Outdoor workers, including water, wastewater, parks, groundskeepers, public works, streets, police and fire employees, can be exposed to physical and biological hazards. Employers should train outdoor workers about these hazards, including how to identify them and how to prevent and control exposure to them.

RMS safety tips

  • Take shade breaks and hydrate throughout the work shift. Extreme heat can cause heat stroke, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat rash.
  • Limit skin exposure (long sleeves/pants and hats) and reapply sunscreen frequently. Ultraviolet radiation can cause sunburn and skin cancer.
  • Limit skin (long sleeves/pants) exposure and use repellent. Mosquitoes and ticks may spread diseases like the West Nile virus and Lyme disease.
  • Wear heavy boots and chaps in areas with possible animal threats such as venomous snakes (rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths), spiders (black widows, brown recluse), and stinging insects (bees, wasps, hornets, fire ants).
  • Use barrier creams in addition to wearing long sleeves and pants prior to exposure to poisonous plants such as poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. Thoroughly wash affected areas immediately after exposure. These plants can cause allergic reactions from skin contact and can also be dangerous respiratory hazards when burned.

For more information on ways to protect employees during the summer download OSHA's Occupational Exposure to Heat page.