Streamline - Spring 2012 - (Page 26)

BY MARK A. NORRIS, WATER CIRCUIT RIDER Outdoor Hazards AS SPRING APPROACHES, Springtime Safety – we all enjoy being outside. After a long winter, warm temperatures and sunny conditions bring utility workers and public works’ employees outside for work-related tasks. For those responsible for the safety and health of their workers, this will create some unique problems and may require specific training. hard to identify by its markings. A bite from this spider will start out as a blister, which can be accompanied by fever, chills, nausea and in very rare cases, convulsions or death. The cells of the affected area die and are shed, in some cases leaving behind a depression. Meter boxes, confined spaces, and overgrown vegetation areas, where the environment favors spiders, snakes, and bee nests, has contributed to many work-related incidents. Venomous snakes common to Virginia are the Northern Copperhead, the Eastern Cottonmouth and the Timber Rattlesnake. There are many more species of non-venomous snakes. Their bites can be extremely painful and cause skins rashes and reactions. Poisonous Plants A change in seasons can bring new challenges and concerns for your workforce. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) requires that employees be trained to recognize and avoid all workplace hazards. Training your employees to recognize workplace hazards will help minimize lost time costs, medical expenses and workman’s compensation claims. Keeping your employees safe and healthy is a benefit to your organization and builds morale in your workforce. It also lets your employees know they are important to the organization. Most of us already know that when working outdoors, the mixture of heat, humidity and sun exposure can cause serious heat related illnesses. Other hazards may also occur. They can include: • Exposure to poisonous plants • Spider and Insect bites • Snakes • Bees, Hornets, and Wasps • Ticks (Lyme Disease, West Nile Virus, and Insect Borne Illnesses) • Sunburn and Heat Stroke Work Locations Utility workers are exposed to unusual working conditions in certain locations. During a recent onsite visit, an employee talked of being bitten by a Brown Recluse spider while working on a water main line repair that was located in woods that were overgrown. According to Virginia Tech’s entomology specialists, only two species of venomous spiders are known to exist in Virginia. The most recognizable is the Black Widow, because of its distinct colors and markings. The other venomous spider is the Brown Recluse. This spider is rarely sighted and it is 26 S T R E A M L I N E • S p r i n g 2 0 1 2 Poison ivy is usually the label given to plants in the sumac family that include poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. They are responsible for nearly two million cases of dermatitis each year. Knowing how to recognize these plants will help your employees avoid contact with them. The old saying “Leaves of three – let them be” is a good rule for identifying poison ivy and poison oak. To identify poison sumac, look for leaves that number seven, nine or more leaflets. While some people have no reaction to the oil from these plants, others can be highly sensitive and have serious reactions causing severe dermatitis. Barrier creams can be applied to help protect bare skin. Pants tied at the leg, long-sleeved shirts, and thick gloves will help prevent direct contact with skin. If the oil gets on the clothing, touching the clothing can cause exposure.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Spring 2012

From the President
From the Executive Director
Where is Virginia’s Groundwater?
Basic Management Skills
Planning or Piecemeal?
CPEs and YOU
The Sludge Bag
Fracking Rapidly Becoming Unpopular
Amazing We All Learned English!
Springtime Safety – Outdoor Hazards
Spotlight on Western Virginia Water Authority’s Blue Ridge Brawler
Wastewater Math
VRWA’S 24th Annual Exposition Agenda
Throwing My Loop
eLearning Benefits
Membership Application
Do You Know What Your VRWA Benefi ts Are?
Rural Water Review
VRWA Mailbag
Welcoming New Members
Training Calendar
Board Of Directors
VRWA Committees
Index To Advertisers/Ad.Com

Streamline - Spring 2012