Snakes have been found on a few job sites and if you have not seen them yet on your site, it will not be long. Here are some suggestions from the DuPont crew on how to be safe around snakes.
• Use caution around when inspecting equipment in the morning. Snakes are cold blooded and will seek warmth from engines. Recently, one of our crew members had a family member find a snake taking refuge in the engine of her car.
• Remain aware in heavily vegetated areas. A copper head, a local venomous species, was uncovered during a clearing operation here at DuPont last week.
• Become familiar with the snake species in your area. Where will they likely be found? Are they aggressive, venomous, restrictors, etc. Do they have any distinguishing characteristics? Copper heads reportedly smell like cucumbers.
• If you must kill a snake, DO NOT USE a shovel or other hand tool. Use an excavator bucket or other piece of heavy equipment. Rest assured the snake can strike faster than you can move.
• Rattlesnakes will rattle to warn you of their presence, but it has been my own personal experience that by the time you hear the rattle, you are within striking range.
• Look for signs of snake activity. They leave very distinctive tracks in sand. Look for molted snake skin.
• Snakes like to be under things: rocks, wood or debris piles. Generally snakes will avoid you. Some species, such as the cotton mouth, are aggressive and will stand their ground when threatened, but any snake may strike if cornered or stepped on.
• Wear proper clothing and PPE. Fangs of snakes are long and sharp but are easily broken. They typically cannot penetrate leather boots. Consider snake chaps in snake infested areas.
Snakes bites can be extremely dangerous and the hazard should not be taken lightly.