If your work focuses on environmental media; drilling, collecting, analysing where the land around you is contaminated then you will need to ensure that you are thorough with your threat description and most importantly with the control measures.
  • If relevant, include whether the site has been previously used for an industrial process as it may well be contaminated and give rise to health risks.
  • Previously-developed land may be found to be contaminated by Asbestos. Abandoned industrial premises, former waste disposal sites (including those reclaimed for agricultural or amenity use etc.) and other derelict or unused land may potentially be contaminated by buried asbestos to some degree.
  • You should consider that contaminated land could lead to contaminated food and water – research whether this is problematic where you are proposing to go.
  • Do you have any personal vulnerabilities that will increase your risk of harm caused by polluted land, for example, a skin condition that may be aggravated by particular substances?
Control Measures (actions to reduce risk level)
  • List in your assessment what equipment you will use to protect yourself from contamination for example, protective gloves, boots, mask and overalls worn to reduce the risk of contact with harmful substances.
  • Give details of any relevant training that you have received for working on contaminated land or handling harmful substances.
  • It will be useful to include any experience that you have gained through working on contaminated land and what measures you used to reduce risk previously.
  • You may also wish to include what you will do to avoid areas of contamination altogether or explain that although you are working in a contaminated area the work you are doing will not put you into contact with any harmful substances.
  • If the biggest risk from contaminated land is the likelihood of polluted food and water list any measures you can take to combat this, for example, take local advice about places to eat that are safe. Take water purification tablets or drink bottled water only. See also Food and Drink in Health.