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Spiders, bugs and Hidden Hazards, OH My!
What do spiders and hidden hazards have in common? They are two completely different things. Well I am sure most of you have heard about spiders being located in some work areas, and believe it or not, these are considered hazards. Because we are nearing the completion of the project and many of us are starting to clean up and clear out gang boxes, carts and trailers, we are going into places that may not have seen the light of day for quite some time. It is in these places that many spiders like to live and set up their homes. If your task will require you to clear out some long standing items, you will want to inspect around the area first and check for any signs of spiders, (and I guess webs would be the best thing to tip you offÖ), and you should ALWAYS wear sturdy gloves when picking/cleaning up items, even if it is just a stack of rags, as spiders do like to set up shop in those types of places as well.
There are a couple of spiders that are fairly common in the Southwest, that are dangerous, and that it is possible you might come across in your work on site. They are the Black Widow, and the Brown Recluse. Both have a reputation that might be a little blown out of proportion, but they are not to be toyed with, as both kinds have venom that is toxic to humans, and their bites can be quite painful. Typically speaking, although their bites can be fatal to humans, it is actually quite rare that that happens (in less than 1% of bite cases) and usually happens with the very young, the very old, and the very infirm. But we still should not take them lightly. There can be lasting after effects from a bite, especially from the Brown Recluse, which can cause open sores that heal poorly and can leave a permanent scar. In many cases if you are bitten you might not feel the bite, or at most it will feel like a pinprick. Symptoms of a bite are varied, but include chills, fever, generalized weakness or listlessness, as well as swelling and rashes in the area of the bite.
If you do get bitten the best course of action is to stay calm, donít panic, and get yourself to the nurses station right away. If you are working in an area and you spot either of these two spiders, leave them alone, (as neither is aggressive, and will only bite if disturbed), and call your safety representative. He can make arrangements to have the proper exterminators come out and clear the area.
It is also important that we use this hidden hazard thought process for things other than just spider finding. Whenever we approach a task we should just stand back for a second or two, and think what could I do to ensure I donít get hurt. It is typically the thing hiding in the dark, the thing we didnít see or didnít think of, that gets us.
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