Tickborne Disease

Control and Prevention

Not all outdoor workers will be exposed to disease-carrying ticks. Ticks are limited to areas that can support their habitat (e.g., woods, long grass, leaf litter, areas where white-tailed deer roam). Before implementing any prevention strategies, become familiar with ticks that may be present in your area and the diseases they may carry. If an outdoor worksite could potentially harbor ticks, follow the recommendations below to help prevent tickborne illness.

General recommendations for employers with outdoor workers
  • Train workers on workplace hazards, including tickborne diseases present in your region. Early recognition of tickborne disease symptoms can help to prevent long-term injury or illness. Make this training available to workers in their preferred language.
  • Supply insect repellent, tweezers, and a basic first aid kit. The earlier a tick is removed from someone it has bitten, the less likely it is that the person will become ill. Keep supplies available for workers to properly remove a tick.

NOTE: Tick bites that occur within the work environment are considered work-related injuries and must be recorded in accordance with OSHA recordkeeping requirements, as applicable.

General recommendations for outdoor workers while working in tick habitats (e.g., wooded, brushy, grassy areas.)
  • Apply insect repellent. Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered repellents with at least 20% DEET.
  • Wear appropriate clothing. Wear long, light colored pants to make it easier to detect ticks on clothing. Tuck pants into socks to prevent ticks from reaching the skin.
  • Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin. These items can also be purchased pre-treated. The treatment generally lasts for 6 weeks or 6 washings.
  • Check yourself, your clothing, and gear/equipment for ticks. Some ticks may spend hours finding a spot to feed on a human body. Immediately checking yourself after spending time in potential tick habitats can help to prevent tick bites before they occur.
  • Learn how to properly remove a tick. Clean the affected area and use tweezers to grasp the tick’s head as close to the skin’s surface as possible. Pull upward slowly and firmly with even pressure. Clean the area again once the tick is removed with rubbing alcohol or with soap and water. Then dispose of the tick by drowning it in alcohol, wrapping it with tape, placing it in a sealed container, or flushing it down the toilet. The CDC also has detailed instructions available for properly removing a tick.
  • Learn about the tickborne diseases in your area and the symptoms of the most common tickborne diseases. Participate in training provided by your employer. Contact your healthcare provider if you develop symptoms of a tickborne disease after spending time in tick habitat.