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Wildlife Safety Precautions In The Workplace (For Construction Sites)

May 18, 2023
By Dainian Nicholas, ASP
Wildlife Safety Precautions In The Workplace

You’re hard at work on a bustling construction site, the air buzzing with excitement and the sounds of progress. 

But amidst all the hustle and bustle, there’s another world thriving silently nearby, the world of wildlife. 

As fascinating as it is, it’s crucial to remember that our furry and feathered friends can sometimes pose unexpected challenges and safety risks in the workplace. 

That’s I’ll dive into the wild and explore essential wildlife safety precautions specifically tailored for construction sites. 

Understanding Common Wildlife Encounters

Construction work sites often intersect with natural habitats, increasing the likelihood of wildlife encounters. 

These encounters can pose potential risks and hazards for both workers and the animals themselves. By understanding the possible dangers, we can take appropriate precautions to ensure wildlife safety in the workplace.

Now, let’s delve into some of the potential risks and hazards associated with wildlife encounters:

Aggressive Behavior

Some wildlife species, such as territorial animals or protective parents, may exhibit aggressive behavior if they feel threatened. 

This can include charging, biting, scratching, or using their natural defenses like stingers or venom.

Physical Injuries

Wildlife encounters can result in physical injuries to workers. For instance, bites, scratches, or stings from animals can lead to pain, swelling, infection, or allergic reactions.

Zoonotic Diseases

Certain wildlife species may carry zoonotic diseases that can be transmitted to humans through bites, scratches, or exposure to bodily fluids. 

Examples include rabies, Lyme disease, hantavirus, or bird flu. These diseases can have serious health implications and require medical attention.

Disruption of Work Activities

Wildlife encounters can disrupt construction activities and cause delays. 

For instance, if workers come across nesting birds, protected species, or sensitive habitats, work may need to be temporarily halted to avoid disturbing or harming the wildlife.

Property Damage

Wildlife can cause property damage on construction sites. Animals may chew through wires, cables, or insulation, leading to electrical hazards or compromising the structural integrity of buildings or equipment.

Environmental Impact

Construction sites often coexist with ecosystems that support diverse wildlife. 

These encounters can result in unintended harm to the environment, such as destruction of habitats, disruption of migration patterns, or introduction of invasive species.

How To Prepare Construction Site for Wildlife Safety

To promote wildlife safety in the workplace, take proactive measures and prepare the construction site accordingly. 

By implementing the following precautions, construction site managers can minimize the risk of wildlife encounters and create a safer environment for both workers and animals.

Conduct a Site Assessment

Before commencing construction activities, conduct a thorough assessment of the site to identify any existing wildlife habitats or potential attractants. 

This assessment will help determine the level of wildlife activity and guide the development of appropriate safety measures.

Establish Exclusion Zones 

Identify and mark areas where wildlife encounters are more likely or where sensitive habitats exist. 

Clearly delineate exclusion zones to restrict worker access and minimize disturbance to wildlife. This can be done through signage, barriers, or fencing.

Implement Waste Management Practices

Proper waste management is essential for minimizing wildlife attractants. 

Ensure that garbage, food scraps, and other potential food sources are securely stored in animal-proof containers. 

Implement regular waste removal schedules to prevent the accumulation of materials that may attract wildlife.

Secure Potential Entry Points

Inspect the construction site for any gaps, openings, or holes that may serve as entry points for wildlife. 

Seal these openings to prevent animals from entering work areas or seeking shelter within structures.

Educate Workers 

Provide comprehensive training and educational resources to workers about wildlife safety. 

Educate them on the potential risks associated with wildlife encounters, the importance of avoiding direct contact, and the procedures to follow in case of an encounter. 

Also, encourage workers to report any sightings or signs of wildlife activity to site supervisors.

Use Deterrents

Employ non-lethal wildlife deterrents to discourage animals from entering the construction site. 

This can include installing motion-activated lights, using ultrasonic devices, or deploying visual deterrents like scarecrows or reflective tape. 

Consult with wildlife experts or local authorities for guidance on effective and humane deterrent techniques.

Maintain Clear Communication

Establish clear communication channels among workers, supervisors, and wildlife experts to ensure prompt reporting and response to wildlife encounters. 

Have an open dialogue where workers feel comfortable expressing concerns or sharing observations related to wildlife activity.

Follow Local Regulations

Familiarize yourself with local wildlife protection regulations and guidelines. Comply with any legal requirements for protecting endangered or protected species and their habitats. 

Engage with local wildlife agencies or conservation organizations to seek guidance and support in implementing wildlife safety measures.

By proactively preparing the construction site for wildlife safety, we can reduce the potential risks and hazards associated with wildlife encounters. 

These precautions not only safeguard the well-being of workers but also promote the coexistence of construction activities and wildlife conservation. 

About the author 

Dainian Nicholas, ASP

Dainian is an experienced EHS (Environment, Health, and Safety) professional with over 15 years of expertise in managing workplace safety. With a passion for creating safe and healthy work environments, Nick has dedicated his career to protecting the well-being of workers in various industries.

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