Tips to protect workers from insects, rodents, and snakes

Reduce injuries and illness caused by insects, rodents, and snakes by educating workers and providing appropriate protection. Below are tips from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) employers can share with work crews to help lower the risks of these outdoor hazards.

There are a number of precautions workers can take to protect against stinging and biting insects, spiders, and ticks. Employees should wear insect repellants that contain DEET, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks. Work crews should take extra care to stay away from fire ants. Their bites are painful and can result in blisters. If a worker is stung or bitten by an insect, prevent infection and reduce pain by using over-the-counter medicine. Employers should seek medical attention immediately if an employee is bitten and experiences serious swelling, slurred speech, chest pains, sweating, nausea, or loss of breath.

Avoid contact with all stray, wild, or dead animals whenever possible. When contact is necessary employees should wear gloves, wash hands thoroughly, and have any bites checked by a medical professional.

To protect against snake bites, wear work boots that are a minimum of 10 inches tall and the appropriate work gloves, and use caution when moving debris. Work crews that see a snake should step back and allow it to move along or go around it. Be aware that a snake’s striking distance is about half its length.

If bitten by a snake remain still and calm to slow blood flow and the spread of venom, which could be poisonous. Refrain from cutting or sucking venom from a snake bite wound. Instead, practice first aid. Ensure the wound is at the level of the heart and cover it with a clean dressing from a first aid kit. Seek medical attention right away and try to remember the shape and color of the snake’s head. This will help medical professionals determine appropriate treatments.  

Protect outdoor workers from insects, rodents, and snakes by sharing these tips and providing the proper safety supplies needed to maintain workplace safety.

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