Editor's Note

Editor’s Note: A safe summer

If you’ve read some of my older columns, you’re probably aware that I’m not exactly the outdoorsy type. As much as I’d like to be a hearty hiker or regard camping as something other than a nightmare, few of my encounters with wildlife have been positive.

Years ago I made the mistake of telling friends and colleagues that I’d love to visit Australia. Since then, many (Safety+Health Managing Editor Jen Yario is one) have gleefully sent me lists, jokes and memes about the numerous deadly insects and animals that live Down Under. And just recently I returned home from a visit to family members who live in an area of the South where alligators, feral hogs and fire ants can be found.

So when summertime rolls around, my thoughts turn to the ways nature can hurt people. That’s why I asked S+H Associate Editor Barry Bottino to pull together an article listing some of the dangerous plants and, as Barry put it, “creepy-crawlies” that workers who spend time outside may run into.

Many you likely know about. Poison ivy; brown recluse spiders; and bees, wasps and hornets are commonly included in safety tips aimed at outdoor workers. But others may not be as familiar, particularly for people who don’t live in the area they’re currently working in. Cottonmouth snakes, stinging nettle and the giant hogweed – an invasive plant that contains a sap that can cause permanent blindness – are important to know about and protect yourself from.

We hope you’ll share this information with anyone who’d benefit, and that you’re having a safe (and fun) summer – indoors and out.

Melissa J. Ruminski The opinions expressed in “Editor’s Note” do not necessarily reflect those of the National Safety Council or affiliated local Chapters.

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