Appropriate training and adequate protection can go a long way toward keeping workers safe outside.

Sun & Heat

woman drinking a bottle of water
Staying hydrated is crucial during the hot summer months.
  • Try to schedule your heaviest work for the coolest parts of the day. (Sunlight exposure is greatest between 10 am and 4 pm).
  • Seek shade or create your own shaded work zone with umbrellas or overhead tents.
  • Protect your body. Wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and light-colored clothing.  Full-length pants and long-sleeved shirts can prevent burns, stings, and bites.
  • Rehydrate with water or electrolyte drinks every 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Use a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection (protects against UVA and UVB rays) with a sun protection factor (SPF) 30 or higher and water resistance.

Insects, Plants, Snakes:

Learn to identify local poisonous snakes, plants, and insects so that you can avoid them as you work outside.

Hands pulling weeds from garden
Wearing the right gear when working outside helps to avoid contact with poisonous plants.
  • Wear boots, long pants, and long sleeves when working in tall grass or underbrush.
  • Wear gloves when handling brush or debris.
  • Apply insect repellent.
  • Poisonous plant barrier skin creams, such as a lotion containing bentoquatum, may offer some protection before contact.  (Barrier creams should be washed off and reapplied twice a day).
  • Watch for Fire ants which will collect, float and bite in standing water.
  • To prevent a snake bite do not try to handle any snake.  Stay away from tall grass and piles of leaves when possible. Avoid climbing on rocks or piles of wood where a snake may be hiding and be aware that snakes tend to be active at night and in warm weather.
  • If you are bitten, keep the insect or snake or be able to provide a description if the actual body is not available. This will help the medical professional determine the proper treatment.

Stay safe and have a wonderful summer!

by Renee’ Hudson