As seasons of the year go and come and our weather patterns begin to change, there are some things we always need to be mindful of. Our surroundings! They are ever changing! They change so quickly that sometimes we are not even aware changes took place.

Recently a simple hike on a city park trail proved to be full of hazards which just magnify the seriousness of the environment around us. Pictured below are four common autumn hazards we may encounter in our work as well as in our leisure. We must never take our safety for granted, no matter what we are doing.

Constant awareness for hazards is advisable.  Beyond common sense, OSHA requires all outside employees be trained to be aware of outdoor work hazards. As an employer, OSHA outdoor hazard training is essential to address as part of OSHA general duty to provide a safe workplace!

How many have been face to face with the critters in the photo below? These fellows can put anyone in high gear and if you are allergic to their sting, well, that can be a very serious and sometimes deadly encounter!

Hornet and Wasp Nests in Bushes Can Ruin Your Day
Hornet and Wasp Nests in Bushes Can Ruin Your Day

Yes, hornets not only are deadly to many, but can cause you to hurt yourself in your escape rush. These hornet nests can be anywhere. This nest was discovered over-head on a trail utilized frequently, but could just as easily have been in worksite bushes or landscaping. They build them right where we inhabit so, be aware of these and other wasps and bees wherever you may be!

Another hazard was spotted also that can result in just as nasty results. These pesky insects are seemingly everywhere in much of the southern United States, and spreading. They are fast to attack if disturbed. If you guessed “fire ants”, you are right! They pop up all over the place in open areas, grass, between sidewalk joints, but often hidden underneath stacked building materials, storage pallets, and next to fence posts, trees, bushes, or debris. You must take extra precautions where these fellows are concerned. Make sure your co-workers are familiar with where these hide in the workplace and at their homes. Train your family members too.

Undisturbed Fire Ant Mound
Undisturbed Fire Ant Mound
Your Foot in the Fire Ant Mound = Thousands of Attack Ants!
Your Foot in the Fire Ant Mound = Thousands of Attack Ants!

Fire ants are very serious risks to our health. Ensure you watch for and know where they appear and report them to your employer or whomever may be responsible for applying corrective actions to prevent exposure. If you use pesticides, be sure do use them in an approved manner. And please, don’t pour gasoline on the mounds and torch them! It doesn’t work and can put people and property at risk.

Even more hazards are present around us in the autumn.

Don’t Become Fair Game in Hunting Season!
Don’t Become Fair Game in Hunting Season!

Hunters are now in many areas pursuing wild game. Become aware of the locations that hunts take place, particularly if you are working in rural areas. Be sure to wear something that makes you highly recognizable, like a “hunter orange” vest or hat to show that you’re not fair game, too! Hunters are often out in the early morning or late afternoon, and local inquiries can help you be informed, as well as inform folks of your presence. Plan your outdoor activities accordingly.

Make no mistake about it, lighting is still an autumn hazard just about everywhere, even in the cooler parts of the country! Lightning is as deadly and destructive in a fall snowstorm as it is in a summer thunderstorm. Nasty thunderstorms can roll through any of the areas we work and play.

Need a Reminder? Get Under Cover in a Lightning Storm!
Need a Reminder? Get Under Cover in a Lightning Storm!

Be on the lookout and get in a protected location where you’ll be out of the path of lightning strikes as storms approach. Stay off roofs, towers, and high locations. Don’t be near electrical equipment or circuits. If you can hear thunder, its too close!

You can be aware of the multitude of hazards in outdoor work and satisfy OSHA outdoor safety with one course. LBA University has published a comprehensive on-line training course titled “Outdoor Hazard Awareness Training”. Not only does it identify what to be on the look-out for, but leads you through the actions necessary for first aid treatment and precautionary measures both from an employer and worker view point. Sign up on-line and take this targeted OSHA training and certificate at your own pace. Now that autumn is here, its also time to prepare for winter by enhancing your awareness of cold induced illness or hazards – all included in the training! Check it out at http://lbagroup.com/associates/outdoor-hazards-osha-safety-training.php.

Be Aware, Be Safe!

About The Author

LBA Group, Inc. has 50 years of experience in providing RF asset solutions and risk management for industrial and telecommunications infrastructure assets. The group is comprised of LBA Technology, a leading manufacturer and integrator of radio frequency systems, lightning protection and EMC equipment for broadcast, industrial and government users worldwide; the professional consultancy Lawrence Behr Associates and LBA University, providing on-site and online professional training. The companies are based in Greenville, N.C., USA.

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