Outdoor workers can experience a number of hazards. One often unexpected hazard is a venomous snakebite. Venomous snakes may be encountered in workplaces throughout the United States. The most likely geographic locations where outdoor workers would encounter venomous snakes is in the American South, Southwest, and West. From 2008-2015, the greatest number of deaths from venomous snakebites occurred in the southern and mid-western United States [Forrester et al., 2018]. The number of venomous snakebites is gradually increasing in most states [Schulte, 2017]. The risk of worker encounters with venomous snakes outside these areas may increase as changes in local climate allow venomous snake species to expand into ever more favorable habitats [Yanez-Arenas et al., 2016]. Additionally, extreme weather events such as hurricanes, floods and droughts, may affect the risk of worker encounters with venomous snakes [Wozniak et al., 2006]. For example, a 20-year study in California found that snakebites increased after precipitation events and decreased during droughts [Phillips et al., 2018]. Other factors affecting human-venomous snake encounters include human encroachment into snake habitat, animal displacement during and after a natural disasters (tornadoes, hurricanes, floods), and extended periods of unseasonably warm and humid weather [Fraizer, 2018; Jones and Baker, 2012].
Outdoor occupations most likely to encounter venomous snakes include: park rangers, landscapers, farmers, groundskeepers, zoo workers, foresters, gardeners, laborers, construction workers, painters, church pastors (snake handling during church services), and reptile handlers. During the period January 1, 2014 to November 5, 2015, 180 adult snakebites were reported to the ToxIC North American Snakebite Registry, of which 25 (13.9%) occurred while working [Spyres et al., 2016]. The state with the greatest number of occupational venomous snakebites was Arizona with 13 cases (17%), followed by Texas with 4 (11%) [Spyres et al., 2016]. Landscape workers (28%) and zoo workers/exotic reptile industry workers (24%) were the occupations with the greatest number of venomous snakebites [Spyres et al, 2016].