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California workplace illness: Outdoor workers and the Zika virus

A lot of information is going around about the Zika virus. The rate at which it is spreading is constantly being relayed on the news, causing quite a bit of alarm. For those who work outdoors, whether in California or elsewhere, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued a warning about how to protect employees from this potential workplace illness.

It is believed that those who work outdoors are at risk of being exposed to Zika. Employers have been asked to inform employees of this risk and to take proper precautions. Such precautions include:

  • Wearing long-sleeve shirts
  • Wearing pants
  • Using an appropriate repellent
  • Remove standing water

Symptoms of a Zika infection may seem relatively minor and include fever, rash, conjunctivitis, headache and muscle and/or joint pain. These symptoms, of course, can be confused with other illnesses, so some individuals with the virus may not seek immediate medical attention. For some people, the reaction may be more severe, requiring hospitalization. Those who are pregnant or couples who are trying to get pregnant are at particular risk, as the virus can cause serious problems for unborn children -- including disability or even loss of life.

When an employee is exposed to an illness while on the job -- such as Zika or anything else that can affect one's overall health and ability to perform the functions of his or her job -- he or she may be able to utilize workers' compensation benefits to help cover any time away from work and any medical bills. Disability -- if applicable -- can also be covered. A workplace illness is no small thing. With help, those in California who have suffered from such illnesses may seek full and fair compensation for any resulting losses.

Source: osha.gov, "OSHA Quick Card: Zika Virus Protection for Outdoor Workers", Accessed on Aug. 17, 2016

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