All corporate companies are responsible for the health and safety of their employees whilst on-site. For sites situated in areas where staff are exposed to snake encounters, it is imperative that staff are given correct training in snake awareness, and what to do in the case of snake encounters on-site. For remote sites, having a few trained snake handlers on each shift can be an invaluable asset.
Southern Africa has 176 different types of snakes, and although a large percentage of them are considered harmless or mildly venomous, we have 20 species which are considered potentially deadly. Snakebite in Southern Africa can be extremely expensive to treat, with bills running from tens to hundreds of thousands of Rands.
As per section 8 of the Occupational Health and Safety act, employers must ensure a safe working environment for their staff, eliminating hazards where possible. Obviously snakes on-site can prove an extreme hazard, one which can largely be mitigated with training of the staff. The presence of snakes in the workplace is problematic and the risk of serious snakebite high. All snakes found in the workplace, irrespective of whether such a snake is deemed dangerous or not, must be removed safely and relocated elsewhere.
Snake handling courses teach delegates the safest protocols for safe snake removal using the correct snake handling equipment (snake tongs, hooks, buckets and tubes) and techniques. At no stage should delegates be making physical contact with the snakes, as this is unnecessary and goes against the health and safety regulations of most corporate sites.
Snake removals should only be undertaken by certified snake catchers that are equipped with the correct training, permits and snake handling equipment.
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