When you get ready to hang up the hard hat for your days off, make sure you don't leave your safety cap behind with it. People everywhere are chomping at the bit to get into the great outdoors and experience the warm summer weather, and it's easy to forget that some summer activities come with health and safety risks.
Some of the most popular outdoor summer activities are:
- Other outdoor sports
Each of these has its own respective hazards, but it would be one dull summer if you just abstained from them altogether. So, here are some quick tips on how to prepare for summer vacation and to ensure a safe, fun and successful outing (find more summer safety tips in Life Hacks: 3 Ways to Boost Summer Safety at Home).
Launching a Boat
If you plan on camping at a lake, make sure to use the designated boat launch area to keep the lakeside area safe, keep you from getting stuck, and to make sure your boat can be handled into the water safely. Working on, or around a boat trailer is extremely dangerous because it is slippery, narrow surface, and often partially submerged in the water, which puts those unloading the boat in a hazardous environment.
The best plan of action to control hazards in this situation is to put on hip waders or shorts and be prepared to get wet. This will ensure that you are not taking risks riding on the tailgate, trailer, or other part of the unit during the launch. Make sure you have a spotter on the pier, as well as a person in the boat with paddles, a safety vest, a rope, and other safety-related items in case something goes wrong.
Being Bear Safe
Bears are animals that use their noses more than their eyes when it comes to finding food, and can smell you cooking chicken or bacon from more than a mile away. To keep these potentially dangerous and wild animals away from your campsite, make sure to put your food and other items like beer and pop cans, and anything sweet smelling into airtight plastic bags and coolers. For extra protection, put these coolers and bags into your vehicle when you're not using them, as well as overnight.
Some campgrounds provide bear-proof containers designed to hold coolers and other items that may attract bears during the night. Identify hazards that affect your campground safety, and try to control them before it's too late. If a bear does wander into your camp, make sure to make yourself look big, shout and stand your ground. It is always good to keep some bear spray on hand, just in case, and throwing rocks and blocks of firewood may help as well.
Reducing the Sting of Bees
Bees are some of nature’s blessings, distributing pollen and helping flowers produce fruit, but they can also be quite dangerous with their powerful sting. Learn to distinguish the difference between bees, wasps, and hornets, and know that they tend to get aggressive when they are subjected to tobacco smoke, loud noises, and any other disturbances near their nest. If you see a nest, stop, take a look around, and choose a path that steers clear of the nest to increase your chances of safe passage.
All Those Lovely Insects
Summer weather is enjoyable, but some places are so overrun with insects like mosquitoes, black flies, sand flies, horse flies, and other irritating bugs that bite, that any time spent outdoors is more punishment than pleasure. To ensure you make the most of your time outside, be ready with some bug spray, a bug net, or other protective screen, so the noisy little pests can buzz all they want without biting you.
Making the Most of Summer – Safely
The common thread behind these tips for avoiding slips, stings, and outright mauling is to be aware of your environment and minimize the risks you take. No matter what you do this summer, make sure to always keep safety in mind because nothing can ruin a vacation quicker than an accident. So have fun, take your time, and be safe. (The risk of dehydration at work and when you're having fun outdoors is high in the summer, learn more in Drink Up: How to Stay Hydrated and Prevent Dehydration.)