Snakes on sites

After building sites have been vacant over holiday breaks and even 'long weekends' snakes may have found quiet shelter on your sites.  Hot weather also increases the boldness of snakes.

Cool, dark, protected areas such as under sheds, rubble, stored materials, plant and equipment may attract these  creatures.

Prevention

  1. Minimise the food sources for snakes by removing anything that may attract mice or frogs.
  2. Reduce the amount of rubbish and materials where a snake could shelter.
  3. On return to the site after the break ensure everyone is made aware of the increased risk of the presence of snakes.
  4. Wear gloves and boots when moving stored materials and rubbish as they will give a little protection.
  5. An increased awareness and alertness is the best protection, the snake will not be looking for you, so watch for it.

If a snake is seen or reported on site

  1. Note the area of the snake and work in this area stops until the hazard is removed.
  2. DO NOT approach, attack or otherwise provoke the snake as 95% of those bitten have done this. REMEMBER - IF PROVOKED IT WILL STRIKE
  3. For more information, contact:
    • The local council
    • The Zoo - 03 8285 9300
    • Healesville Sanctuary - 03 59572800
    • Simon Watharow - 0418809797

Australian Venom Research Unit First Aid Guidelines

First Aid for snake bite in Australia:
  1. Immediately apply a broad firm bandage around the limb and on the bitten area. It should be as tight as one would bind a sprained ankle. As much of the limb should be bandaged as possible. Bind from below upwards. Crepe bandages are ideal, but any flexible material can be used, eg tear up clothing or old towels into strips. Panty hose is satisfactory.
  2. Keep the limb and the victim as still as possible. Splint the limb.
  3. Bring transport to the victim if possible.
  4. Leave the bandage and splint on until medical care is reached.
Don't cut or excise the bitten area.

Don't apply an arterial tourniquet.

Don't wash the bitten area. The snake involved may be identified by the detection of venom on the skin.

More information

From the University of Sydney:

Authorised by Pat Preston, Manager, CFMEU Environmental & Occupational Health & Safety Unit

Last amended January 2015

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