Spring Safety Tips: Allergies, Insects, and Spring Cleaning

Mar 19, 2024, 07:30 AM
Content author:
Hannah Carvalho
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With springtime right around the corner and warmer weather on the horizon, it’s important to stay hydrated and cool as well as vigilant against insect bites and allergies. Use the tips below from the ISRI Safety Team to ensure that when you engage in spring activities, you do so safely or not at all.

General Tips

Before venturing outside in spring, be sure to:

  • Check the temperature and forecast as the weather can change rapidly in the springtime.
  • Dress in appropriate layers for the weather.
  • Apply sunscreen to protect your skin.
  • Watch out for wet floors and slippery conditions from rain, melting snow, or other issues.
  • Check tire pressure on vehicles, the flux in temperature can bring tire pressure down.


Insects can become a problem in the springtime, especially for individuals who are allergic to insect bites. The most common stinging insects are bees, wasps, hornets, yellow-jackets, and fire ants.

Although companies can’t ask their employees about their medical conditions, ISRI recommends informing employees that are working outdoors or in certain environments of the potential for insect stings, and for employees to keep allergy and itch relief medicine on site.

“We recommend something like the Benadryl brand because you could have an employee who is allergic but doesn’t know it,” said Ryan Nolte, ISRI’s director of safety outreach. “If something happens to them Benadryl isn’t a prescription medication for combating an allergic reaction, but it can maintain someone until help arrives.”

Another best practice for individuals who may not want to divulge their medical conditions, like severe allergies, is to put a piece of tape with the information into their hard hats so that if something happens to them their coworkers or employers can easily find the information and get them the help they need.


Of course, insects aren’t the only source of allergies, especially in the springtime. Spring allergens like tree and grass pollens can trigger symptoms like sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, swollen mucus membranes, coughing, and itchy, watery eyes. To combat seasonal allergies, ISRI recommends recyclers keeping stock of non-drowsy over the counter medicines such as Claritin or Allegra brands.

Heat Risk

Though staying hydrated is important all year, it’s even more important to do so as the weather starts to warm up. Drink water and remove outer layers if necessary.

It’s also crucial to be prepared for heat emergencies. Workers need to acclimate to warmer temperatures and it’s a good idea to pay attention to urine color—the darker the urine the more your body needs fluids.

Inclement Weather

Spring is a good time for recyclers to review their action plans, particularly for inclement weather. Lighting storms, tornadoes, and even snow can still crop up in certain parts of the country so it’s important to make sure your action plan reflects those potential hazards.

Inclement weather can also lead to potential road hazards including potholes, or uneven surfaces such as lifted sidewalks, so pay attention to those potential spots, fill in the holes and check for unlevel surfaces.

Spring Cleaning

As the weather starts to warm many communities may engage in spring cleaning days where they bring in materials that have been gathering in their storage such as cardboard, pallets, paper, or even old paint cans. ISRI not only encourages recyclers to engage in similar activities within their companies but those that have the resources can participate in these community events.

“For example, if you take electronics, work with your local community to schedule a day where people can come by and drop off their old TVs, computers, and other electronic devices,” Nolte said. “These are great community events, and they pair well with Earth Day, which this year will be Monday, April 22.”

It’s also a good idea to make sure that your own work site stays clean and clear of any debris or materials that may have blown up against fence lines or gathered during the winter months.

“It’s the neighborly thing to do to get a crew outside and clean up the road leading to your facility and along the fence line,” said Jerry Sjogren, ISRI’s senior director of safety. “I like to see facilities that are wearing reflective vests with the company name on the back so neighbors can see that recyclers are making a concerted effort to efficiently keep the space clean and tidy.”

With springtime right around the corner and warmer weather on the horizon, it’s important to...
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