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Spider, bees, snake bites and stings: Three health and safety risks you probably haven't even thought of

by , 04 March 2013
When it comes to health and safety, health hazards like fires, pollution and accidents usually come to mind. But, if your employees work outdoors, there's another health hazard you should be considering: Bites and stings from creatures like spiders, dogs, bees and snakes. Here's what you need to know about outdoor health hazards to protect your employees.

If your employees travel often or work outdoors, they 'stand a good chance of encountering snakes, spiders, scorpions and other animals like dogs, which can result in potentially harmful effects on your employees,' warns health and safety expert Sven Marcus in the Health and Safety Advisor.

That's why it's essential you identify employees who are at potential risk of injury from bites and stings, so you can administer awareness training from outdoor health hazards like this.

Here's what your workplace safety awareness training should contain…

According to the Health and Safety Advisor you must train your employees to prevent bites and stings by:

  • Explaining the risk of exposure they face in their work environment. This includes:
  1. Telling them about the area/environment and what outdoor health hazards it poses;
  2. Explaining when they're likely to be stung or bitten. For example, snakes are more active in summer and pose a greater health risk during this time.
  • Training them on how to identify and treat bites and stings from animals prominent in the area.
  • Showing them safety steps they can take to avoid bites and stings.

What to do if your employee is stung or bitten while working outdoors

Treat any incident as an emergency and get the employee to the nearest doctor or hospital for immediate treatment, advises Marcus. While you do, administer first aid treatment to stop any bleeding, treat shock or immobilise any broken bones.

By understanding that health and safety risks consist of more than the usual suspects – fires, pollution and workplace incidents – you'll be able to put together a health and safety procedure in place to train your staff on possible outdoor health hazards like bites and stings. 

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