Safety Minute

Safety Minute

Take the sting out of outdoor work

Avoid bites, too

When working outdoors, you may encounter a variety of insects and arachnids that can bite or sting. These bites and stings can transmit diseases, cause infection, and trigger allergic reactions. Some are also poisonous. Therefore, it is important that you know how to prevent and respond to these encounters while working outdoors.

In most cases, insect, tick, and spider bites will not lead to serious outcomes, but they can be uncomfortable. If you are bitten or stung, remove the stinger if there is one, treat itching with calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream, and apply ice to reduce swelling.

Monitor yourself for any more serious symptoms, but in most cases, this simple first aid will be sufficient.

Follow these tips for preventing bites and stings when working outdoors:

DO apply a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved insect repellent, and always follow the label directions for safe use.

DEET and picaridin are two common, effective repellents.

DO wear clothing treated with permethrin for extra protection.

You can use permethrin spray and treat clothing yourself following the package directions or purchase pretreated clothing. Don’t apply permethrin directly to your skin.

DO wear long sleeves, long pants, socks, gloves, and outdoor shoes to cover your skin.

DO tuck your shirt into your pants, and tuck your pant legs into your socks.

DO wear light-colored clothing because it makes insects easier to see.

DON’T wear perfume or cologne when working outdoors because it may attract insects.


Road construction readiness

Take 10 precautions to stay safe in the zone

Highway work zones are hazardous for motorists who drive through signs, barrels, and lane changes; for workers who build, repair, and maintain roads and bridges; and for emergency responders, cleanup, utility, and demolition personnel. Follow these safety precautions:

  1. Stay alert, minimize distractions, and be patient.
  2. Dedicate your full attention to the roadway. Avoid changing the radio station, using a mobile phone, eating, or other distractions that can affect your concentration.
  3. Keep headlights on.
  4. Pay attention to the road. Heed signs and watch brake lights on vehicles ahead. Keep an eye on traffic around you, and be prepared to react.
  5. Be mindful of merging. Merge well before you reach the lane closure. And remember that traffic patterns can change daily.
  6. Don’t tailgate. Follow other vehicles at a safe distance.
  7. Obey the posted speed limit. Workers may be present just feet away. Also be aware that fines may be doubled for moving traffic violations in work zones. Be prepared to slow down further, depending on conditions.
  8. Change lanes safely. Change lanes only where pavement markings indicate and only when traffic conditions permit.
  9. Follow instructions from flaggers.
  10. Expect the unexpected. Workers, work vehicles, or equipment may enter your lane without warning. Also, other vehicles may slow, stop, or change lanes unexpectedly.