Watch out for these hazards to outdoor workers
Outdoor workers are exposed to many hazards, depending on their type of work, location, time of year, and amount of time spent outside. Outdoor workers need to be trained about hazards, including hazard identification and recommendations for preventing and controlling exposures.
Physical hazards may include extreme heat or cold, noise, and sun exposure. High heat can cause heat stroke, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat rash, and other ills. Extreme cold can cause hypothermia, frostbite, and other problems. Repeated exposures to loud noise can lead to permanent hearing loss or tinnitus.
Biological hazards include vector-borne diseases, venomous wildlife and insects, and poisonous plants. Venomous snakes, spiders, scorpions, and stinging insects are found in various geographic regions, and are especially dangerous to workers who have allergies to the animal. Poisonous plants can cause allergic reactions if their oils come in contact with skin. These plants can also be dangerous if burned and their toxins are inhaled.
What are vector-borne diseases? These medical conditions can be spread to workers by insects, such as mosquitoes or ticks. When a mosquito or tick bites a worker, it may transfer a disease-causing agent, such as a parasite, bacterium, or virus.
Outdoor workers can also be exposed to pesticides and other chemical hazards, traumatic injury hazards, and other risks depending on their job and tasks.