Bears

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					Not all workers have faced dangers of the four-legged variety, but those who work in the great outdoors should know the risks of encountering wildlife. When workers' activities take place where bears may be encountered, employers are required to protect the workers' safety by including bear awareness in their existing health and safety program. The bear awareness element of a health and safety program should include information, written work procedures, and education and training. Seeing a wild bear is an exciting and memorable experience. Learning the appropriate Bear Safety Techniques will minimize the possibility of an encounter. You are responsible for your safety and the safety of the bears. Please help keep our black bears wild by not approaching or feeding them. *Before Workers Head out into the wild they should have INFORMATION ABOUT BEAR AVOIDANCE 1. A company general written discussion re; feeding habits (slopes and hillsides, creeks and streams, open areas, covered areas, etc.) 2. Bear Avoidance Noise and noise making devices. Stress the importance of making noise while traveling and working in bear country. 3. Garbage in work areas • include discussion of food storage at or near work areas. • include discussion regarding no food stored in sleeping tents. 4. Bear senses - a discussion about the acute sense of smell and hearing of bears. 5. Wind direction - a discussion about the need to stay downwind of bears whenever possible. ENCOUNTERS WITH BEARS (SIGHTINGS, ETC., BUT NOT INCLUDING ATTACKS) 1. The importance of having an escape mechanism thought out prior to entering and working in bear country. All bear encounters do not result in attacks. 2. Trees • the pros and cons of climbing trees (depends on bear type) • good climbing trees, poor climbing trees • climbing techniques, etc.

Bears in your Workspace

Predatory 1. What are the traits bears will exhibit if a predatory attack is eminent? 2. What can be done to minimize the continuance of this type of attack? 3. Guidelines re; how to fight or fend off the bear. Provoked (resulting from people stressing the bear) • sudden or surprise encounters • female bear defending her cubs • any bear defending a food source Guidelines re; how to "play dead". ( a last resort to safety) Bear Safety Techniques Number One Please Don't Feed Bears Bears should never obtain human food, pet/livestock feeds, or garbage. Bears that receive these "food rewards" may become aggressive towards humans or cause property damage. Wild bears rely on natural foods such as berries and fish. Fed bears will abandon vital food sources for human foods and garbage! Wild bears quickly become conditioned to handouts and will teach their cubs to do the same. Just like working alone rules Let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return. Carry bear pepper spray. Read all signs at the trailhead. Work in a group. Make your presence known (call out). Work during daylight hours & stay on the trail. Watch for bear signs: scat, claw marks, diggings, logs or stumps torn apart, etc. Reduce Your Risk • Make noise – let the bears know you are out there. Talk loudly, blow a whistle, pound on a boxcar, make other noise. This should be done especially near streams or moving water, dense vegetation or other conditions which might mask the sound of your approach, on windy days [be aware when you are walking into the wind that bears will not smell you coming] and in situations of low visibility as in at night. • Keep food smells away – keep candy, gum or other food items out of your pocket, bears can smell this. Never feed bears from the train. Animals, like humans, are creatures of habit. They will quickly come to associate humans with food if we throw them chicken wings as we go by on the tracks. Don’t discard food scraps. • Stay alert – Watch for bears in the area and their signs – tracks, droppings, diggings, torn up logs and turned over rocks. • Stay away from dead animals you find along the right-of-way. Be aware of food sources such as spilled grain. Report animal carcasses and large piles of grain for removal from Right Of Way.

If a bear tries to approach you, here is how you should react: • Stop. Face the bear. Do not run. If you are with others, stay together and act as a group. Make sure that the bear has a clear escape route, then yell and wave your arms to make yourself look bigger. Use a whistle if you have one. The idea is to be aggressive and to persuade the bear to leave. • If these attempts fail to frighten the bear away, slowly back away watching the bear and giving it a wide berth. • Climbing a tree to get away from a bear may offer you little advantage as black bears are excellent tree climbers. We have yet to witness one climbing a ladder. Many cars have a ladder which could be handy if needed. • A bear may stand upright to get a better view, make huffing or “popping” sounds, swat or beat the ground with its forepaws or even bluff charge. These are a bear’s way of telling you that you are too close. Back off and give the bear more space. Predatory black bears may not make huffing or “popping” sounds, swat or beat the ground with their forepaws or perform bluff charges. Instead, they may press closer and closer to their intended prey assessing whether it is safe to attack. This behaviour is a serious indication of aggressive intent. Here is what to do if you find yourself in one of these situations: • Slowly back away, watching the bear. • If the bear tries to approach you, stop. Be aggressive, yell, throw rocks or sticks, get up a ladder on your train. NEVER TURN AND RUN. • If the bear continues to approach you, resume backing away slowly while continuing to be aggressive towards the bear. Don’t make eye contact with a Bear. It might be taken as a challenge. • If a BLACK bear makes contact with you, DO NOT PLAY DEAD. Fighting back is the best chance of persuading a black bear to stop its attack. Use a large stick, a rock or anything else that you have on hand to hurt the bear. Direct your blows at the bear’s snout. It is the most sensitive part of the bear.

Our goal is to keep bears out of our work site while protecting there environment, thereby preventing conflicts between people and bears.
Past efforts at "bear management" have missed the point. Bears come into our neighbourhoods because they are searching for the foods that their noses tell them are there. Bears don't seek to confront people, but they persistently seek out the food which is readily available in our communities: a bear's nose is accurate and has pretty good range. We attract bears with smells of household garbage. Bears take advantage of whatever food is available in their home range. They are attracted by sights, sounds, memories, and particularly smells. Bears can smell garbage from a mile away and if they are rewarded with an easy meal they learn very quickly to repeat behaviours. Once a bear learns to forage near people, it is usually too late to discourage the bear. So keep all food properly locked up and use the designated disposal areas properly. Always pack out all garbage from the worksite.

Bottom line: Because if you don’t that is how a fed bear becomes a dead bear. Bears at A Glance Bears can be found across most of North America, whereas grizzly/brown bears are found only in all northwestern states and in all western Canada. Black bears that reside in the Southwest primarily live in the pine forests and chaparral(brush) zones, and occasionally wander into lower elevations. Colors: Black, brown, blond or cinnamon. Size: Adults measure about 3 feet at shoulders and 5 to 6 feet when standing upright. Weight: Adults weigh 125 to 800 pounds Males are generally larger than females. Lifespan: Approximately 20 years for wild bears. Eyesight: Similar to humans. Sense of Smell: Excellent, can span miles. Attributes: Very agile, climb trees well, good swimmers, and can run as fast as 35 mph. Healthy wild black bears rely on berries, insects, vegetation, fish and carrion to survive. They generally mate during May and early June. They hibernate primarily due to lack of food, usually between November and April, though this varies. Healthy mothers produce 1 to 2 cubs every 2-3 years. Do not work alone outdoors when the bear hazard is judged to be significant. • ALL members of the work group have a responsibility to watch for bears. • Appoint a Bear Monitor when the bear hazard is judged to be significant. When personnel are working at an outdoor location under a significant bear threat, there will be at least one person per group who is designated the “Bear Monitor”. This person is responsible for ensuring that the group will not be subjected to a surprise encounter with or attacks from a bear. training for the watchperson - bear signs - bear recognition (types of bear) - use of control mechanisms (guns, mace, etc.) - communication with crew and supervisor - mancheck on the watchperson - proper use of evacuation/mustering procedures Rotate Bear Monitor duties Because it is difficult for one person to maintain vigilance for long periods of time, the bear monitoring duties will be rotated among firearms-authorized group members on a predetermined basis (one to two hour periods per person). At any given time, everyone should always know who the Bear Monitor is, if the bear hazard has been judged to be significant. Approach work areas with caution When a group is working indoors in a remote area, scanning the area when one first approaches it, and before one leaves any building, instrument shelter or vehicle (even briefly) is normally considered adequate. Report all bear sightings to the Bear Monitor All bear sightings by any outdoor workers will be immediately reported to the Bear Monitor, who will then go on heightened alert, inform all site workers as well as anyone else in the immediate area. At that point, the bear sighting protocol described in the following paragraphs is to be applied. If

workers are indoors when a bear is determined to be in the area (by observation or report from others), the work leader is to be immediately informed. Following a sighting, all site workers and anyone else in the area are to be immediately informed. Supervisors must also ensure that workers understand and follow safe work procedures for bear avoidance and encounters. Remember the following safe work practices when conducting field activities where there is the potential for bear encounters: What am I looking for: Tree Markings Both black and grizzly bears make tree markings. These are usually found along well-established travelled bear trails. The animal bites, claws, and rubs against the marker tree producing bear markings. This activity results in obvious sap wounds to the tree, and the shredded bark and running sap call attention to the location. Digging The practice of digging for small mammals, roots, and tubers is primarily the activity of the grizzly bear. Black bears may break up rotten logs and stumps seeking insects and grubs, but seldom actually dig holes to forage for food. Scat Bear droppings are usually found along their travel corridors, feeding areas, and bedding sites. The following guidelines are suggested by some bear biologists as a means to assess whether the scat is from a black or grizzly bear: droppings in excess of 2.5 inches in diameter or 2.5 quarts of volume are from a grizzly. Scat of lesser size is usually from a black bear. Bear scat produced when they are feeding on meat is usually black and tar-like, with a strong smell, and may contain hair and small bones. When feeding on vegetation, the scat is more like that of a horse, with much fiber or berry seed content, and the odor is less. Carcasses Evidence of mammals killed by bears is most often encountered in the spring and fall. It is during these seasons that bears will encounter animals that have been weakened by the winter survival (or winterkill) or mating, and newly born young.

Bear Repellent Aerosols Rules and Written Company Policies Should be in place;
• which workers are issued bear repellent aerosols • training in the safe use of bear repellent aerosols - carry/wear it "ready to use" • training in the proper storage and transport of bear repellent aerosols • control of the product • follow-up investigation whenever bear repellent aerosols is used • return of unused full canisters to the employer • the disposal of used or partially used canisters

Bear Spray (just like PPE is the last Page in Worker Safety it plays an important part in reducing attacks during human encounters with bears). It is an effective deterrent of North American bears, but it can be adversely affected by wind, rain, temperature, and even how close the bear is when it charges. Bear Pepper Spray is not a substitution for following appropriate safety techniques.  Bear pepper spray is not the same as personal defense spray, it must be E.P.A. registered.  Bear pepper spray must contain 1.3%-2% capsaicin and related capsaicinoids.  Suggested spray distance is at least 25 feet in a cloud pattern lasting 6 seconds or more. Although both types of sprays are made from oleoresin capsicum, it is the capsaicin and related capsaicinoids that are the active ingredients in bear spray. Therefore, if you see claims on a large can that state 10%, 20%, or 30% oleoresin capsicum, it is pepper spray (personal defense spray), not bear spray. Also, bear spray labels will clearly refer to bears, and state it is a bear deterrent, bear repellent, or for stopping charging or attacking bears. The variance in potency within this range is negligible, and all will affect the eyes, nose, throat and lungs of a bear. The minimum size can the EPA will register currently is 7.9 ounces, or 225 grams. Their suggested minimum spray distance they recommended was 25 feet. (Over 90% of those surveyed would have liked to have the effective spray distance to be further away, but 25 feet was the minimum they considered to be acceptable.) This is for situations in which a bear is charging from a distance. You want the spray to create as wide a barrier between you and the bear as possible so it has the maximum amount of time to affect the bear’s eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. Their suggested minimum spray duration they recommended was 6 seconds. (Again, they would have preferred more time, but this was the minimum they considered to be acceptable. Their reasons for this recommendation was to ensure sufficient protection in a variety of bear charge/attack situations such as:       More than one bear charging or attacking from different directions (mother with large cubs, mating pairs, siblings traveling together); Repeated charges or attacks (some bears will charge toward you, retreat, and charge again; others may circle around you and then charge); Defending yourself from a bear that turns on you after you have sprayed it to stop it from attacking someone else in your party; Exceptionally aggressive bears (a mother with cubs or a bear protecting a fresh kill); Weather conditions that may affect the spray (wind, rain, cold); Erratic spraying (fear factor causing some spray to be wasted because it is sprayed to soon, sprayed longer than necessary, or sprayed above the bear);

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Reserve spray for the hike out after a charge or attack.

Bear spray is a good last line of defense, but it is not a substitute for vigilance and following appropriate bear avoidance safety techniques. Never intentionally approach a bear because you think you will be safe because you’re carrying bear spray. Never approach and spray a passive bear to try to get it to leave the area. Bear spray is only meant to be used on charging or attacking bears. If a bear charges you from a distance, spray a 1-2 second burst in the direction of the bear, pointing the canister slightly downwards and spraying with a slight side-to-side motion. This distributes an expanding cloud of spray that the bear must pass through before it gets close to you. Spray additional bursts if the bear continues toward you. If you have a sudden close encounter with a bear, spray at the front of the bear (because of the expanding cloud, you don’t have to take the time to try to aim carefully at the face or the eyes). Continue spraying until the bear either breaks off its charge or is going to make contact. If it is a grizzly bear and it’s going to make contact, drop to the ground and play dead and give the spray time to take effect. If it is a black bear, prepare to fight aggressively with any available weapons (fists, sticks, rocks, etc.) until the spray has time to take effect. Bear spray has been shown to reduce the length and severity of mauling. Remember  Minimum spray distance of 25 feet;  Minimum spray duration of 6 seconds;  Minimum net content of 7.9 ounces or 225 grams  Bear spray should be carried in a quickly accessible location such as a hip or chest holster. If faced with a charging bear, you don't have time to start digging in your pack! In your tent, keep the spray readily available next to your flashlight.

Prohibitions (Don’ts)
When encountering bears, remember these don’ts: • Do not run as you cannot out run a bear. • Do not throw objects at the bear unless an attack is imminent as this may be viewed as a sign of aggression. • Do not turn your back to the approaching bear; always face the animal. This way you will be able to see and anticipate their actions. • Do not make eye contact with the approaching bear. This may be viewed as aggression and you do not want to appear threatening or provoke an attack. • Do not ever approach bear cubs. The mother will be close by and this will be perceived as a threat. • Do not attempt to climb trees unless the following conditions are available: − The approaching bear is an adult grizzly. Black bears of all ages are exceptional tree climbers, as are juvenile grizzlies. − The tree is large enough to support your weight and will withstand aggressive pushing by a grizzly bear. − The tree is tall enough to allow you to climb at least 4 metres (16.5 feet) from the ground. Large grizzly bears can reach and jump to lesser heights.

− You have over 100 metres of distance between the bear and yourself and the climbing tree is immediately available. This is necessary because a grizzly can cover this 100 metre distance in just over 6.5 seconds.

Remember your Company Bear K.R.A.A.P. Knowledge, Risk Assessment, Attitude & Practices


				
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