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Summer Safety Tips

City Risk LogoLoss Prevention

Risk Management, Portland, OR


Summer is the time of year we begin spending more time outside. It’s also the time of year many City employees are doing more work outdoors. There are numerous safety hazards associated with performing job tasks outside including:

  • sun exposure
  • heat-related illnesses
  • stinging or biting insects and animals
  • fireworks safety

Sun Exposure

Overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage the skin. Besides the immediate effect of sunburn, over time excess UV radiation may cause skin cancer, eye damage, and other health concerns. For more information on sunburn, visit the following:

National Safety Council Sun and Heat Exposure Safety Facts and Tips sheet

American Cancer Society Be Safe in the Sun Facts

Heat-Related Illnesses

Heat-related illness can affect anyone not used to hot weather, especially when combined with high humidity. Heat-related illnesses include heatstroke, heat exhaustion, heat stress, heat cramps, and heat rash. Heatstroke is the most serious and life-threatening heat-related illness, with symptoms that include:

  • the body feels extremely hot to the touch
  • altered mental state
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • unconsciousness

If you suspect someone has heatstroke, immediately call 911. For additional information on heat-related illness, visit the following:

National Safety Council Surviving the Hot Weather Safety Facts and Tips sheet

 Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Occupational Heat Exposure Facts

Insect or Animal Bites

Stinging or biting insects and animals can be dangerous to outdoor workers. The health effects of stinging or biting insects or animals range from mild discomfort to a lethal reaction. Workers could be allergic to an insect’s venom and may require medical attention. For additional information on insect stings and bites, refer to the following:

National Safety Council 5-Minute Safety Talk, Biting and Stinging Insects: Don’t Let ‘em Bug You

Animal bites are investigated by Multnomah County. If an animal bite occurs:

  • seek appropriate medical treatment
  • report the bite to your supervisor
  • report the animal bite to Multnomah County at 503-988-7387

Fireworks Safety

The Portland summer brings sunshine, picnics, barbecues, parades, and firework displays. Summer also brings an increase in injuries related to grills, bonfires, and fireworks. Portland Fire & Rescue reports that during the 2013 Fireworks Season (June 23 – July 6) there were 35 fireworks-caused fires in the City.

The National Safety Council advises that the best way to stay safe and enjoy fireworks is to attend a public display. However, if you decide to use legal fireworks, Portland Fire & Rescue recommends the following:

  • Only set off fireworks outdoors
  • The area should be clear and away from homes, dry leaves, grass, or other flammable materials
  • Do not allow young children to play with fireworks; adult supervision should be provided for older children using fireworks
  • Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks; soak them in water prior to disposal
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies and for pouring on fireworks that fail to ignite or explode.
  • Be sure other people and pets are out of range before lighting fireworks
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place
  • Ashes and burned materials should be placed in a metal can with a lid and stored away from combustibles or buildings

For additional information on firework safety, please see the Portland Fire & Rescue website: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/fire/52947