Rodents, Snakes, and Insects in Work Zones

In many working environments avoiding rodents, snakes, and insects may be impossible. It is important to take proper precautions when there is potential for an exposure to rodents, snakes, and insects in work zones. Below you will find tips provided by OSHA that will help you stay safe when the potential for exposure to rodents, snakes or insects exists.

Insects, Spiders and Ticks

  • To protect yourself from biting and stinging insects, wear long pants, socks, and long-sleeved shirts.
  • Use insect repellents that contain DEET or Picaridin.
  • Treat bites and stings with over-the-counter products that relieve pain and prevent infection.

Rodents and Wild or Stray Animals

  • Dead and live animals can spread diseases such as Rat Bite Fever and Rabies.
  • Avoid contact with wild or stray animals.
  • Avoid contact with rats or rat-contaminated buildings. If you can’t avoid contact, wear protective gloves and wash your hands regularly.


  • Watch where you place your hands and feet when removing debris. If possible, don’t place your fingers under debris you are moving. Wear heavy gloves.
  • If you see a snake, step back and allow it to proceed.
  • Wear boots at least 10 inches high.
  • Watch for snakes sunning on fallen trees, limbs or other debris.
  • A snake’s striking distance is about 1/2 the total length of the snake.
  • If bitten, note the color and shape of the snake’s head to help with treatment.

Use caution in work environments that may expose you to rodents, snakes, or insects. Always remember to wear the proper personal protective equipment required for the task you are assigned. Get proper medical treatment if you are bitten by any animal, or are exposed to animal waste.

Disclaimer: The information and suggestions contained in these safety talks are believed to be reliable. However, the authors of the topics and the owners of this web site accept no legal responsibility for the correctness, sufficiency, or completeness of such information or suggestions contained within these topics. These guidelines do not supercede local, state, or federal regulations and must not be construed as a substitute for, or legal interpretation of, any OSHA regulations.