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Know the Facts About Zika and Your Staff

Risk Management Insights from VGM Club and VGM Insurance

VGM Club and VGM Insurance are here to help you stick to the facts. There is growing speculation about the Zika Virus, which only continues as famous Olympians back out of the upcoming games. Take this opportunity to be proactive. Remind your maintenance workers to stay vigilant and smart as we focus on safety this month. Read the CDC recommendations below to help mitigate the risk Zika could potentially pose.

According to VGM Insurance’s risk management partner Zywave in Outdoor Workers and Zika Virus: In 2015, for the first time, cases of Zika virus infection emerged in the Americas and the Caribbean. In the past, Zika virus historically had been found in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. The virus, named for its discovery in the Zika Forest in Uganda in 1947, poses an ongoing risk to employers and employees alike.

Workers involved in landscaping, agriculture or any other business that requires long periods of time outside could face an elevated risk of contracting Zika virus. Use these guidelines to educate yourself and your employees about the Zika virus and how to reduce the chances of contracting it.

What Can Employers Do To Protect Employees?

Employers must comply with universal precautions for potential bloodborne pathogen (BBP) exposures, as described in OSHA’s BBP standard (29 CFR 1910.1030), and any applicable requirements in OSHA’s personal protective equipment (PPE) standards (29 CFR 1910 Subpart I), among other OSHA requirements.

The CDC recommends the following employer actions:

  • Inform workers about their risk of exposure to Zika virus through mosquito bites and train them on how to protect themselves. Check the CDC’s Zika website to find Zika-affected areas.
  • 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 from 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 mosquitoes 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.

It is important to take these risks seriously and proactively approach the safety measures mentioned in the article above. For more information about VGM Insurance and how to get in touch with Golf Program Manager Matt Lindgren, click here or contact your VGM Club Rep.

Article by VGM Club

This Risk Insights is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice. Source: OSHA. Design © 2016 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

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