For employee health professionals who have outdoor workers at their facilities, the following are the basic measures recommended by OSHA and NIOSH:1

  • Inform workers about their risks of exposure to Zika virus through mosquito bites and train them how to protect themselves.
  • Provide insect repellents and encourage their use according to the guidance below.
  • Provide workers with, and encourage them to wear, clothing that covers their hands, arms, legs, and other exposed skin. Consider providing workers with hats with mosquito netting to protect the face and neck.
  • In warm weather, encourage workers to wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. This type of clothing protects workers against the sun’s harmful rays and provides a barrier to mosquitoes. Always provide workers with adequate water, rest, and shade, and monitor workers for signs and symptoms of heat illness.
  • Get rid of sources of standing water (e.g., tires, buckets, cans, bottles, barrels) whenever possible to reduce or eliminate mosquito breeding areas. Train workers about the importance of eliminating areas where mosquitos can breed at the worksite.
  • If requested by a worker, consider reassigning anyone who indicates she is or may become pregnant, or who is male and has a sexual partner who is or may become pregnant, to indoor tasks to reduce their risk of mosquito bites.

REFERENCE

  1. OSHA, NIOSH. Fact Sheet: Interim Guidance for Protecting Workers from Occupational Exposure to Zika Virus. April 2016: http://1.usa.gov/1TvbTJu.