Protecting Workers from Zika

What to know

Employers should take steps to protect workers and workers should protect themselves from diseases spread by mosquitoes, including Zika virus disease (Zika).

Construction worker looking at the worksite.

Which workers may be at risk?

Workers at risk for Zika include:

  • Outdoor and other workers exposed to mosquitoes;
  • Workers traveling to areas with Zika virus, including cruise line workers; and
  • Laboratory, healthcare, and other workers exposed to blood, other body fluids, or cultures of infected individuals.

Employer recommendations

Take steps to control mosquitoes and protect workers from mosquito bites.

  • Decrease standing water at worksites.
    • Remove, turn over, cover, or store equipment.
    • Remove debris from ditches.
    • Fill in areas that collect standing water.
    • Remove tires, buckets, bottles, and barrels that collect water.
    • Place drain holes in containers that collect water and cannot be discarded.
  • Ensure that doors and windows have screens and are kept closed when possible.
  • Provide training about:
    • The risk of mosquito bites and how to prevent them;
    • Symptoms of mosquito-borne diseases; and
    • The safe use of insect repellents.
  • Provide workers with, and encourage them to wear, clothing that covers their hands, arms, legs, and other exposed skin. Consider providing hats with mosquito netting to protect the face and neck.
  • Provide permethrin to apply to clothing and gear or permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
  • Provide training to healthcare workers on standard precautions, including the use of personal protective equipment.

Worker recommendations

Take steps to reduce the risk of Zika:

  • Find the right insect repellent for you by using EPA's search tool. If also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second. Always follow label precautions when using insect repellent.
  • Apply permethrin to clothing and gear.
  • Wear clothing that covers your hands, arms, legs, and other exposed skin. Wear hats with mosquito netting to protect your face and neck.
  • Remove items that collect water (for example, tires, buckets, barrels) to reduce places where mosquitoes lay eggs.
  • Healthcare and laboratory workers should follow standard precautions for all patient care.


OSHA/NIOSH Interim Guidance for Protecting Workers from Occupational Exposure to Zika Virus: Provides employers and workers with information about preventing workplace exposure.

OSHA QuickCard: Zika Virus Protection for Outdoor Workers: Information for outdoor workers and employers in card format. Español

NIOSH Poster for Cruise Line Employees: Prevent Mosquito Bites: Poster for cruise line workers.