Animal, Snake, & Insect Encounters

Practice Safety Precautions To Avoid Dangerous Encounters with Animals

When working outside along the roads, in the fields, in confined spaces and trenches, as well as at home, our employees are often confronted with creatures that may be hazardous to their health. Therefore, all of us should know the precautions to be taken to avoid being bitten or stung by animals and insects.

General Safety Rules

  • Avoid wild or stray animals. Leave them wild and admire them from a distance.
  • Call local authorities to handle animals (raccoons, skunks, coyotes, etc.) that appear to act strangely. They could have rabies.
  • Secure food sources to avoid attracting “unwanted visitors.” Dispose of lunch and food wastes offsite properly.
  • Remove any animal carcasses from the work area wearing gloves to avoid attracting predators.
  • If you are bitten, scratched, or stung by an animal or insect, immediately inform your supervisor and seek medical attention.

Insect, Spiders, and Ticks

Most insect bites are harmless although they may feel unpleasant and can transmit disease. Bee, wasp, and hornet stings usually hurt. Mosquito, flea, and mite bites usually itch. Ticks and other insects can also transmit diseases, such as encephalitis, Lyme Disease, and West Nile Virus.

To prevent insect bites and their complications, follow these safety precautions:

  • Don’t disturb or handremove nests; inspect your work area before starting work and use spray to kill the insects and nest. Ventilate confined spaces and engine compartments where insect sprays have been used.
  • Use insect repellents to spray exposed skin and clothing; follow instructions printed on the label.
  • Wear proper clothing, such as long pants and long-sleeved shirts; secure the cuffs with duct tape to prevent insects from crawling into your clothing.
  • Be careful when you eat outside because food attracts insects.
  • Be careful around pallets and yard items that have been in place a long time as these can harbor insects and their nests.
  • If you are allergic to insect bites, carry an emergency epinephrine kit and let your supervisor know about your allergies.
  • If you are bitten, clean the wound area with soap & water and apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to the sting until symptoms subside; seek medical attention for a severe bite or allergic reaction.

Snakes

Generally speaking, people do not like snakes. Most snakes are not venomous and in the United States, only about 12 people a year die from snakebites. The estimated chance of dying from a snakebite is approximately 1 in 10 million. Venomous or not, snake bites hurt. To avoid snake bites:

  • Stay away from snakes and be aware that they may be hiding under debris, rocks, logs, pallets, and other objects.
  • Watch for snakes sunning themselves on rocks and fallen trees.
  • Avoid placing your hands underneath objects, inside engine cowlings or into holes where a snake could be hiding.
  • If you see a snake, back away slowly and do not touch it; a snake’s striking distance is about ½ the total length of the snake.
  • When working or walking in vegetated or wooded areas be sure to wear high boots and thick pants. Walk around when possible.
  • If you or someone bitten by a snake, try to remember the color and shape of the snake’s head. Helpful to diagnose treatment.
  • Keep the bitten person still and calm. This will slow the spread of venom if the snake is poisonous. Clean the wound with soap and water. Do not cut or try to suck out venom like in an action movie. Seek medical attention as soon as possible.

As a Mechanic, Oiler, Surveyor, Operator, Driver, or Craftworker you work outside and there is little doubt that you will see an animal or snake lingering around your work area. Hurtful insects abound in warm weather. Follow these precautions to avoid an unpleasant encounter.

Always watch for snakes, insects, and animals when outdoors. Admire them from afar to avoid injury.

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