Oil Spill Workers vs. Black Widows and Brown Recluse Spiders – An OSHA Battle

Black widow spiders, brown recluse spiders, Fire ants, poisonous plants and snake bites are the stuff of nightmares and just a few of the many hazards workers involved in the oil spill clean-up will face.

While much attention has been given to worker’s exposure to hazardous chemicals, and rightly so, OSHA’s list of potential dangers for oil spill workers contains many other hazards workers and employers should consider:

  • Heat Stress
  • Crude Oil
  • Snakes, Insects, and Rodents
  • Poisonous Plants
  • Drowning
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Slips, Trips, and Falls
  • Emergency Response and Shoreline Cleanup
  • Boat and Vessel Safety
  • Ergonomic Stresses
  • Fatigue
  • Respiratory Protection

It might be easy for workers looking at the list to overlook hazards like heat stress, fatigue and ergonomic stresses. For that reason, those hazards may be the ones to which workers are most susceptible.  Or the greatest hazard could end up being the number of challenges workers face and the focus required to deal with them all.

You can learn more about the hazards oil spill workers face, including information on black widows on OSHA's website.

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