A bucket of water, a birdbath, puddles, clogged gutters, old tires. These are just a few examples of mosquito breeding grounds. Do these water sources exist at your worksite? If so, your employees are at greater risk not only for mosquito bites, but also for the serious diseases these parasites can transmit, such as West Nile Virus.
Work with your employees on taking steps to help minimize the risk of mosquito bites and mosquito-borne illnesses.
What your employees need to know about working near mosquitoes
Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk. Working inside during these times and performing outdoor work when the insects are most active is one potential solution.
When working outside, wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks help protect the body from potential bites.
Using a repellant also helps. Follow the label instructions. Your employees can also treat their clothing with permethrin in accordance with the label instructions, or wear pre-treated clothing. (Do not apply permethrin to the skin).
What your employees need to do to help reduce the presence of mosquitoes
Train your employees on how to inspect the workplace for mosquito breeding grounds and how to eliminate those breeding grounds. Remember, if it holds standing water, mosquitoes can breed in it:
- Identify and fix leaking hoses, buckets, or anything else that holds water.
- Clear clogged rain gutters.
- Turn over, cover, or remove equipment that can accumulate water.
- Drill holes into outdoor containers and plant saucers, stopping them from accumulating water.
- Keep fountains, pools, and ponds properly treated and circulating.
- Plant mosquito repelling flowers and herbs.
- At your discretion, install mosquito traps or use foggers.
- Add mosquito fish to permanent water sources.
What to cover at your safety meeting about mosquitoes
Have a conversation with your employees about the actions you want them to take:
- Let them know where you keep the insect repellant.
- Take time during the meeting to walk the grounds. Together with your employees, identify areas of standing water (i.e. puddles, birdbaths, plant saucers, buckets).
- Discuss challenges in eradicating different breeding grounds.
- Discuss challenges to wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, especially in hot weather.
- Seek employees’ input on the tools they need to help you keep your land mosquito-free.
- If you plan to use mosquito traps or foggers, train your employees on how these work. Remember to follow all label instructions.
Your employees are out in the field every day and are a valuable resource when it comes to reducing or eliminating the presence of mosquitoes at your workplace. Have them include the necessary safety steps and the elimination of breeding grounds into their regular outdoor workday activities.
You can contact your local mosquito and vector control district for more information on mosquito bite prevention.