Posted by Melissa Hall in #YHSafetyTips, Aug 22, 2018
Protection Against Mosquitos and Other Flying Insects
August brings hot summer days & nights, bonfires, and cookouts, but also brings unwanted guests in the form of mosquitos, bees, wasps, and other flying insects. These pests are not only unwelcome summer guests during our leisure time, they may also pose safety hazards at the workplace.
Mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile Virus, Zika and Malaria kill more people than any other illness. West Nile Virus is a potentially serious illness transmitted to humans by mosquitos and is also known to infect birds and other animals. West Nile Virus typically appears in the summer and continues through the fall months. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention notes that nearly 650 to 1400 cases of West Nile Virus are reported each year.
According to the CDC, those suffering with West Nile Virus show no symptoms in four out of five cases. The other 20% exhibit mild flu-like symptoms including:
Occupations with the Greatest Risk of West Nile Virus
Workers that spend the majority of their time working outdoors are at the greatest risk, especially those workers in warmer climates. Occupations at risk include farm workers, loggers, landscapers, construction workers, and pavers.
Employers can help protect workers from the possibility of West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses by taking steps to reduce or eliminate the mosquito populations at their office or campus.
Mosquito Prevention Protocol:
Bees, Wasps, and Other Flying Insects
Outdoor workers may also be affected by bees, wasps and other flying insects. While most stings from these flying insects are mild injuries, there is a chance that a sting could cause a severe reaction and require immediate medical attention.
Employers should walk the perimeter of their building or campus to look for nests or hives, paying close attention to areas where insects are likely to nest including: hollow trees, walls or attics; tree branches or building overhangs; rubber tires, crates, or abandoned vehicles; under piles of logs or rocks; or inside holes in the ground. If a nest or hive is found, contact a pest control professional to ensure the nest is properly removed.
Ways to Protect Employees from Flying Insects
What to do if an Employee Is Stung on the Job
In the event that an employee is stung while on the clock, the employer should take the following precautions:
How to Handle an Allergic Reaction
Symptoms of an allergic reaction include coughing, trouble breathing, chest pain, sweating, confusion, nausea and hives. If you observe these symptoms, immediately call 9-1-1. If the employee has a known allergy, treat the employee with their EpiPen.
By properly maintaining a company’s campus and building throughout the year, employers can help reduce the insect population and protect workers from unwanted guests during the warm summer months.
If you haven't read last week's post on Workplace Safety, read it here.