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HAZARDS TO OUTDOOR WORKERS

Overview

Outdoor workers are exposed to many types of hazards that depend on their type of work, geographic region, season, and duration of time they are outside. Employers should train outdoor workers about their workplace hazards, including hazard identification and recommendations for preventing and controlling their exposures.

Physical Hazards

Physical hazards to outdoor workers may include extreme heat, extreme cold, noise, and sun exposure. Extreme heat can cause heat stroke, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat rash, and other problems. Extreme cold can cause hypothermia, frostbite, and other problems. Repeated exposures to loud noise can lead to permanent, incurable hearing loss or tinnitus.

unloading a truck in the winter

Extreme Cold

Information on cold-related illnesses and injuries, first aid, and prevention.

Construction workers drinking water

Extreme Heat

Information on heat-related illnesses, first aid, and prevention.

watering the plants outdoors

Sun Exposure

Facts about sunburn and skin cancer, first aid, and prevention.

worker wearing hearing protection

Noise

Hearing loss is one of the most common work-related illnesses in the U.S.

 

Biological Hazards

Biological hazards include vector-borne diseases, venomous wildlife and insects, and poisonous plants.  Venomous snakes, spiders, scorpions, and stinging insects can be found throughout 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.

poison oak

Poisonous Plants

Learn about plant identification, first aid, and prevention.

Black Widow spider

Venomous Spiders

Information on the types of spiders, spider bites, first aid, and prevention.

cooperhead snake

Venomous Snakes

Information on the types of snakes, snake bites, prevention, and first aid.

Bees

Insects and Scorpions

Preventing stings and bites from flying insects, fire ants, and scorpions.

 

Vector-borne Diseases

Vector-borne diseases may 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.

mosquito biting finger

West Nile Virus

Brochures for outdoor workers and laboratory, field, and clinical workers.

Lone star tick

Tick-borne Diseases

Answers to frequently asked questions and recommendations for workers and employers.

Western Blacklegged tick

Lyme Disease

Information on symptoms, diagnosis, and recommendations for workers and employers.

 

Outdoor workers may encounter other hazards in addition to the physical and biological hazards described here. They may be exposed to pesticides or other chemical hazards, traumatic injury hazards, or other safety and health hazards depending on their specific job and tasks.

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