It is important for outdoor workers to take precautions against exposure. Sun, heat, and bug bites are a workplace hazard that are a major hurdle for many employees who have any tasks that need to be completed outdoors.
To protect against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays:
- Cover up. Wear lightweight, tightly woven clothing that you can’t see through.
- Use sunscreen. A sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 blocks 93 percent of UV rays. Be sure to follow application directions.
- Wear a hat. It should protect your neck, ears, forehead, nose and scalp.
- Wear UV-absorbent shades. Sunglasses should block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB radiation. Before you buy, read the product label.
READ MORE: Safety Matters: Avoiding Heat Illness
The combination of heat and humidity can be a serious health threat during the summer, especially when you perform strenuous work. To beat the heat:
Drink plenty of water before you get thirsty.
- Wear light, loose-fitting, breathable clothing such as dry-fit material.
- Eat smaller meals before work activity.
- Skip the caffeine and soda; drink water instead.
- Be aware that equipment such as respirators or work suits can increase heat stress.
If you’re working in tall grass or wooded areas, take the following precautions to protect yourself from ticks:
Wear light-colored clothing to see ticks more easily.
- Wear long sleeves and long pants.
- Tuck pant legs into socks or boots.
- Wear high boots or closed shoes that cover your feet completely.
- Wear a hat.
- Use tick repellants, but not on your face.
- Wash and dry your work clothes at high temperatures.
Examine your body for ticks after work. Remove any attached ticks promptly with a tweezers. In some regions, ticks may transmit Lyme disease. If you get bit and develop a rash, see your doctor.
Insect Bites and Stings
Bee, wasp, hornet and yellow jacket stings are typically only dangerous to those who are allergic or have been stung multiple times.
- Wear bug repellant.
- Avoid wearing heavy perfumes or scented lotions.
- Check before drinking from cups, bottles or cans. Stinging insects are attracted to sweet drinks.