As a supplier to the parks & garden industry over a long period of time, we have often received requests for lower leg snake bite protection. As workplace safety requirements have increased people have become more concerned as to ensuring they have suitable protective apparel.
OHS policies affecting councils, landscape contractors and other businesses require adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for employees. Protection for outdoor workers from snake bites is an issue fast becoming a recognised critical need.
As this requirement for protection from snakes has been increasing for some time, we worked with our suppliers & manufacturers of protective clothing to develop and refine a world leading Snake Safe gaiter.
Venomous snake species are a threat in many parts of the world. Many snakes have the capability to inflict a fatal bite. In Australia the common Eastern Brown Snake is the cause of most instances of snakebite. Some victims of a bite from an Eastern Brown Snake do not even feel the bite.
The result of over 12 months’ investigation, design and testing is SnakeProtex™. This is a pair of gaiters designed to protect the lower leg (knee to ankle). To ensure rigourous testing for the gaiter a professional herpetologist was engaged to carry out the necessary trials. The product proved itself well, leading to our claim that Snakeprotex™ will assist in protecting a person from snakebite if worn correctly. Snakeprotex is supplied with a diagram showing how to simply and correctly wear the gaiters.
Five of the most common venomous Australian snakes were put in the vicinity of SnakeProtex™ and encouraged to bite the fabric which was fitted to a realistically sized dummy leg. The snakes used were: Eastern Brown Snake, Mulga Snake, Tiger Snake, Red-bellied Black Snake, and Southern Death Adder. None of the bites resulted in venom penetration through the garment. To quote from the test report provided by the herpetologist; “In all cases when a snake bit the gaiter on the model leg or bit the gaiter separately, no venom was detected on the inside of the gaiter, even when examined under magnification.”
More recent tests on the newer model used a much more difficult test to pass: a Taipan while being held by a person bit the garment. This is a much tougher test firstly because the Taipan has the longest fangs of any Australian snake. The snake was allowed to remain latched onto the garment for 30 seconds while its venom glands pumped continuously. This prolonged bite is referred to as a ‘chew’. It must be stressed that a bite of this nature is extremely unlikely in a real life attack: most snake bites are simply a short, sharp, open-mouthed ‘tap’. Large amounts of venom were visible on the surface after the bite but again, there was no venom penetration through to the inside of the garment.