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If your employees work outdoors, make sure you do a risk assessment or they could end up in the same shoes as Helen Zille

by , 20 March 2013
Helen Zille's 'bitten on the toe by a rat' incident has drawn ridicule on Twitter. The news has travelled around the globe, even making headlines on France24. Now there are fears South Africa is seen as a 'rat infested' country, where rat bites spread disease the second you step outdoors. This makes it all the more important to protect your employees when they work outdoors. Here's what you need to do...

Yesterday, DA leader Zille was bitten on the toe by a rat when she ventured out to collect newspapers at the gate, says IOL.
Zille tweeted that the rat darted out and bit her – as fast as that.
It takes just an instant for an accident to happen outdoors.
Are you doing all you can to protect your employees from insects, rodents and snakes that could attack if they regularly work outdoors?
You should – it's one of your responsibilities under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Here's what you should include in your risk assessment if your employees work outdoors…
That's why FSP Business recommends doing a risk assessment each time an employee works outdoors. 
 Your health risk assessment should cover any potential health hazards from working outdoors, bee stings, snake and rat bites, and even sunburn.
Once the risk are identified, you'll need to take preventative action by supplying your employees with the correct 'personal protective equipment' or PPE – in this case, it would be insect repellent, work boots to cover their toes, sun block, and even sunglasses
Do you tailor a risk assessment for each specific employee? You should!
Then, come up with a specific risk assessment for each specific employee.
For example, find out if your employees have any allergies like insect stings, so that you're aware of the risk and can prevent any health and safety incidents. 
Also remember to keep a well-stocked first aid kit along on any team-building events, says the Health and Safety Advisor.
And let your employees sit through a workplace safety awareness training session if they work outdoors.
This way, they'll understand the risks they face when they work outdoors, adds FSP Business
Forewarned is forearmed!

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