Avoiding Backing Up Incidents – “First Move Forward!”

Operating heavy equipment or a motor vehicle is inherently a hazardous task, however, backing up creates more risk for incidents to occur. According to the National Safety Council, backing accidents have caused 500 deaths and 15,000 injuries per year since 2005. All too often unnecessary backing is responsible for injuries and property damage incidents. It is important to consider the hazards of backing and what can be done to mitigate them. Always look before backing.


Hazards of Backing

With increased blind spots, backing leaves drivers and operators at more risk for error resulting in damage or injury. The most serious incident occurring due to backing are fatalities of ground personnel. Between the years 2000 to 2010 OSHA found that dump trucks followed by semi-trucks and light pickups have been responsible for most of the on the job back-over incidents. Outside of struck-by incidents involving ground personnel, there are many other hazards to consider. A few hazards include:

  • Less visibility and more blind spots are present looking backward through and across a vehicle interior. Always look one more time through the rear glass before backing.
  • Fixed objects can be hidden or out of view in Blind Spots
  • Moving equipment or vehicles come from outside of mirror and side window view
  • Getting Caught Between equipment and fixed objects
  • Being Struck By or run over by equipment and vehicles
  • Uneven terrain (construction sites) changes the view angle of or distorts mirror views


Best Practices and Safeguards to Mitigate the Hazards of Backing

The single best way to prevent backing-related incidents is to eliminate backing as much as possible. Most work areas and tasks can be set up in such a way that backing up is not necessary. Preplanning of movements is another way to eliminate unnecessary backing. When arriving, back in at parking lots and shopping centers so your first move leaving is forward.

Look for pull through parking before choosing to park where your first move is backing up. Always try to position yourself so that you can easily pull forward out of a parking spot.

If you need to back up after being in a fixed position, complete a walk around of your vehicle. This allows you to be aware of what is in your blind spots prior to making a move.

Clean the lens of and use backup cameras on equipment and vehicles. Ensure the back up alarm is working if so equipped

Use a spotter often. When backing is necessary and there are hazards such as other ground personnel, vehicles, heavy equipment, or fixed objects in the area then a spotter is necessary. Always consider the additional hazards created when a spotter is used in a work area with moving equipment or vehicles. Stop if you lose sight of your spotter.

Mark fixed objects with flags, cones or posts so they are more visible to those operating a motor vehicle or heavy equipment in a work area.

Place protective barricades and signage to protect critical or expensive equipment from struck-by incidents.



Backing can often be eliminated or greatly reduced when proper preplanning is used. Elimination should always be the first choice before relying on less effective safeguards such as mirrors, backup cameras or a spotter.

“Average driver operates a vehicle in reverse about one mile annually, yet 25-30% of all vehicle accidents occur backing up.”

S&ME Geotechnical Engineers, Safe Driving Training Manual

Hearing Protection – Avoiding cumulative effects

What’s the risk of Noise Exposure? When you are exposed to loud noises over long periods of time, you are at an increased risk of losing your ability to hear. Once the nerves of the inner ear are destroyed or damaged from exposure to excessive noise, the damage is permanent. It does not matter where you are exposed to excessively loud noise. Exposures can occur at work, home, or play. Power tools, recreational equipment, car races, musical bands or headphones can all generate excessive noise.

How to Reduce Sound Levels:

Injury due to sound is additive. Reducing the number of sources and more importantly the amount of exposure time to noise will reduce the overall potential for lasting injury.

Sound levels can be reduced by standing back from operating equipment, closing the windows on trucks and heavy equipment, and performing very loud activities such as arc cutting and grinding outside on nice days.

Protection depends on a good seal between the surface of the skin and the surface of the ear protector. A very small leak can reduce effectiveness. Protectors have a tendency to work loose as a result of working and talking and must be reseated from time to time during the workday.

Types of Hearing Protection Devices: Never use cotton, stereo headsets, earbuds, or other makeshift hearing protectors. They do not protect your ears from noise. Use one of the following:

Earplugs: Inserted into the ear canal to seal out noise. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. They may be disposable or reusable. Never put dirty earplugs back in your ear. Injury, infection, and loss of hearing can result. The number on the side of the package is the number of decibels that are reduced by their use.

Earmuffs: Earmuffs are the best protectors. They have a headband with cushioned plastic cups to cover ears. Some can be clipped into hard hats to keep them with you all the time. Keep them clean and wiped down or they can get uncomfortable.

Double protection: Earmuffs and Earplugs should be worn in combination in high-noise areas when cutting pipe, arc gouging, chipping or crushing, and when stationary equipment, power tools and pumps are in use nearby in closed spaces.



“I don’t really need this PPE. Noise doesn’t bother me.”

We resist wearing hearing protection more than any other type of personal equipment. One of the most common reasons is we don’t think they really need it. But hearing loss is so gradual, even in intense exposures, that by the time you realize that you can’t hear as well as you used to, the damage has been done and can’t be reversed.

Three factors may be used to determine the level of noise:

1. If it is necessary for you to speak in a very loud voice or shout directly into the ear of a person to be heard, the noise exposure limit is being exceeded.

2. If you have ringing in your ears (tinnitus) at the end of the workday, or lying in bed, you are being overexposed.

3. If speech or music sounds muffled to you after leaving work, but sounds fairly clear in the morning when you return to work, you are being exposed to noise levels that can eventually cause hearing loss.

“Work hard in silence. Let your success make all the noise.”

Frank Ocean, American Singer-Songwriter

Slip, Trips, & Falls – Falls from the same elevation

OSHA reports slips, trips, or falls cause almost 20 percent of all workplace injuries. Second only to vehicle accidents. Slips and falls do not constitute a primary cause of fatal occupational injuries but represent the primary cause of lost days from work. A study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 22% of slip & fall incidents resulted on average a combination of 31 days away and restricted work for each case.

According to Workers Compensation statistics, falls account for 16% of all claims, 33% of costs associated with sprains & strains, and 26% of all injury costs. We often underestimate the high potential for injury impacts by not addressing slippery, wet, muddy, or uneven walking and working surfaces.

Nearly all slips or falls have one or more of these factors as a cause:

  • substandard walking surfaces
  • surface contaminants
  • footwear
  • walking style
  • attitude of the person

Proper housekeeping and adequate lighting of the working area and walking surfaces can prevent most slips, trips, and falls. Sometimes surface contaminants can be very difficult to recognize as a hazard and once the hazard is noticed, must be cleaned up to prevent any risk of injury. Wearing the proper footwear for current weather conditions, as well as the surfaces being traveled, is important to prevent slips, trips or falls, and reduce fatigue. Headlamps, headlights, and flashlights are auxiliary light sources, not primary ones; light plant, work lights and string lights are suitable jobsite light sources.

Common Causes of Incidents on Walking and Working Surfaces

  • Trips occur when an obstruction catches the worker’s foot and causes them to stumble forward. Tripping hazards include cords, demo debris, tools, uneven floors, improperly stacked/stored materials, and unseen or unexpected objects in weeds or under snow. These tripping hazards should be addressed and avoided. Pick up and put away tools and cords after every use. When in use be aware of the danger they could pose in a walkway.
  • Slips occur when a person slides on a surface, causing a loss of balance. Slipping hazards include wet, icy, greasy, and frozen ground. Always wear proper foot apparel, that is not worn or damaged, appropriate for the job, with safety toe and slip-resistant. Use absorbents to clean up spills.
  • Falls occur from an individual descending freely by the force of gravity. A fall can happen from any surface higher than four inches such as ladders, large equipment, trucks, through a hole and off platforms. The majority of falls occur from heights less than 10 feet, use precautions even at lower heights. Three-point contact is required to climb onto/off of equipment & trucks.

Safe Practices for Individuals

  • Utilize handrails or grab bars in areas where there are stairs or changes in elevation.
  • Use 3 points of contact when accessing equipment (1 hand/2 feet) or (2 hands/1 foot).
  • When wet or icy, take smaller steps and try to ensure your torso stays balanced over your feet.
  • Minimize distractions to remain alert to hazards. Avoid carrying items that block your view.
  • Remove obstructions from travel areas, such as cords, hoses, boxes, and tools.
  • Stay alert to parts projecting from machines or equipment.

“Honestly I’ve never seen anyone slip and fall on a banana peel. That doesn’t mean the risk doesn’t exist.”

Neil Patrick Harris, Actor, “How I Met Your Mother”

Proper Radio Usage – Radios are a tool to be used properly

Portable radios and CB radios are used in many different types of workplaces. They serve as an important tool and safeguard for individuals at a worksite. Radios allow for communication across long distances which can help ensure that work tasks are completed safely and efficiently. It is important to use these communication tools correctly in order to allow for messages to get across to the workers who need to receive them. In times of emergency, radio communication can make a real difference.


Tips for Using Radios to Communicate on the Job

  • Never use radios to joke around. The more unnecessary chatter on the radio the less likely someone else is able to get through with an important message. At the same time, someone is joking on the radio another individual could be trying to tell a coworker to stop work in order to prevent an injury from occurring.
  • Be clear when you speak. Be clear in both what you say and how you say it. Use terms or language that everyone involved in the task will understand what you mean. Be sure everyone involved in the task understands what to do when task specific directions are given on the radio. (For example- What are the specific actions if someone says to “shut it down”?). Unclear messages can lead to incidents and injuries. Was that “go” or “no”?
  • Confirm any messages received. A simple 10-4 or okay can do, but if it is for a critical task or you were unsure of the message, repeat it back to the sender. Repeating and confirming a message can help ensure that mistakes will not be made due to unclear communication. Never guess on the directions someone gave over the radio.
  • If excessive communication is being made on the radio in an attempt to understand the work task it may be appropriate to stop work and get the work group together to ensure everyone is on the same page. Too much communication on the radio can show that not everyone fully understands what to do which can lead to problems.


Alternates to Crowded Radio Channels

• If radio channels are “crowded” with many users then select separate channels for differing work groups. Limit it to 3 to 4 channels to a maximum on a job site.

• Does all communication need to be on a radio? Not really, but the method needs to be worked out before the work starts. One honk to start and 2 to back-up, or flashing the lights or possibly a thumbs up is all that is needed to convey routine movements and commands. If alternate methods are used it can leave needed air time for more important messages. Be sure all in the work group know the alternate methods to avoid confusion.



Communication is critical to the safety of everyone at a worksite. Radios play an important part at many worksites for workers to be able to properly communicate with one another. Consider the above tips for proper site communication and how it can be improved for everybody’s safety and productivity.


“Good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity.”

Nat Turner, 1700’s Social Reformer


Excavations and Trenching – Hazards and Controls

These safety rules are for your protection. Follow the practices below on the job site to keep yourself and others safe. Significant incidents leading to disciplinary action could result when safe work practices are not followed. Always document and complete the Fiore Daily Excavation and Trenching Inspection.

Hazards and Controls

  • Do not enter unsafe trenches.
  • Do not enter a trench with unprotected hazards, such as underground utilities.
  • Trenches & excavations must be inspected daily by a trained and authorized competent person.
  • A competent person must be on site throughout the duration of the excavation.
  • Trenches & excavations shall be evaluated after storms, excess rain, significant vibration and when conditions change.
  • When trenches are four feet deep; test for possible hazardous atmospheres.
  • Groundwater, drying after excavation, cracks, sloughs and other indications of failure are not to be ignored.
  • When trenches reach five feet or more in depth, protection from cave-in shall be used, but may be required in shallower trenches if conditions warrant.
  • Safe access will be provided for trenches & excavations four feet or more in depth. Do not jump into trenches.
  • Ladders, ramps or steps shall be placed every 50 feet, or within 25 feet of workers.
  • Provide fall protection for workers. Provide warning signs and barricades for those nearby.
  • Trenches & excavations must be protected from motorists or machines that could drive into the work site.
  • Trenches & excavations over 20 feet deep must be designed and evaluated by a registered engineer.
  • Workers shall not work beneath elevated/lifted loads.
  • Never get into a trench that has not been inspected. Ask to see it.
  • Trench protective devices, such as boxes, must extend 18 inches above the trench.
  • Surcharge spoil & material piles, supplies, and tools must not be placed within two feet of the trench.
  • Pipe shall be placed in a manner to prevent them from rolling into the trench.
  • Slope spoil piles back and lightly pack the slope to prevent “rollers” from entering the trench.
  • Never lift or lower workers with digging equipment.
  • Never dig without an active 811 COLO utility locate.

Knowing the potential signs of trench failure & taking steps to prevent cave-ins are ways to keep safe when below grade.


“Always stand up for what you believe in. Even if it means standing alone.”

Kim Hanks, CEO Whim Hospitality Group

Severe Weather Hazards

Most of us are happy it is Spring here in the high country. While spring and summer are traditionally viewed as peak seasons for severe weather, increasingly severe storms can develop at any time of the year. During the first three months of 2017 alone, more than 350 tornadoes were confirmed in the United States by the National Weather Service. It is important to review what the various National Weather Service alerts mean.


  • Severe Thunderstorm Watch. That means that conditions are favorable for a severe thunderstorm in the area(s) covered under the watch. A Severe Thunderstorm Warning That means that a severe thunderstorm has been spotted in the area either visually or via Doppler Radar. This could mean high winds, lightning and heavy rain.
  • Severe Thunderstorm Warning. Severe Thunderstorm Warning is issued when severe thunderstorms are occurring or imminent in the warning area. Severe thunderstorms are defined as having Winds of 58 mph or higher and may also have hail 1-inch dia. or larger.
  • Tornado Watch. That means the conditions are favorable for a tornado in the area(s) covered under the Tornado Watch. You do not need to take cover, but you should keep an eye on the conditions and stay near a radio/tv/weather radio.
  • Tornado Warning. That means that a tornado has been spotted in the area covered either visually by someone on the ground or via Doppler Radar. That means take cover immediately.
  • High Wind Advisory This advisory is issued when sustained winds of 31 to 39 mph for an hour or more with wind gusts of 46 to 57 mph for any duration conditions are expected.
  • High Wind Warning This warning is issued when sustained winds of 40 mph or higher for one hour or more with wind gusts of 58 mph or higher for any duration are expected:
  • Extreme Wind Warning. A warning is issued for surface winds of 115 MPH or greater associated with non-convective, downslope, derecho (NOT associated with a tornado), or sustained hurricane winds are expected to occur within one hour.
  • Flood Watch & Warning. A Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding. It does not mean flooding will occur, but it is possible. A Flood Warning is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring. Seek high ground now!
  • Heat Advisory A Heat Advisory is issued when the heat index value is expected to reach 10
    0 to 104 degrees within the next 12 to 24 hours. A Heat Advisory may be issued for lower criteria if it is early in the season or during a multi-day heat wave


Recognizing the devastating consequences of severe storms

With incredible force, storms are capable of impacting thousands of lives in just minutes. Being aware of the kind of destruction that can happen is important as you prepare for the possibility of severe weather in your area. Severe weather isn’t something to be taken lightly, because there is a large possibility for property damage, power outages, business interruptions and even loss of life.


Being prepared

Every division, crew, team, and group supervisor should have an outline in place to monitoring, communicate and respond to changes in weather conditions, severe weather advisories and alert employees. As an employee be sure recent changes to your address, phone and contact info is up to date with your supervisor and HR Department. What is on file, and in our smart devices, is what will be used to contact you and your family in case of emergency. Don’t let your guard down, even on clear days. Eventually, severe weather will strike our community. At home be sure to enroll in your city and county Code Red program for storm and incident alerts through your phone.


Staying alert

One of the most important aspects is to stay alert to changing weather conditions. Some of the most common sources for severe weather notification include live television and radio, weather radios, computer desktop websites and smartphone applications. New technologies have increased our ability to stay alert to changing weather conditions. Some applications provide automated text messages and emails that are particularly useful ways to receive timely alerts and forecasts. Check out Weather.com, Weatherbug.com and AccuWeather.com.


The bottom line is to be knowledgeable of the dangers of severe storms. Be aware of changing weather conditions, use technology to respond quickly and aid monitoring conditions, and try to keep everyone safe when severe weather strikes.

“Weather does not discriminate. Everyone should always be prepared to address disaster.”

Noel Lee, CEO Monster Cable Inc

Stormwater Controls on Construction Sites

Erosion can be caused by both wind and water. It takes place where a naturally stable surface is disturbed. On construction sites, disturbances occur during clearing & grubbing, vegetation removal, spills, trenching, and excavation. Where natural or established man-made drainage patterns are changed resulting in flow concentration and higher velocities soils will erode and enter water courses.

There are three types of controls to put in place:

Drainage Controls: Examples include ponds, basins, berms depressions, pumps in concert with piping, stabilized channels, permanent riprap, and concrete structures….

Erosion Controls: Examples include surface roughing, revegetation, tarping stockpiles, matting, spray sealing (EG: mag chloride), mulching, reverse grade, check dams, equipment slope tracking, temporary riprap lining…

Sediment Controls: Examples include Check dams, detention basins, inlet protection/socks, gutter socks, wattles, silt fence, tracking pads, straw bales, motorized sweeper, pipe outfall basins….


Erosion and Sediment Control Principles

Some of the principles often referred to Best Practices, used to manage erosion and sediment from leaving a job site include:

  • Proactively stabilizing areas planned to be left disturbed for 14 days or greater.
  • Managing stockpiles with berms or silt fence on the downhill side, temporary seeding, covering them with tarps or spraying them with sealants to prevent soil loss.
  • Haul Roads designed and maintained to avoid water buildup, establish controlled release points for precipitation, adequate culvert crossings to pass flows, and grading to avoid ponding.
  • Diversion of clean water around job sites with berms, piping, or ditches to reduce the amount of stormwater running onto the site.
  • Filtering site runoff through a temporary detention basin, sediment inlet socks or riprap check before releasing to channels or storm sewer.


Preparing for Severe Weather Events

The Five-Step Process to be ready for precipitation from storms includes:

  • Plan the work tasks and identify what controls are needed for each step. Phase the work.
  • Install the controls prior to commencing the work and as the work progresses.
  • Maintain the controls, vigilantly monitor daily the controls in place and revise/add/relocate controls that did not work as expected.
  • Empower employees to be proactive in identifying issues and being able to speak up to address them
  • Finalize the construction as soon as practicable to get the permanent drainage, site controls and revegetation in place as soon as possible.


Things to Remember

As participating members of the Colorado Stormwater Excellence Program (CSEP), citizens of our beautiful State, and for our children, it is our responsibility to maintain clean water, clear air, and a sustainable environment for those that come after us.

Have some basic materials on hand to counteract spills and repair erosion & sediment controls when encountered. To include sandbags, spill kit, a roll of silt fence, stakes, sandbags, trash bags, silt socks, wattles, stapler, shovel, and broom.

Always have appropriate spill control materials on job sites and in vehicles close to the work. Clean up and report all spills immediately.

Include Sediment and Erosion Controls as a topic of discussion in the Daily Safely Toolbox Huddle. Take time daily to look at controls in place. Act to address small items before and after storms.

“The earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship. We cannot say we love the land and then take steps to destroy it for use by future generations.”

Pope John Paul II, Religious Leader

Summary of changes from 2007 CO CGP to the new 2019 CO CGP:

  • The ordering and numbering format of the SWMP narrative has changed
  • Owners and Day-to-Day Operators (GCs) MUST be on the Permit and are equally liable for compliance/violations (on projects starting after 4/1/19)
  • All Applications and Permit related correspondence (modifications, reassignments, transfers, change of contact, etc.) must be done through their online Colorado Environmental Online Services (CEOS) system
  • Must make changes to the SWMP prior to, or simultaneously with, changes in the field and must document the date and time of all changes to the SWMP.
  • Terminology changes – ‘Control Measures’ instead of just ‘BMP’ (a BMP is a control measure)
  • Initial inspection by the site team must occur within 7 days of any earth disturbance
  • 7 day and 14-day inspection schedule (Choosing the 7 day inspections eliminates the need to perform post-storm event inspections)
  • Inspections must include inspection frequency, weather conditions at the time of the inspection, and the amount of disturbed acreage on the project
  • The SWMP narrative must be completed prior to construction starting (instead of Permit Application submittal)
  • At least one Qualified Stormwater Manager (QSM) must be identified in the SWMP for every project. QSM(s) = any persons responsible for certain aspects of CGP compliance (Super, inspector, BMP Installer, etc). The term “Qualified” is not explicit, but is evaluated based on performance/proficiency at the time of observation
  • Permission given in a written agreement is required when using control measures outside of the permitted area
  • Sediment Ponds/Basins must drain from the top down (skimmer or filtered riser pipe is acceptable) unless infeasible
  • Additional site map requirements – State waters, flow arrows and stream crossings
  • 50′ of vegetation must be preserved along waterways, unless infeasible
  • Disturbed areas of the site (including stockpiles) that are dormant for more than 14 days MUST be stabilized, unless infeasible
  • Corrections for control measure/BMP regular maintenance items must be documented
  • A Finding of non-compliance that cannot be corrected immediately must include an explanation of why and a schedule of when it will be corrected (temporary measures still need to be implemented to mitigate discharge potential) – project is out of compliance until the finding is fully corrected.

Go to this address for all of the CDPHE permit guidance documentation, including how to use their new online system: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/cor400000-stormwater-discharge


Please feel free to contact SRM with any questions.

Stormwater Risk Management, LLC www.StormwaterRM.com Call us @ (303) 627-7867

Preventing Heat Related Injury & Illness

It is that time of year. The days are longer and the temperatures are warming up. Summer is right around the corner. Shedding layers of clothing and exposing our bodies to the sun and warmer temperatures usually also means working longer hours. Our bodies are like a machine, the hotter the body gets without rest and nourishment, the increased chances of a breakdown. Machine parts can be replaced. Vital body parts like brain and heart cannot. Outdoor workers are susceptible to experience a heat-related illness. Over the past ten years, an average of 26 deaths and 2,810 heat-related illnesses yearly. In 2017, 87 people died in the U.S from exposure to excessive heat. Typically, the warmest parts of the day are from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM with 3:00 PM usually being the warmest.


Heat Cramps: Heat cramps are muscle spasms that usually affect the legs or abdominal muscles, often after physical activity. Excessive sweating reduces salt levels in the body, which can lead to heat cramp(s). Symptoms include: Excessive Sweating and Pain or spasms in the abdomen, arms or legs


Heat Exhaustion: Heat exhaustion is when the body loses an excessive amount of salt and water, heat exhaustion can set in. People who work outdoors and athletes are particularly susceptible. Symptoms are similar to the flu.

  • Profuse Sweating
  • Headache & Fatigue
  • Clammy or pale skin
  • Rapid pulse & elevated body temperature
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea


Heat Stroke: Heat stroke is the most severe of the heat-related illnesses. Heat stroke usually occurs when the body loses its ability to cool down due to severe dehydration and cannot produce sweat. The body’s core temperature is above 103 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Flushed skin that is hot to the touch
  • Rapid breathing
  • Headache, dizziness, & confusion
  • Clammy or pale skin
  • Individual stops sweating
  • Possible convulsions or unresponsiveness


To Prevent Heat Illness: There are precautions to take when temperatures are high and tasks involve physical work.

  • Schedule strenuous work for early in the morning or later in the day. Allow the body time to acclimate to the temperatures.
  • Consider the hazards leading to heat stress and how to prevent them during the Toolbox Talk.
  • Have cool water close to the work area. At least one pint of water per hour is needed.
  • If you notice that your urine is deep yellow to brown in color, you are dehydrated and need to drink more water.
  • Do not drink excessive amounts of electrolytes (i.e. Gatorade, Powerade, Sqwincher, etc.) Remember, one-part electrolytes, three parts water.
  • Keep a careful eye on each other and to watch for early signs of heat stress.
  • Stay away from the caffeine. Drink water often and BEFORE you are thirsty. Drink water every 15 minutes. Bring a co-worker a bottle of water.
  • Change your eating habits. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Stay away from the heavy meals at lunchtime.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothes.


What to Do When Someone Experiences a Heat-Related Injury/Illness

  • Call a supervisor and others for help. Have someone stay with the worker until help arrives.
  • Move the person to a cooler/shaded area. Get permission to remove or loosen outer clothing.
  • Fan and mist the worker with water; apply ice packs or cool towels.
  • Do not try to cool the person too quickly. You could potentially send their body into shock.
  • Provide cool drinking water. Have them sip the water. Ice cold water could send the person into shock.

If the person is not alert or is unconscious, this may be a heat stroke. CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY, move to shade, loosen clothing, and apply ice packs or wet towels to the armpits, wrist, ankles and groin areas as soon as possible

“The thing with heat is, no matter how cold you are, or how much you need warmth, heat always, eventually, becomes too much.”

Victoria Aveyard (Novelist)


Insect, Animal and Snake Hazards on the Jobsite

Bite and Sting Hazards

While many insect and animal encounters are harmless, any animal, even those that typically seem gentle like deer, can become dangerous if they are frightened, feel that they need to protect their young, are in the middle of their mating season, or if they are injured or ill. That being said, some of these creatures, such as ticks and mosquitos, bite because that is their very nature. However, the encounter happens, the results can be serious or even deadly to you the victim. Injured workers are often hospitalized due to:

Infections: Even if a bite wound is treated immediately, the reality is that animal mouths harbor bacteria which is transferred into the bite wound. It may take several antibiotics, hospitalization, and even surgery to remove an infection.

Lyme Disease: Carried by ticks, most people are aware of but don’t know seriousness. Many people are bit and never show symptoms, others are plagued with joint pain, fever, and headaches. In the worst cases, patients end up with damage to the heart, liver, and nervous system. Lyme can impact a patient for the rest of their lives.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: This disease is also spread by ticks and symptoms include rash, fever, muscle pain, and confusion. If the disease progresses, it can damage the heart, kidneys and lungs, resulting in organ failure. Around 3% of all patients diagnosed with this disease die from the complications.

Rabies: Most of us are aware that deadly rabies is spread through an animal bite. There is a vaccine, however, if a patient begins to show symptoms, the disease has already progressed too far and there is no hope. It’s very important to seek medical care immediately after all animal bites.

Envenomation: Snakes & insects can inject venom which can be deadly or damage surrounding tissue at the bite.


Each year, there are about 7,000 victims in the U.S.–mostly in the summer season. Poisonous snake bites are medical emergencies. It usually takes several hours for snake venom to kill. The right antivenom (if required) and medical care can save a victim’s life. Snake bites can cause severe local tissue damage and often require follow-up care. Poisonous snakes include rattlesnakes and copperheads

Snake Bite Symptoms:

  • bloody wound discharge
  • blurred vision
  • burning
  • convulsions
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • excessive sweating
  • fainting
  • fang marks in the skin
  • fever
  • increased thirst
  • localized tissue death
  • loss coordination
  • nausea and vomiting
  • numbness and tingling
  • rapid pulse
  • severe localized pain
  • skin discoloration
  • swelling at the bite
  • weakness

Call Your Healthcare Provider or 911 when someone has been bitten by a snake. Time is of the essence. Get medical help immediately. If possible, call ahead to the emergency room so antivenom can be ready when the victim arrives. Identify the snake if this can be done without risk of further injury.

If Bitten Do not:

  • DO NOT allow the victim to exercise.
  • DO NOT apply a tourniquet.
  • DO NOT apply ice to a snake bite.
  • DO NOT cut into a snake bite.
  • DO NOT give the victim pain medications.
  • DO NOT give the victim anything by mouth.
  • DO NOT raise the bite above the heart.
  • DO NOT try to suction the venom

First Aid:

  • Keep the victim calm.
  • Wash the bite with soap and water.
  • Remove any rings or constricting from the affected area.
  • Cover the bite with a clean, cool moist compress.
  • Monitor vital signs (temp, pulse, breathing, BP).
  • If there are signs of shock (such as paleness), lay flat, raise the feet, & cover with a blanket.


These are just a few examples of the risks faced by construction workers who come into contact with wildlife on a regular basis. It’s important to remember that it doesn’t matter what part of the state you live in – dangerous animals live everywhere. The best way to stay safe is to educate yourself on the wildlife and insects in your area.

“Take some time to learn first aid and CPR. It saves lives, and it works.”

Bobby Sherman, Singer/Song Writer who saved a family member

Defensive Driving

For some of us, one of the most dangerous things we do every day is driving to and from work. For others, driving is a big part
of the job. In order to complete our driving tasks safely on a day to day basis we must incorporate the following techniques
into our everyday lives.

✓ Do a quick walk around your vehicle to evaluate the condition of your vehicle prior to getting on the road.
✓ Secure all loose items in your vehicle. Do not attempt to catch items sliding around in your car.
✓ Always keep your eyes moving, constantly looking at your side and rear-view mirrors, up, behind
and to both sides of the vehicle. Maintain a visual of 2-3 car lengths in front of you.✓ When changing lanes, physically turn your head around to check your blind spot. Followed by checking your side and rear-view mirrors.
✓ Always look out for motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians and smaller vehicles. Take a double took
at oncoming traffic in nicer weather for these.
✓ Leave at least 2 seconds in front of you and the car in front of you. During inclement weather, increase this to at least 5 seconds. If others cut in, then back off the distance again.
✓ Always give yourself an out. Avoid remaining next to other automobiles, move ahead or drop behind them to allow yourself room for maneuvering in case something happens.
✓ Stop prior to stop signs and then roll forward slightly to get a better look in each
✓ Avoid using a cell phone when possible. If necessary, always use a hands-free device.
✓ Always use signals and be sure to signal ahead of time to communicate your intensions to other drivers.
✓ Refrain from driving while suffering from emotional distress or tiredness. Stop for fresh air or move around in order to wake up.
✓ Avoid backing up whenever possible. Always back into parking spaces when possible.First Move Forward!
✓ Where your seatbelt. In an FSI company vehicle its required 100% of the time.
✓ Be predictable; avoid multiple lane changes at once and last-minute turn signal
✓ Tell someone where you are headed, the route you will take, and what time you should be expected to arrive so they will
know if you have had a problem along the way.
✓ Observe and abide by all traffic laws.

✓ PAY ATTENTION, or else it may be too late!! Distracted driving while texting or on the phone is not acceptable.
Help reduce the likelihood of vehicle accidents by always practicing the tips mentioned above. Remain alert and always
remember a defensive driver is a safe driver.


Arrive Alive. Always buckle up! Never Text and Drive.
Shell Oil Company, Global Communications Safety Program