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FIELD SAFETY OVERVIEW Branch of Regional Research, Central Region National Research Program, WRD


Title: Safety In Field Activities CHAPTER A9 Author: Charmaine Gunther Last modified by: Charmaine Gunther Created Date: 2/28/2000 4:43:27 PM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: FIELD SAFETY OVERVIEW Branch of Regional Research, Central Region National Research Program, WRD

Research, Central RegionNational Research
Program, WRD
  • Edited by
  • Michael M. Reddy and Charmaine D. Gunther
  • See URL http//
  • for the latest updated safety information.
  • 08/17/07 Version 2.0
  • I certify that I have read this safety
    presentation and understand the material within.
  • Employee _______________________Date___________
  • Supervisor _____________________Date__________

General Information
  • General Information OBJECTIVE To address topics
    relevant to personal safety while performing
    field and laboratory activities, with an emphasis
    on BRRCR and Colorado Front Range fieldwork.
  • Refer to the WRD Safety page for the most
    up-to-date safety information
  • http//
  • Safety First, Every Job, Every Time is the
    Safety motto for all Branch of Regional Research
  • Note that USGS and DOI policies reflect
    compliance with Department of Labor, OSHA, USEPA,
    and US Department of Transportation regulations.


Module 1 Safety in Field Activities
  • Module 1 OBJECTIVE To address topics related to
    safety policies and regulations and requirements
    for safety in field activities


Module 1 Safety in Field Activities
  • The National Field Manual is required reading
    for WRD personnel involved in collection of
    water-quality data, see http//
  • Field work requires an awareness of potential
    hazards and knowledge of regulations and


Module 1 Safety in Field Activities
  • Working outdoors potentially exposes personnel to
    numerous hazards, including
  • extreme or rapidly changing environmental
    conditions and remote locations.
  • working with or near heavy equipment.
  • direct and indirect contact with waterborne and
    airborne chemicals and pathogens.
  • dangerous animals and poisonous plants
  • Safety awareness is the first line of defense for
    on-the-spot evaluations of situations that may
    compromise your safety, so use common sense and
    trust your instincts.


Module 1 Safety in Field Activities
  • USGS and Federal Policies Manuals, Handbooks, and
  • Series Safety Management, Part 485 Safety and
    Occupational Health Program
  • http//
  • U.S. Geological Survey Manual, SM 445-2-H,
    Occupational Safety and Health Program
    Requirements Handbook (December 2001)
  • http//

Module 1 Safety in Field Activities
  • Topic-Specific DOI and USGS publications (not
    covered here) are available for
  • chemical hygiene plans
  • hazard communication, handling of waste
    materials, and hazardous waste sites
  • exposure to ionizing radiation
  • blasting and firearms
  • hearing conservation
  • reporting accidents and unsafe conditions

Module 1 Safety in Field Activities
  • Job hazard analysis
  • JHA components include
  • the sequence of steps associated with an activity
  • identification of hazards involved for each step
  • determination of controls needed to eliminate or
    reduce the hazard
  • See web site for more information
  • http//

Module 1 Safety in Field Activities
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) is defined as
    safety equipment for your skin, eyes, ears, face,
    head, extremities, and respiration
  • (see U.S. Geological Survey Manual, SM 445-2-H,
    Chapter 26, Personal Protective Equipment
    h/ch26.html and OSHA 29 CFR 1910, Subpart I)
  • The USGS is required to supply PPE, and you are
    required to use it!

Module 1 Safety in Field Activities
  • Training
  • Supervisors of field personnel must be aware of
    safety training requirements and the
    certification or recertification needed to
    perform specific tasks. A master list of
    training requirements is given at
  • http//

Module 1 Safety in Field Activities
  • Examples of training
  • Personnel who operate government-owned or leased
    vehicles must be certified and periodically
    recertified in defense driving.
  • Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and other
    first-aid certification and recertification are
    mandatory for field personnel working in remote
  • Personnel who operate motor boats must take
    motorboat operator certification training.

Module 2 Field Trip Preparations
  • Module 2 OBJECTIVE To address topics related to
    field trip preparations, safety planning, and
    emergency contacts
  • Basic preparations before every trip
  • Use safety checklists when preparing for a field
    trip and keep a field folder for each
    surface-water and ground-water site. See web
    site for safety checklists http//

Module 2 Field Trip Preparations
  • Contents of Field Folder should include
  • site type (hazardous waste, confined space,
    cableway, wading site, bridge site, boat site)
    and site description
  • site location (include map, site sketch, and
  • locations and phone numbers of nearby or nearest
    emergency facilities
  • Additional information specific to the site might
  • if it is open to hunting, season dates
  • appropriate clothing (such as orange safety
  • Hazardous animals or insects present Ticks,
    wasp nests, bears seen in vicinity, etc.

Module 2 Field Trip Preparations
  • Leave an itinerary at the office and a copy with
    family or colleagues, including contact phone
  • Schedule times to check in at work and with
    family when field trips require overnight stays.
  • Follow the established schedule and notify all
    concerned parties if your schedule changes.
  • Obtain communication equipment, such as a
    cellular phone or two-way radio. The BRRCR has a
    Satellite Phone available for use in remote
    locations without cellular coverage.

Module 3 Transportation
  • Module 3 OBJECTIVE To address topics related to
    transportation safety in field activities
  • Vehicles and Trailers
  • Watercraft
  • Aircraft
  • other modes

Module 3 Transportation (Vehicles and
  • Road Vehicles and Trailers
  • Operators should be familiar with the operating
    system of the vehicle before they leave for the
  • Test operation of the lights, locks, mirrors,
    seat and shoulder belts, seat height adjustments,
    headrests, and transmission systems.
  • Check tire pressure and tread wear.
  • Conduct a visual under-carriage inspection.

Module 3 Transportation (Vehicles and
  • MUSTS that apply to all USGS employees driving
    government vehicles
  • Possess valid state/international licenses for
    the class of vehicle being operated.
  • Take a course in driver safetythe current
    requirement is to take the course every 3 years.
  • Occupants shall wear seat and shoulder belts
    while the vehicle is in motion, and appropriate
    personal protective equipment, such as helmets
    and goggles, when operating vehicles such as All
    Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) or snowmobiles.
  • Driver of a USGS vehicle shall not use a phone
    while the vehicle is in motion.

Module 3 Transportation (Vehicles and
  • Inspect all vehicles before use.
  • See web site for inspection checklist
  • http//
  • Tie down or otherwise secure all cargo.
  • You MUST wear a seat and shoulder belt.
  • Obey all traffic regulations and operate your
    vehicle in a safe manner. (NOTE the USGS does
    not pay your traffic fines for violations!)

Module 3 Transportation (Vehicles and
  • Special considerations
  • Towing a trailer requires additional training,
    caution, and proficiency in driving.
  • Vehicles and trailers vary in maximum load
  • Vehicles and trailers must be compatible with a
    matching hitch ball and coupling, and matching
    electrical connections for lights.

Module 3 Transportation (Vehicles and
  • Trailers are required to have standard safety
    equipment such as safety chains (placed in an x
    under the coupling), lights, brakes (if
    applicable), and load-securing devices.
  • Be aware that air turbulence from passing
    vehicles can cause your trailer to sway.

Module 3 Transportation (Vehicles and
  • Drive slower when towing a trailer.
  • Disengage the vehicles automatic overdrive
    gear option and Cruise Control when towing.
  • Maintain extra following and stopping distance
    to allow for the increase load.
  • Loads must be balanced and not exceed the maximum
    load capacity.
  • Never permit anyone to ride in or on trailers.

Module 3 Transportation (Vehicles and
  • Be aware of potentially dangerous driving
    conditions found in the Colorado Front Range
  • Wet, icy, or snow-covered roads
  • High wind velocity.
  • Loose gravel roads.
  • Glare from bright sunshine
  • Off-road (4 wheel drive) driving conditions
  • Poor visibility from dust storms, smoke, fog, or
    heavy precipitation/blizzard conditions.

Module 3 Transportation
  • Watercraft
  • Boats are used extensively by USGS personnel for
    water quality sampling in rivers and lakes.
  • All boats must carry equipment as required by the
    U.S. Coast Guard.
  • You are required to follow U.S. Coast Guard
    regulations for waterway safety and etiquette.

Module 3 Transportation
  • WRD Memorandum No. 96-25 and the DOI Departmental
    Manual 485 provide regulations for water craft
    safety http//
  • See USGS web site for more information on water
    craft safety http//

Module 3 Transportation
  • Aircraft
  • Airplanes and helicopters are sometimes used for
    sampling trips to remote areas.
  • Any field activity involving the use of aircraft
    must be carefully planned and coordinated with
    USGS safety officials and DOI Office of Aircraft
  • WRD Memorandum No. 95-49 provides an example of a
    safety plan for aircraft use.

Module 3 Transportation
(other modes)
  • Other Modes of Transportation
  • Include snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, horses
    or mules, and backpacking
  • For more information see WRD Memo 99.32 and WRD
    Memo 00.11

Module 4 Surface-water
  • Module 4 OBJECTIVE To address topics related to
    safety concerns associated with surface-water
    activities and related field studies
  • See WRD Memo 99.32 for safety policy related to
    wading measurements http//
  • When possible, BRRCR personnel are encouraged to
    consult or engage experienced WRDWater Science
    Center Hydrologic Technicians to assist with or
    make streamflow measurments.

Module 4 Surface-water
activities (wading)
  • Wading
  • Examine the section of a stream or river you plan
    to wade.
  • Check the field folder for information relating
    to safety.
  • Do not attempt to wade a stream for which values
    of depth multiplied by velocity equal or exceed
    10 ft2/s. (Streams only 2 ft deep but with
    velocities of 5 ft/s or more can be dangerous to

Module 4 Surface-water
activities (wading)
  • Wear a personal flotation device (PFD) during
    ALL wading activities.
  • Approved PFDs for wading include the standard
    vest type, and the self-inflating suspender vest
  • The PFD must fit properly, be rated for your
    weight, and be in good condition.
  • The PFD should be dried and properly stored
    between trips.

Module 4 Surface-water
activities (wading)
  • Hip boots and chest waders provide protection
    from cold, pollutants, and underwater objects.
  • Be aware of the possibility of slipping and going
    underwater (feet up, head down) while wearing
  • Practice wearing hip boots and waders while sub-
    merged in a controlled, group-training situation.
  • Chest Waders with a strap or belt closure at the
    top can provide a temporary air flotation

Module 4 Surface-water
activities (wading)
  • Be aware of surrounding conditions. Watch for
    debris floating downstream.
  • Beware of sand channels that can shift under
  • Watch the water level, especially if rising
  • When wading below a dam or control structure,
    inform the gate operator before entering the

Module 4 Surface-water activities
  • Working on Bridges Can be Very Dangerous.
    Again, engage experienced WRD personnel if
  • For instructions on the preparation of a traffic
    control plans for field operations from bridges
    and along roadways see the U.S. Geological Survey
    Manual, SM 445-2-H, Chapter 17, Work Zone Safety
  • For every bridge site, develop and diagram a
    detailed procedure that conforms to State and
    Federal regulationskeep in field folder.

Module 4 Surface-water activities
  • The bridge safety procedure includes plans for
    warning cones and signs, lane blockage, and
    traffic control.
  • Practice assembling and using the equipment
    before starting field activities.
  • Make sure the equipment is operational before
    leaving the office.

Module 4 Surface-water activities
  • When using a bridge crane, keep a pair of
    heavy-duty wire or bolt cutters readily available
    for cutting the cable in case debris snags the
    sounding line.
  • Be aware of boat traffic.
  • The suspender type PFD is approved for bridge
  • Workers involved in peripheral activities should
    wear high-visibility vests with reflective tape.
  • A PFD must be worn when working over bridges.

Module 4 Surface-water
activities (boats)
  • Working from Boats
  • Before working from a boat, obtain the
    appropriate training for the vessel being used.
  • Boats are to be inspected annually.
  • A PFD must be worn at all times.
  • If a vehicle is being used to trailer the boat to
    the site, the vehicle and trailer are to be
    included in the preliminary inspection.
  • Equip the boat with all USGS- and Coast
    Guard-required equipment.
  • Keeping a waterproof bag on each boat stocked
    with emergency items/supplies.

Module 4 Surface-water
activities (boats)
  • All boat passengers should be informed of
    emergency procedures and the location of
    emergency equipment.
  • Boat operators in remote locations are required
    to have current training in first aid and CPR.
  • They must also know how to use the type(s) of
    fire extinguisher(s) on the watercraft.

Module 4 Surface-water
activities (boats)
  • A navigation plan for each field trip must be
    left with the supervisor or other designee.
  • The plan should include
  • date and purpose of trip
  • name(s) of operator(s) and name(s) of passengers
  • destination and route to be taken
  • time of departure and estimated time of return
  • radio frequency or cell phone numbers

Module 4 Surface-water
activities (boats)
  • Check weather conditions before departure.
  • Each person on the boat must wear a Coast
    Guard-approved PFD.
  • Inspect all PFDs for damage before and after each
    use. Store PFDs properly and discard damaged

Module 4 Surface-water activities
  • Working from Cableways
  • Water-quality sampling from a cableway requires
    extensive measures that are described in
    Streamgaging Cableways (Wagner, 1991) and in WRD
    Memorandum No. 91.42these guidelines must be
  • http//
  • Become familiar with cableway procedures and
    requirements and obtain necessary training.
  • Check the field folder for special considerations
    pertaining to each cableway.

Module 4 Surface-water activities
  • SCUBA Diving
  • SCUBA diving to collect samples is permitted only
    after every requirement of OSHA 29 CFR
    1910.401.441, Subpart T, has been met.
  • Diving activities are regulated by the USGS
    Diving Control Board and the Diving Safety

Module 4 Surface-water activities
  • Extensive training is required to be certified in
    SCUBA diving and sufficient skill must be
    demonstrated before diving is permitted for any
    USGS activity.
  • If diving is necessary for sample collection, it
    must be coordinated with USGS Diving Officer.
  • Guidance is provided in Department Manual 485,
    chap. 27 http//
    eactionsearchDM , and the USGS Diving Safety
    Manual http//

Module 4 Surface-water
activities (fishing)
  • Electrofishing
  • Electrofishing involves applying an electrical
    charge in water to stun and capture fish.
  • Requirements for this procedure include
  • Field teams consist of at least two people, one
    of which will have been trained and certified in
    a USGS-approved course in the safety and
    technical procedures of electrofishing.

Module 5 Ground-water
  • Module 5 OBJECTIVE To address topics related to
    safety issues associated with ground-water
    activities during field studies

Module 5 Ground-water
  • Well Sites
  • When arriving at the site, use your senses!
  • Do you see warning signs posted or animals
  • hear gunshots?
  • see exposed electrical connectors and wires?
  • smell fumes?

Module 5 Ground-water
  • Well houses or shelters constructed over wells
    are havens for bees, wasps, spiders, snakes, and
  • Check your surroundings carefully for signs of
  • If you smell, hear, or see signs of animal
    infestation, proceed only after taking necessary
  • Before entering, the enclosure should be
    ventilated, disinfected, and cleaned.

Module 5 Ground-water
  • Check the well house or shelter carefully for
    chemical fumes and for faulty power systems.
  • Before putting your hand or feet into a confined
    space, visually inspect the area.
  • Poorly ventilated shelters are especially
    hazardous and can be classified as confined
    spaces, which are defined and regulated by OSHA
    and USGS policies.

Module 5 Ground-water
  • Confined spaces are discussed in detail in USGS
    Handbook 445-2-H, chap. 40 http//
    s-manual/handbook/hb/445-2-h/ch40.html , and in
    OSHA 29 CFR 1910.146.
  • Use testing devices such as portable
    photoionization detector (sniffer) if the site
    has potential for chemical or radioactive
  • Never turn on or remove a well-owners pump
    without permission but you may turn off the
    system for safety reasons.

Module 5 Ground-water
  • Before leaving the well site, minimize any hazard
    to yourself, others, and the environment.
  • Clean and decontaminate yourself and all sampling
    and processing equipment.
  • Channel or contain purge and waste water to avoid
    transforming the site into a slippery swamp.
  • Contain all trash and chemical wastes.
  • Follow Federal, State, and local safety
    regulations for handling and disposal of
    contaminated waste materials.

Module 5 Ground-water
  • USGS and OSHA have general safety requirements
    for working around heavy machinery and power
  • USGS Handbooks 445-2-H http//
    anual/handbook/hb/445-2-h/ch37.html cover
    electrical safety, lockout/tagout procedures, and
    personal protective equipment.

Module 5 Ground-water
  • You are subject to all safety requirements when
    working around well-drilling associated with a
    drill rig.
  • Wear personal protective equipment (steel-toed
    boots, hardhat, hearing protection, and a
    respirator if necessary).
  • Communicate with the drilling crew and heed their
    instructions on safety.
  • Be aware of overhead power lines that may come
    into contact with the drill tower.

Module 6 Chemicals
  • Module 6 OBJECTIVE To address topics related to
    safety issues associated with use of chemicals
    during field activities

Module 6 Chemicals
  • Use and Handling
  • Safe use of chemicals, follow the guidelines
    below, communicate hazards to all members of the
    field team, use proper personal protective
    equipment, and apply common sense when working
    with dangerous substances.
  • A checklist for chemicals can be found at the
    following web site
  • http//

Module 6 Chemicals
  • Obtain information about the chemical or
  • Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) supply
    material characteristics such as chemical
    description, fire and explosion data, chemical
    compatibility and reactivity, protection
    precautions, and spill procedures.
  • Chemical safety information is available from
    many Federal and private sources.
  • The Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) of a given
    chemical is listed by OSHA 29 CFR 1910.1000,
    subpart Z, and in the Pocket Guide to Chemical

Module 6 Chemicals
  • DOI and USGS internal memorandums describe
    chemical usage and handling policies of commonly
    used chemicals.
  • DOI Departmental Manual 485, chap. 17, for
    guidelines on chemical safety in laboratories.
  • USGS Handbook 445-2-H, chap. 21 for Industrial
    Hygiene Laboratory Protection Program

Module 6 Chemicals
  • Use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Wear protective clothing (gloves, glasses, lab
  • Use a respirator if required note that you must
    be certified before using a respirator.
  • Select PPE appropriate to the chemical(s) to be
  • PPE can be designed for specific chemicals.

Module 6 Chemicals
  • Wear gloves that will provide adequate
  • Gloves become ineffective if they are dissolved
    by the chemical you are using.
  • Vinyl gloves are use for handling inorganic acids
    and bases, Latex gloves are used for handling
    relatively mild organic solvents.
  • Avoid placing chemical containers where they
    might be knocked over.
  • Carry an appropriate Spill Kit or disposal
    container for the chemicals you are using.

Module 6 Chemicals
  • Handle and mix chemicals and compounds
  • Open chemical containers slowly and carefully,
    wearing proper PPE.
  • Allow hot containers to cool before opening.
  • Open frozen or encrusted lids with caution.
  • Open fused-glass ampules by breaking the ampule
    at the base of neck (in a direction away from you
    and others).

Module 6 Chemicals
  • Transport
  • USGS must follow applicable Federal, DOT, EPA,
    and supplemental State guidelines when
    transporting chemicals and chemical wastes.
  • According to these guidelines the USGS is exempt
    from many industry handling and shipping
    regulations and training requirements.
  • USGS generally only transports small quantities
    of chemicals for use in field and
    office-laboratory (Federal EPA and DOT
    small-quantity exemption rules apply).

Module 6 Chemicals
  • Check your States laws on intrastate transport
    of small quantities of chemicals in a government
  • It is not necessary to placard your vehicle when
    transporting small quantities of chemicals.
    Placarding a vehicle informs enforcement and
    emergency response personnel that the vehicle
    contains large amounts of the placarded material.
  • First-response teams might not immediately
    approach a wrecked vehicle that is placarded for
    a highly dangerous or reactive material.

Module 6 Chemicals
  • For safe containment and transport of chemicals
  • Protect yourself and passengers in the vehicle by
    stowing and securing chemicals away from the
    passenger compartment and behind a safety screen
    or barrier.
  • Stow compressed gas cylinders securely and in a
    vertical position.
  • Never transport cylinders with regulators
    attached or with safety caps missing.
  • When possible, transport chemicals in their
    original DOT-approved shipping containers with
    the package correctly sealed.

Module 6 Chemicals
  • Carry spill kit(s) appropriate for the chemicals
    being transported.
  • Label packages as to their contents, and remove
    old, inappropriate labels from containers that
    are being reused.
  • Keep a chemical inventory list in the glove box
    or side door pocket of the vehicle.
  • Waste products should be transported in the same
    safe and approved manner as other hazardous

Module 6 Chemicals
  • Storage and Disposal
  • Chemicals require strict storage procedures for
    safety reasons.
  • Specific storage areas should be designated in
    your vehicle and office laboratory.
  • Use approved chemical storage cabinets.
  • Separate storage is needed for acids, corrosives,
    and flammables.
  • High purity, laboratory-grade flammables should
    be stored apart from other flammables, such as
    gasoline and solvents.

Module 6 Chemicals
  • Chemical and waste disposal requirements, and
    exemptions, are regulated by EPA and supplemental
    state guidelines must also be followedcontact
    the BRRCR Safety Officer (currently Carlos
    Arozerena at 303-236-3302) for details.

Module 7 Contaminated
  • Module 7 OBJECTIVE To address topics related to
    safety issues associated with sampling or contact
    with contaminated water during field activities

Module 7 Contaminated
  • Contaminated Water
  • Communicate known or suspected contamination to
    all personnel who could come in contact with the
    sample or source water.
  • Never drink sample water, no matter how pristine
    the environment appears. For example, a clear
    mountain stream or lake may contain Giardia
    bacteria from beavers.

Module 7 Contaminated
  • Waterborne, disease-causing organisms (pathogens)
    are found in nearly all surface-water systems
    and occur in many ground-water systems.
  • Most pathogens generally originate from body
    fluids and feces of animals and humans, although
    some (Legionella, Pseudomonas aerogenosa,
    Clostridia spp.) are normal environmental

Module 7 Contaminated
  • Pathogens enter surface-water resources through
    sewage discharge and spills, animal feedlot
    operations, landfills, storm and agricultural
    runoff and direct contact.
  • Microorganisms also are transported on small
    particles such as dust or aerosols.
  • Pathogens enter ground water through infiltration
    from septic tank effluent, leachate from fields
    and ponds, and from faulty well seals and
  • Bacteria, viruses, and other pathogenic organisms
    can occur in the most pristine environments.

Module 7 Contaminated
  • To minimize exposures to and effects from
    contaminated water
  • Receive required periodic (where appropriate)
    inoculations for waterborne pathogens (typhoid,
    tetanus, hepatitis, polio, and rabies).
  • USGS immunization program requires inoculations
    for field personnel working around polluted

Module 7 Contaminated
  • Contact the BRRCR Administrative Officer, BRRCR
    Assistant Branch Chief, or your Supervisor about
    receiving inoculations before you sample.
  • Wear rubber boots, coveralls or aprons, latex or
    vinyl gloves, and splash protection. (Note The
    proper way to dispose of contaminated gloves is
    to first turn the gloves inside out while taking
    them off.)

Module 7 Contaminated
  • Use personal protective equipment, possibly
    including respiratory equipment (certification
    required) when working in contaminated areas.
  • Pathogens can enter your body through many
    opening such as your mouth, eyes, nose, cuts,
    scrapes, or chapped skin.

Module 7 Contaminated
  • Avoid practices (such as mouth pipeting and
    unnecessary handling of sharps) that may allow
    ingestion of pathogens or other contaminants.
  • Never eat, drink or put items in your mouth while
  • Do not store food or drink in sample coolers.
  • Carry antibacterial soap and wash your hands
    before leaving site and wash again after
    unloading supplies.

Module 7 Contaminated
  • Disinfect all contaminated surfaces as soon as
    possible and handle bacteria plates carefully and
    autoclave them before disposal.
  • Alert colleagues and laboratory if samples could
    contain large concentrations of hazardous
  • Contagious/hazardous biological material should
    be labeled with biohazard stickers.

Module 8 Environmental
  • Module 8 OBJECTIVE To address topics related to
    safety issues associated with exposure to extreme
    environmental conditions during field activities

Module 8 Environmental
  • Temperature and Sun Exposure
  • Prepare for extreme conditions that might be
    experienced in your area.
  • Before leaving for the field, check the weather
  • Comfort range for humans is between 60 to 90
    degrees Fhypothermia and hyperthermia can occur
    in temperatures outside this range

Module 8 Environmental
  • Hypothermia is a condition of reduced body
    temperature caused by exposure to cold, and
    aggravated by wet clothes, wind, hunger, and

Module 8 Environmental
  • Warning signals of hypothermia are uncontrollable
    shivering, incoherence, listlessness, fumbling
    hands, frequent stumbling, drowsiness, inability
    to get up after resting.
  • Victims should be moved to a sheltered area,
    remove/replace wet clothes, and provide external
    warmth if possible.

Module 8 Environmental
  • Hyperthermia is a condition of increased body
    temperature caused by exposure to excessive heat.
  • Warning signals of hyperthermia are throbbing
    pressure in the head, unsteadiness, dizziness,
    nausea, dry skin, rapid pulse, and muscle pains
    and spasms.
  • Treat immediatelyfirst aid involves cooling down
    and rehydrating.

Module 8 Environmental
  • to prevent hyperthermia
  • Drink water in moderate amounts on a scheduled
  • The normal body requirement for fluids in
    temperate regions is 2 1/2 quarts per day desert
    conditions require more fluid.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine (diuretics).
  • Wear lightweight clothing and wide-brimmed hat.
  • Schedule activities that require the most
    exertion in early morning or late afternoon.

Module 8 Environmental
  • Sun exposure can have painful and dangerous
    short-term and long-term effects.
  • To prevent excessive sun exposure wear a
    broad-brimmed hat, lightweight clothing, and
    apply sunscreen to all exposed skin to avoid
    burning and skin cancer.
  • Wear sunglasses with polarized lenses to protect
    eyes, reduce glare, and improve vision,
    especially when working on water or snow.

Module 8 Environmental
  • Thunderstorms and Tornadoes
  • Thunderstorms are often accompanied by high
    winds, lighting, and hail, are often predicted by
    weather forecasts - but also can move into an
    area with almost no warning. Afternoon summer
    thunderstorms are quite common in the Colorado
    Front Range.

Module 8 Environmental
  • To protect yourself during thunderstorms seek
    shelter inside a vehicle or building.
  • Keep away from open doors and windows, plugged in
    appliances, and metal.
  • In case of a lightning strike, someone must be
    able to begin revival techniques, such as CPR.
  • Put on rubber boots or rubber-soled shoes.
  • Do not work on electrical lines, pipes,
    cableways, or steel structures.
  • Do not use metal objects such as wading rods,
    bridge cranes, and well-logging equipment.

Module 8 Environmental
  • If caught in the open, crouch down low, but do
    not lie flat on the ground.
  • Avoid standing near isolated trees.
  • Avoid working on streams and lakes.
  • Seek lower elevations such as valleys or
    canyonsavoid being on peak or ridges.
  • If you feel your hair standing on end and your
    skin tingling, this is a sign that lightning
    might be about to strikecrouch immediately (feet
    together, hand on knees).

Module 8 Environmental
  • Tornadoes sometimes accompany thunderstormsthey
    are rapidly rotating columns of air that descend
    from the clouds in a funnel formation.
  • Tornados occur fairly often in the high plains
    area east of the Denver Front Range foothills.
  • Micro-burst downdrafts are localized high-wind
    phenomena in mountainous areas that can have much
    the same effect as a tornado.

Module 8 Environmental
  • To protect yourself during a tornado seek shelter
    immediately if there is a sudden, violent change
    in weather involving wind, rain, hail, or
    funnel-shaped clouds.
  • Avoid occupying vehicles or mobile homes.
  • If caught outside, find a ravine, ditch, or
    culvert and lie flat (but watch out for flash
  • If inside, go to basement or lowest interior
    reinforced part of the structure (closet or
    bathroom) stay away from windows.

Module 8 Environmental
  • Floods
  • Rain can fall at a rate of several inches per
    hour and rapidly create dangerous flash flood
    conditions especially in the narrow canyons of
    the Front Range foothills such as Bear Creek,
    Boulder Creek, and Clear Creek.

Module 8 Environmental
  • Weather forecasts are helpful in planning your
    activities, but be aware of changing conditions.
  • Be aware of dry creekbeds that can become raging
    rivers in a short period (plan your escape ahead
    of time so you can act immediately).

Module 8 Environmental
  • Earthquakes, Landslides, and Rockfalls
  • Although earthquakes occur more frequently in
    tectonically active areas, an earthquake can
    occur anywhere and without warning.

Module 8 Environmental
  • The greatest danger in an earthquake is from
    falling objects and collapsing buildings.
  • Take cover under a solid structure able to
    withstand impacts from above.
  • If you are driving, slow down and pull over to
    the side of the road.
  • Avoid overhead structures such as bridges and

Module 8 Environmental
  • Landslides and Rock falls Small roadside
    landslides and small to large rockfalls are
    common along roads in mountainous areas of
    Colorado. Fatal rockfalls have occurred along
    I-70 near Georgetown and along Highway 6 in Clear
    Creek Canyon near Golden. I-70 through Glenwood
    Canyon has been closed due to large boulder falls
    onto the highway. These events typically occur
    during or follow periods of heavy rain. Be aware
    of small rocks fallen onto the roadway they may
    be indicators of larger things to come! Take the
    Falling Rocks warning sign along a highway

Module 8 Environmental
  • Fire Forest fires are a common occurrence in
    Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region.
  • Fire can spread out of control rapidlycall 911
    if you notice a brush or forest fire, or if your
    own fire gets out of control.
  • Be aware of, and comply with, any burning bans in
    effect for your field site.
  • Take care to properly extinguish any burning
    materials and dispose of safely.
  • Remember You can help prevent Forest Fires!

Module 8 Environmental
  • Snow and Ice
  • Snow and ice are dynamic mediums that change
    quickly in structure and strength.
  • Snow and ice can accumulate rapidly, hiding
    hazards, and creating slippery conditions.
  • Heavy snowfall (white-outs) can be disorienting
    and can produce avalanche conditions in steep

Module 8 Environmental
  • Wear layers of appropriate clothing and work in
  • Working on ice requires experience, training and
    knowledge of the water body over which the ice
    has formed. If possible, engage or consult
    personnel familiar with such work.
  • When in Doubt, Dont Go Out (on the ice).

Module 9 Animals
  • Module 9 OBJECTIVE To address topics related to
    safety issues associated with animal hazards
    during field activities
  • For guidelines on potentially dangerous animals,
    see web site
  • http//
  • Before a field trip, find out which species
    inhabit the area and how to deal with them.
  • Most animals will vigorously protect their young
    and should not be approached or disturbed.

Module 9 Animals
  • Arachnids and Insects
  • Most common remedy for bites and stings involves
    basic first aid, followed by professional medical
    attention if symptoms warrant.
  • Persons with known allergic reactions to insects
    should wear or carry on their person medical
    alert identification, and carry sting kits for
    use in emergencies.

Module 9 Animals
  • Scorpions, spiders, and ticks
  • Spiders, and ticks are commonly found in Colorado
    and Rocky Mountain area.
  • Spiders and scorpions are known to inhabit
    enclosed, dark spaces, for example - inside well
    houses and streamgage shelters.

Module 9 Animals
  • Scorpions are known to frequent the desert, but
    are also found in more temperate areas.
  • They often blend in with the terrain.
  • Stings often involve an encounter between a big
    toe and a scorpion that has crawled into a shoe.
  • Check shoes and boots left in the field vehicle
    before putting them on.
  • Beware of putting your hands and feet into small,
    dark spaces.

Module 9 Animals
  • Only a few spiders in North America bite people,
    and the venom of most is harmless - exceptions
    include the black widow and the brown recluse.
  • Black widow spider is common in Colorado often
    found in wood piles and basement areas.
  • Brown Recluse spiders are found in much of
    Colorado their bite can be serious.

Module 9 Animals
  • Brown recluse spider (Loxosceles reclusa)
    frequents areas of human habitation and prefers
    dark spaces, such as equipment shelters, as well
    as areas in the wild.
  • Be familiar with the area in which you are
    working and take care when walking and when
    reaching into small spaces.
  • See web site showing picture of spiders
  • http//

Module 9 Animals
  • Ticks are found nearly everywhere in North
  • Transmitted diseases include Rocky Mountain
    spotted fever and Lyme disease.
  • To reduce exposure, wear long pants, tuck the
    pant legs into your socks.
  • Use a repellant containing DEET
  • Check regularly for ticks - including neck,
    scalp, and groin areas.

Module 9 Animals
  • Bees and Wasps
  • Bee stingers are equipped with barbs that should
    be scraped off if a person is stung--using
    forceps or tweezers to pull the stinger out can
    force more venom into the wound.
  • Wasp stingers has no barb the venom is injected
    and the stinger usually slides out.
  • Seek medical attention if symptoms warrant.

Module 9 Animals
  • Snakes
  • Only 10 percent of the approximately 3,000
    species in the world are poisonous.
  • In the event of snakebite, take victim to nearest
    medical facility as soon as possible.
  • Even if a person has been bitten by a
    nonpoisonous snake it should be treated by
    medical personnel (some people are allergic to
    the foreign protein in snake saliva).

Module 9 Animals
  • Common symptoms of poisonous snakebites from pit
    vipers are
  • burning, fiery, stinging pain at the bite site
  • swelling skin discoloration nausea and
    vomiting a minty, metallic, rubbery taste in the
    mouth sweating and chills
  • If pain does not get any worse and remains
    localized, venom probably was not passed.
  • If the pain becomes severe, venom was probably

Module 9 Animals
  • Common poisonous snakes are copperheads,
    cottonmouths, water moccasins, coral snakes and
  • See web site showing picture of poisonous snakes
  • http//

Module 9 Animals
  • Bears
  • Bear behavior is unpredictableaccording to
    Guidelines for Safe Geologic Field Work in Alaska
    (U.S.G.S, May 1978). Bears fiercely defend any
    carcasses and will often bury or partially cover
    such prizes for later.
  • Bears can see almost as well as people, but trust
    their noses much more than their eyes or ears.
  • Make frequent noise when traveling along trails
    that bears might use.

Module 9 Animals
  • Avoid carrion (dead and decaying animals or
    fish), fresh kill, or gut piles.
  • Avoid berry patches, or other areas abundant with
    plants that bears use for food.
  • Avoid willow and tall grass patches bears
    sometimes use these area for daybeds.

Module 9 Animals
  • Avoid areas with fresh bear tracks.
  • Make noise or wear bells when moving so as not to
    surprise bears.
  • Work in teams of two or larger.
  • If you find yourself close to a bear, give the
    bear all the room you can.
  • Let the bear know you are humantalk in a normal
    voice and wave your arms.

Module 9 Animals
  • DO NOT RUN! Bears will often make bluff charges
    without making contact.
  • If a bear actually makes contact, surrender! Fall
    to ground, curl up into a ball, and play dead.
    Typically a bear will break off its attack once
    it feels the threat has been eliminated.
    However, if a BLACK Bear continues to attack,

Module 9 Animals
  • Mountain Lions
  • Mountain lions are a species of large cats found
    in the North Americaprimary habitat is within
    and west of the Rocky Mountains. Mountain Lions
    have been increasingly encountered in the Front
    Range foothills area of Colorado west of Denver.

Module 9 Animals
  • They are active during the day and night
    searching for food such as deer and smaller
  • Be alert to reports of mountain lion attacks or
    sightings in your field site area.
  • Turning and running can evoke a predatory attack
  • Try to appear as large as possible raise your
    hands above your head holding a coat or other

Module 9 Animals
  • Rodents and other Small Mammals
  • Rodents and other small mammals can be disease
  • Known carriers of Hantavirus include the deer
    mouse, pinon mouse, brush mouse, cotton rat, and
    western chipmunk.
  • Hantavirus does not cause apparent illness in the
    host, but infected individual sheds the virus in
    saliva, urine, and feces for weeks.

Module 9 Animals
  • Rabies infection is another hazard of contact
    with small animals, especially skinks, raccoons,
    foxes, coyotes, bats, cats and dogs.
  • Structures with heavy rodent infestation should
    be approached with extreme caution and may
    require special decontamination procedures by
    trained safety personnel.
  • Do not attempt to remove or decontaminate a
    rodent infested area without first being trained
    in specific procedures and Do Not enter an
    infested area with such decontamination done

Module 9 Animals
  • Domestic Animals
  • Field work may involve working in areas where
    cats, dogs, cows, horses, and other animals can
    be carriers of disease.
  • Do not pet, feed, or have contact with these
  • Before entering private property, obtain
    permission to enter.

Module 10
  • Module 10 OBJECTIVE To address topics related
    to safety issues associated with plant hazards
    encountered during field activities.
  • For guidelines and pictures on poisonous plants
    see web site
  • http//
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