Outdoor worker safety — People who work outside face different kinds of dangers depending on what they do, where they are, what time of the year it is, and how long they stay outdoors. It’s important that outdoor workers know how to spot each danger and what to do to avoid or deal with them.
Hazards for outdoor workers
- Too much heat or cold
- Too much sun
- Loud noises
- Fire or chemicals
- Falling down
- Animals or bugs that can bite or sting you
- Plants that can make you itch or sick
- Diseases that bugs can give you
Tips to stay safe
- Bring a small bag with bandages, wipes, medicine, bug spray, sunscreen, and emergency phone numbers.
- Drink a lot of water before, during, and after work. Avoid drinking alcohol, coffee, or soda as they can make you lose water.
- Sun exposure
- Wear a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect your skin and eyes from the sun. Find a shady or cool place to rest. Don’t work when it is too hot outside.
- Bug protection
- Wear clothes that cover your arms and legs. Tuck your pants into your socks or boots. Use bug spray that has DEET or picaridin in it. Look for ticks on your body after work and immediately remove them.
- Bring something to protect yourself from animals or people who might hurt you, like mace, pepper spray, or a knife. But only if it is legal and needed. Know where you are and stay away from places that are not safe.
- Work clothes
- Wear clothes that fit the weather and the work. Wear more clothes when it is cold and less when it is hot. Wear gloves, glasses, shoes with steel toes, helmets, earplugs, masks, or other things that can protect you from getting hurt.
O U T D O O R W O R K E R S A F E T Y
- Machines & tools
- Only use machines or tools that you know how to use. Do what the maker says to do. Check them often and fix them if they are broken. Tell someone if they don’t work well. Turn them off and unplug them when you are done or need to fix them.
- Lifting safety
- Lift things the right way. Bend your knees and keep the thing close to your body. Don’t twist or turn your body. Get help from a machine or another person if the thing is too heavy or big.
- Avoid getting hit
- Be careful when you cross a road or a path. Look both ways and make sure the drivers see you before you cross. Wear clothes that have bright colors or reflect light so drivers can see you better.
- Be careful with things that can catch fire or make you sick. Keep them away from hot things. Put them in containers that have labels on them. Keep them away from food and water. Read the labels to know what they are and how to use them safely. Use things like fire extinguishers, showers, eye washes, and spill kits if there is an emergency.
Final thoughts — Outdoor worker safety
Dangers for outdoor workers include weather challenges, bugs, location, and more. Follow your employer’s safety guidelines as well as those you’ve learned while training on equipment. Use common sense and be prepared for the environment you work in. Be safe out there!
Read about Hazards to Outdoor Workers from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
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