Is Your Employer Providing Adequate Protection from the Zika Virus?

Florida is called the Sunshine State for a reason. The fact is, many workers spend the majority of their time during the day outdoors. Regardless of if you work in the agriculture industry, construction industry, or drive a delivery truck, if you spend any time outside while on the clock, it is required that your employer provides you with the proper safety equipment and gear to protect you from any type of outdoor threat.

While Floridians are not strangers to the risks related to mosquito-borne diseases, the Zika virus is still a relatively new and particularly dangerous threat present.

Zika Virus and workers compUnderstanding the Zika Virus

According to WHO (World Health Organization), the Zika virus is a type of mosquito-borne virus that is mainly transmitted through a mosquito bite; however, it may also be spread through sexual intercourse. The WHO has reported that Zika may even be transmissible through a blood transfusion and other means, as well. While most Americans just started hearing about Zika virus in 2016, the disease has been active since 1947.

Anyone who contracts the virus will typically only experience extremely mild symptoms, such as a headache, high fever, rash and joint pain and the symptoms typically only last for a few days.

However, there is quite a bit of research that has shown a correlation between the Zika infection and neurological complications for unborn babies.

Tips from OSHA for Safeguarding Against Zika

With the Zika threat getting higher, OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has issued a number of new recommendations for employers who have workers who must be outdoors.

These new regulations encourage employers to:

  • Educate their employees about the risk of Zika exposure
  • Train the workers on how to protect themselves from Zika
  • Provide protective clothing, such as hats and mosquito netting, long sleeves and long pants
  • Remove any standing water that has accumulated in barrels, tires, buckets, bottles and cans

Employers should also consider reassigning any pregnant workers or workers that may become pregnant to a position that reduces their potential for being exposed to Zika. Also, employers may need to consider reassigning males who have a wife or partner who is pregnant or may get pregnant.

Also Read: Workers’ Compensation in Florida : What it is and How It Works

Protecting Yourself from Zika in Florida

If you work outside in Florida, you need to take steps to protect yourself. There are specially approved mosquito repellents that can be used to help with this. If you do suffer from a mosquito bite while on the job that leads to you contracting the Zika virus, then you may be entitled to monetary damages and compensation. The best way to know for sure is to speak with an expert workers compensation attorney in Jacksonville, Florida.

To learn more about filing a worker’s compensation claim, contact Jacksonville Personal Injury Lawyer Hardesty, Tyde, Green & Ashton today.

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