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It's up to you to ensure your employees don't suffer bites on the job...

by , 22 April 2013
Liverpool striker Luis Suarez is in hot water after biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic during a Premier League game at Anfield yesterday. Chelsea's health and safety reps probably didn't see this incident coming when they conduct their pre-game health and safety assessment. After all, biological hazards like bites usually happen when your employees come into contact with animals like dogs while working outdoors. Here's what you need to know to protect your employees from bites if they work outdoors...

While this weekend's Suarez biting incident isn't something your employees are likely to feel threatened by, employees who work outdoors stand a good chance of encountering rabid dogs, which can result in nasty bites in the workplace.

If your employees travel often, they're also likely to be in danger.

Here's what you need to know to keep them safe from bites in the workplace.

Why are bites such a big health and safety threat?

'Bites on the hand are most common and serious because of high incidence of infection (sepsis),' warns the Health and Safety Advisor.

The reason for this is twofold:

  1. A bite to the hand often involves tendon sheaths, which lead into one another. This means that an infection in one finger can quickly involve the whole hand.
  2. The loss of fingers or stiffening of joints are common complications and are a serious disability.

That's why you need to train your employees on basic first aid so they know they must seek immediate medical attention if they – or one of their co-workers – receives a bite while on the job.

You'll also need to instruct them to get a tetanus vaccine to ensure to protect them from tetanus. After all, 'tetanus is a potentially fatal infection of the muscles and nervous system,' warns the National Health Services. So you definitely don't your employee contracting it.

Prevention is better than cure – use these three tips to protect your employees from bites in the workplace

The surest way prevent biological hazards like bites in the workplace according to the Health and Safety Advisor  is to train your employees on:

  • The risks they face in their working environment. By understanding which animals are commonly found in the area that could potentially bite them, they'll be more cautious.
  • Techniques they can use to avoid bites.
  • How to administer basic first aid.

Bottom line: 'You may not always be able to prevent occupational hazards from happening in the field. But, by ensuring your employees know the correct health and safety procedures to follow, you can help ensure any incident has a happy ending,' advises FSP Business.

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