Outdoor Safety

Heat Stress

While working in hot environments, heat can put stress on your body’s cooling system. Additional factors such as humidity, air movement, clothing, physical work, loss of fluids and fatigue can lead to heat-related illnesses. Protection and recognizing early signs are important to prevent heat stress.

Tips to protect against heat stress:

  • Stay hydrated, ideally drinking a cup of water every 20 minutes
  • Schedule heavy work for cooler times of the day (e.g. mornings)
  • Wear light coloured and/or lightweight clothing
  • Take breaks in cool areas
  • Reduce the temperature and humidity through air cooling
  • Report concerns to your supervisor
  • Use a buddy system when necessary
  • Train personnel to recognize signs and symptoms of heat stress

Poison Ivy

Poison ivy is a noxious weed that is identifiable by its cluster of three leaves, with the middle leaf having a longer stem. The resin from the plant urushiol, causes a rash or blisters when it comes into contact with skin. Avoid contact with poison ivy by staying on official trails.


There are many different types of wildlife that have been seen on campus such as coyotes, foxes, groundhogs, and geese. Many animals are wary of humans and avoid people whenever possible.

If you encounter wildlife, always remember:

  • Never attempt to tame or pick up wild animals
  • Never feed wild animals – They may respond aggressively or would be more inclined to come back for more food
  • Back away from coyotes while remaining calm, never turn your back and run

Insect Bites and Stings

While in the outdoor environment, insects and other invertebrates may bite or sting people. Some of bite or stings may be venomous, can transmit disease (e.g. West Nile Virus, Lyme disease, etc.) or can elicit an allergic reaction.

Tips to stay safe against insect bites and stings:

  • Use effective insect repellant (see Health Canada recommendations: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/about-pesticides/insect-repellents.html). Follow product instructions and use as directed. Make sure to wash the repellant off skin when protection is no longer needed
  • Minimize the use of scented products that may attract insects to you
  • Wear appropriate protective clothing
  • Be aware of nests and avoid disturbing them
  • Try to avoid peak mosquito biting times (e.g. dawn, dusk and early evening)
  • Wear light coloured, long sleeves shirts and pants, shoes and socks

Be Tick Smart:

  • Wear an effective insect repellent
  • Keep on official trails and stay away from tall plants
  • Check for ticks immediately after spending time outdoors, especially in areas with heavy vegetation

Please report all incidents to your supervisor or Campus Safety. For medical emergencies or to report a dangerous animal (e.g. Coyote) on campus, call Campus Safety at 416-978-2222.