Declared an international public health emergency, Zika has the health community in grave concern. The mosquito-borne Zika virus has spread from South and Central America to now North America. Zika leads to babies being born with microephaly and health officials have cautioned women from traveling to known Zika regions. Outdoor workers have been deemed particularly vulnerable to mosquitoes carrying Zika and have been cautioned to take preventive measures.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have both published guidelines to protect construction workers from Zika exposure while on the job. Those recommendations include:
- remove any sources of standing water at a jobsite, as this is where mosquitoes breed
- a routine, weekly cleanup of anything that holds water at your jobsite
- encourage workers to wear long plants, long-sleeved shirts, and socks that minimize exposed skin
- make sure that your employees all wear EPA-registered insect repellent on a daily basis
- spray outdoor areas with insect spray
- and treat clothes with permethrin or by buying pre-treated clothing for your workers
Symptoms of Zika include a fever, rash, joint and muscle pain, conjunctivitis (pink eye) and headaches. There is currently no vaccines for the virus, and those who think they have Zika are recommended to take a blood or urine test.
To learn how to take preventative measures against Zika for you and your employees, click below.