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    Animal and insect safety | Safety Tips | Seasonal safety: Fall | Seasonal safety: Spring | Seasonal safety: Summer

    Encountering animals

    April 1, 2010

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    Working outside in the spring months may mean working alongside insects and animals that could pose a threat to workers. OSHA offers the following tips for avoiding such injuries when working outdoors.

    Insects, spiders and ticks

    • Wear long pants, socks and long-sleeved shirts to protect against stinging and biting insects.
    • Use insect repellents that contain DEET or Picaridin.
    • Treat bites and stings using over-the-counter products that relive pain and reduce the risk of infection.
    • Avoid fire ants. Severe reactions to their bites can cause chest pain, nausea, loss of breath, slurred speech or swelling that requires immediate medical attention.

    Rodents and animals

    • Both dead and live animals can spread diseases such as rat bite fever and rabies.
    • Always avoid contact with rats and other wild or stray animals. If you cannot avoid contact, wear protective gloves and wash your hands frequently.
    • Dispose of dead animals as soon as possible.
    • If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, seek medical attention immediately.


    • When moving debris, avoid placing your hands underneath objects whenever possible.
    • Wear heavy gloves.
    • Watch for snakes sunning on fallen tree limbs or other debris.
    • If you see a moving snake, step back and allow it to pass. A snake’s striking distance is about one-half of the total length of the snake.
    • Wear boots that are at least 10 inches high.
    • If bitten, note the color and shape of the snake’s head to help with treatment.
    • Keep bite victims calm and still to slow the spread of venom. Seek medical attention as soon as possible.

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