Snake safety at work

Posted by Pia Abrahams on

Record high temperatures will see more snakes in and around Australian workplaces this summer.

As snakes emerge from hibernation during the warmer months, they will move near places where people live and work in search of food.

Snakes may find quiet shelter at your workplace, typically in cool, dark, protected areas such as under buildings and near sheds, around rubble and stored materials. They may also enter parked open vehicles.

Snakes are not usually aggressive and do not seek confrontation, but may retaliate if provoked. Never attempt to catch or kill a snake – most snake bites occur when people try to do this.

It’s difficult to tell the difference between a venomous and non-venomous snake. Be aware that snake bites can easily occur if inexperienced people interfere with snakes. 

It’s not necessary to try and identify the type of snake if a person is bitten. Physicians may be able to identify the type of snake from residual venom on the skin.

Treat all snake bites as dangerous and call Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance immediately. Appropriate first aid should be applied and the patient promptly placed under medical supervision, see below.

Ensure you have an up-to-date and fully-stocked snake bite first aid kit at your workplace. A high-quality snake bite kit with clear instructions that could help you save a life is the most effective first aid for any snake bite. 

Brenniston offers two high-quality, equally effective snake bite first aid kits -  Brenniston National Standard Snake Bite First Aid Kit and Brenniston Snake Bite Comprehensive First Aid Kit.

Both kits follow Australian government health authorities’ recommendations for snake bite first aid. They come in an easy to find hi-vis orange pouch, small enough to keep in a bigger kit, vehicle glove box or tool box. They can be worn on a belt or backpack for quick and easy access, and include step-by-step instructions anyone can follow.

Like all Brenniston National Standard Workplace First Aid Kits, the contents are regulated and safeguarded by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

All Brenniston National Standard Workplace First Aid Kits are proudly designed and produced in Australia.

Snakes can be a major hazard in Australian workplaces

Preventing snake bite at the workplace

Workers should take the following steps to prevent snakes and snake bite at work:

- Reduce rubbish and scrap materials where snakes can shelter.

- Minimise food sources for snakes by removing anything that may attract rodents or frogs.

- During high-risk times or after holiday breaks, remind everyone of the increased risk of the presence of snakes.

- Wear gloves and boots when moving stored materials and rubbish as they will give some protection.

Increased awareness of snakes in the workplace is the best protection. Be alert and be on the lookout for snakes.

Snake bite first aid

1. Immediately call Triple Zero (000) or mobile 112 for an ambulance

2. Ensure the patient is lying down at total rest. Do not move or transport them.

3. Place a clean dressing over the bite and secure firmly (not tightly) with a bandage

4. Apply another firm (not tight) bandage to the limb, starting at fingers or toes (leaving ends exposed) and bandage as far up the limb as possible.

5. Mark the bite area with an ‘X’ on the bandage.

6. Splint the limb, keep it still and level with the rest of the body

7. DO NOT cut the bite area

8. DO NOT suck or clean the bite area

9. DO NOT attempt to catch or identify the snake

10. Observe patient’s vital signs closely and prepare for CPR until the ambulance arrives.