Zika virus and outdoor workers

Quick Card provides tips for protecting employees from the mosquito borne disease

Posted July 14, 2016

OSHA published a Quick Card on protecting outdoor workers from the Zika virus. The reference provides employers and workers with instructions on helping to prevent the disease.

OSHA recommends employers:

  • Train workers on how to protect themselves and the importance of eliminating areas where mosquitoes breed at worksites.
  • Provide workers with insect repellents and protective clothing and encourage their use.

Furthermore, the Quick Card outlines several steps workers can take to lower their risk of Zika which include:

  • Use insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, or another EPA-registered active ingredient on skin that is not covered by clothing. Always follow label precautions.
  • Choose a repellent that provides protection for the amount of time that you will be outdoors.
  • Wear clothing that covers all of your skin, including socks that cover the ankles and lower legs and hats with mosquito netting to protect the face and neck.
  • Get rid of sources of standing water (e.g., tires, buckets, cans, bottles, barrels) whenever possible to reduce or eliminate mosquito breeding areas.
  • Seek medical attention promptly if symptoms develop such as fever, rash, joint pain, pink or red eyes, muscle pain, or headache. Discuss with a healthcare provider any possible exposure to mosquitoes or infections spread by mosquitoes.

OSHA and NIOSH recommend that workers talk to their supervisor(s) about any outdoor work or travel assignments to Zika-affected areas if the worker is or may become pregnant, or, for males, if the worker’s partner is or may become pregnant.


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