Incident Prevention Magazine

Dean Newkirk, CUSP

Addressing Allergic Reactions on the Job

Power-line workers carry out their assignments in all types of outdoor environments and thus are susceptible to all of Mother Nature’s elements, good and bad.

When humans expose themselves to those elements, some might experience allergic reactions, a safety-related topic that is rarely top of mind until a worker in the field is experiencing such a reaction. If you know you are allergic to something you may come in contact with while working, it’s critical that you make your colleagues aware of it and, more importantly, that they know how to respond.

A Personal Tale
There are personal as well as practical reasons why I’m writing this month’s Tailgate Topic. I’ve worked on and around line crews for many years, and I love the outdoors. As a young man about 40 years ago, I was stung by a wasp and had what I considered a minor reaction – my arm swelled up like Popeye’s. I didn’t think much of the situation back then, although I now recognize that I was allergic to the sting even all those years ago. At the time, I didn’t follow up with a medical professional to see exactly how allergic I was or what could happen if I got stung again in the future.

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