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outdoor hazards and safety tips

Outdoor Hazards and Safety Tips

All businesses come with inherent risks and liabilities. However, when your place of work is out in the wilderness, those risks and liabilities can become more pressing—and more unpredictable.

There are nearly 300,000 people working in the outdoor recreation industry and millions of participants who seek guided recreation each year. Outdoor recreation is an industry built off of our desire for adventure, and that can come with serious risks.

Today, we’re going to discuss outdoor hazards and safety tips that are designed to protect you, your workers, and your customers. Together, we can minimize risk, reduce liabilities, and keep your community safe.

Outdoor Safety Hazards and Tips

Read on to learn about the risks that come with different outdoor activities and how to prepare for them.

Severe Weather and Heat

Severe weather and dangerously high temperatures are one of the toughest elements outdoor and recreation companies contend with. Unexpected rain and wind can cause secondary conditions like mudslides or fallen trees. High temperatures can lead to heat stroke and cause an average of 702 deaths per year.

Make sure to track the changing forecast and any impending weather warnings and plan accordingly. Encourage clients to do the same and remind them that scheduled activities may get postponed or canceled due to severe weather threats. Make sure all of your employees know the nearest severe weather shelters if needed and how to get there as quickly as possible.


Whether you guide clients through the wild or through a contained wildlife reserve, you still face the hazards posed by wild animals. Wild animals can cause:

  • spread of disease
  • injuries
  • necessary detours

All employees should be familiar with the types of wildlife they may face in your region. They should also be well-trained in dealing with different species. However, it is also important to recognize that not all clients will take guidance and respond appropriately when faced with wildlife.

Depending on the wildlife you encounter, you may want to outfit employees with diversion tools. This includes safe-to-use equipment like bear horns.

Water Hazards

Water-based recreational activities are among the most popular. This can include things like:

  • boating and white-water rafting
  • fishing
  • scuba diving

Some of these activities, like white-water rafting, are extreme sports. Accidents happen quickly, especially when inexperienced clients take to the water. Drowning, hypothermia, and even head injuries are just a few of the water hazards to consider.

To mitigate risk, it’s important to track things like seasonal changes. You should also require clients to wear appropriate safety gear like life jackets and/or helmets. Always require proof of training for activities like scuba diving and extreme white-water rafting.

Air Quality

Pollution-related illness leads to over $150 billion in medical costs per year. Unfortunately, we’re seeing an increase in air quality issues beyond city limits as climate change worsens. If you haven’t already, it’s time to start thinking about air quality issues in relation to your outdoor and recreation business.

We expect to see the most profound impact on west coast businesses, particularly in California, where wildfires are rampant. Even a fire hundreds of miles away can impact the air quality in your region, increasing the possibility of respiratory issues. Smoke inhalation can lead to headaches, dizziness, and other symptoms that make activities like hiking difficult or dangerous.

Air pollution may get worse at certain times of the year. Take this into account when scheduling events and activities. Once again, you may have to postpone or cancel trips for the safety of your employees and clients.

Additional Outdoor Hazards and Safety Tips

The hazards we’ve listed here mark the unpredictability of working outdoors. Even in the best of conditions, you face the risk of general injuries or health events. Let’s take a look at a few additional safety tips that will help you to account for these hazards and mitigate risk.

First Aid

Oftentimes, recreational activities occur far from civilization. That means that you and your employees need the resources to address injuries and health events while waiting for emergency evacuation.

All excursions should be equipped with a first aid kit. This kit should include the basics, like gauze and bandages. It should also include location or industry-specific equipment like snake bite kits or burn care treatment.

You should also make sure all leaders and trainers are first-aid certified. A quick and appropriate emergency reaction can be the difference between life and death.


Your guests and clients need to understand that you can’t account for every hazard. Many of the hazards we mentioned, such as the appearance of dangerous wildlife, can happen at any moment. Every person involved needs to understand the risk they’re taking even with your guidance.

This is where liability waivers come in. Waivers inform your clients of the risks they’re taking by heading out into the natural world. By requiring signatures, clients also accept the liability as their own, which can help protect your business from damaging lawsuits.

Proper Outdoor and Recreation Insurance

Even with waivers, situations can arise in which your business is found liable for an accident, injury, or death. Without proper outdoor and recreation insurance, you have no protection from a successful lawsuit.

The right business insurance won’t just provide financial protection from these kinds of liabilities. A good policy can also keep your business afloat when you have to temporarily shut down to keep hazards at bay.

Protect Your Business with Liability Insurance

Working in the outdoor and recreation industry comes with serious risks. Not only do these risks impact you and your employees, but they also impact your clients. These outdoor hazards and safety tips will empower you and your employees to make safer choices for everyone involved.

Are you ready to take the next step in choosing an insurance partner? XINSURANCE is here to provide customized insurance solutions built for your company’s needs. Request a quote or contact us at 877-585-2853 and