For certain workers, there can be a very real opportunity to encounter venomous snakes. Any of the following work could expose individuals to the dangers of snakes while on the job.
OSHA Standard 1926.21(b)(4) says that in job site areas where harmful plants or animals are present, employees who may be exposed shall be instructed regarding the potential hazards, and how to avoid injury, and the first aid procedures to be used in the event of injury.
Cottonmouth snakes can be large, usually about 4 - 5 feet long. Adult cottonmouth snakes have a dark tan, brown, or nearly black skin color usually with black or dark brown cross bands. Younger cottonmouth snakes will often have a more visible cross banded pattern of brown or orange with a yellow tail.
Cottonmouth snakes can be found in the Southeastern United States. Workers may find cottonmouth snakes in or around water such as in slow-moving and shallow lakes, streams and marshes. Cottonmouths can give a painful and even fatal bite. The Cottonmouth snake will defend itself when threatened and does not scare easily. When threatened, Cottonmouths will stand their ground by coiling their bodies and displaying their fangs.
When covering the dangers of snake encounters during your safety meeting, make sure to emphasize these important points:
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