Safety Tip: Venomous Snakes

Snake Safety

Many different types of venomous snakes can be found in the United States from: rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths/water moccasins, and coral snakes. This can be very dangerous to any outdoor workers such as  pavers, construction workers, landscapers, painters, gardeners, and many others. It is good to know what kind of snakes live in your area and what they look like.

When working in areas where snakes could be present here are some tips to follow to avoid being bitten. Stay away from tall grass and piles of leaves when possible. Avoid climbing on rocks or piles of wood, snakes could be hiding in them. Wear boots and long pants like denim jeans which may prevent some bites. Wear leather gloves when handling brush and debris. Last thing is that snakes tend to be the most active during dawn and dusk and also in warm weather.

If you are bitten by a snake seek medical attention as soon as possible. It is not advised to drive yourself to the hospital due to becoming dizzy or pass out. Take a photograph of the snake to ensure proper identification which can help getting the proper treatment.  Stay calm and make sure your supervisor knows of the situation.  In the meantime sit down with the bite in a position of comfort, remove any jewelry like rings or watches in anticipation of swelling, wash the bite with soap and water, cover the bite with clean; dry dressing, and mark the edge of the bite and write the time alongside it.

Do not do any of the following: Don’t pick up the snake or try to handle it, don’t wait for symptoms to appear, don’t apply a tourniquet, don’t cut the wound, don’t suck the venom out, don’t apply ice or submerge the bite in water, don’t use alcohol as a painkiller, and don’t take any pain relievers like Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Aspirin.

Thanks to the CDC for their information on snake bites. Click here for more information.