As the summer comes to a close it is important to remember that many insects are still out there and sensing the shorter days and cooler evening temperatures. Many bees and wasps become easily agitated during this time of year, and the number of reported stings actually increases in late August and September. Try to avoid these insects if possible, but if you do get stung, please report it as an official injury and get medical attention.
Please see the FREAS SharePoint page under Safety for more information on this topic and a list of all previous Weekly Safety Messages issued this year.
Extended Safety Message:
- 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 procedures to be used in the event of injury.
- Often overlooked, injuries and deaths due to bees, spiders and other insects are a concern that organizations should manage as seriously as any other hazard in the workplace.
- Bee/Wasp stings can produce different reactions, ranging from temporary pain and discomfort to a severe allergic reaction. Having one type of reaction doesn’t mean you’ll always have the same reaction every time you’re stung, or that the next reaction will necessarily be more severe.
- Inspect your work area before starting for signs of bees or wasps.
- To report pest control problems, please call 831-1141.
- Keep work areas clean. Insects may be attracted to discarded food/drink & packaging.
- If possible, wear light-colored, smooth-finished clothing to cover as much of the body as possible.
- When a bee stings, its stinger, the venom sac and other parts of the bee’s body are pulled out and left behind, killing the bee.
- Bee stingers should be removed as soon as possible since the venom sac remains attached when the bee flies off and can continue injecting venom.
- A wasp retains its stinger and so a single wasp can sting multiple times.
- Wasp stings also carry a small amount of venom that may cause irritation and infection.
- If you are stung by a bee or wasp, notify your supervisor and report to Nurse Managed Health Care at the STAR Campus (or other approved facilities) for treatment.
- If you are experiencing severe chest pain, nausea, severe sweating, loss of breath, serious swelling, or slurred speech, immediately ask a co-worker for help to call 911.
- If you are aware that you have a severe allergy to biting or stinging insects, please consider wearing a medical warning bracelet or carry a wallet card.
- Employees with a history of severe allergic reactions to insect bites/stings should notify their supervisor and co-workers in advance.
- Employees with known serious reactions to bee stings should carry an EpiPen (epinephrine). See your personal physician to determine if you qualify for an injector.
- Delayed reactions can occur even days to weeks after the sting. Serum sickness is a type of delayed reaction that occurs a week to 10 days after a sting and may cause itching, rash, fever, joint pain, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes. Seek medical attention.