Locator Safety & Appreciation Week (LSAW) is a celebration of utility locators’ hard work and an acknowledgment of the hazards they face every day in the field. Locators play crucial and often underappreciated roles in protecting the public and our underground infrastructure. Take some time this week to thank a locator in your life! We’ll be sharing locator safety content throughout the week to spread awareness of the difficult work they perform. Learn more about LSAW and how to participate at locatorsafety.com.
Locator Safety Hazard: Insect Bites & Stings
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, there were 36,100 reported non-fatal occupational bite and sting injuries and illnesses in the U.S. from 1992-1997. There were also an astonishing 42 deaths attributed to bites and stings during the same period. Outdoor workers accounted for the majority of these incidents. As much as insects are often considered nothing more than annoying pests, they can also pose a serious threat to the safety of locators. Mosquitoes, bees, wasps, and ticks should all be treated as hazards in a locator’s daily work. Locators in the Southern U.S. have the additional and potentially more serious threat of scorpions to consider.
Here are a few basic best practices to avoid insect bites and stings. For treatment information regarding serious bites or stings, please call The National Poison Control Center hotline (800.222.1222)
- Wear appropriate clothing. Long sleeves, gloves, high coverage boots, and pants provide a basic layer of skin protection against insect bites and stings.
- Perform thorough tick checks after every shift. Ticks have the potential to carry and transmit Lyme disease.
- Avoid reaching into confined spaces sight-unseen. Venemous spiders, scorpions, and wasp nets can be found in utility infrastructure.
- Use insect repelents containing Deet or Picaridin
- Choose kneeling/standing locations with care — Fire ants are easily disturbed and have a painful bite that can cause severe reactions.