The world’s deadliest animal is not one that inspires phobias or fears. It’s not a shark, a crocodile, a snake or a spider. It is in fact a mosquito. And as Bill Gates pointed out no other species (including humans) is responsible for the loss of as many humans lives each year as mosquitoes.
According to the World Health Organisation vector-borne diseases (those passed by mosquitos being the most common) account for more than 17% of all infectious diseases, causing more than 1 million deaths annually. And now with Zika dominating the headlines, and experts predicting it’s imminent spread, mosquitos are a threat that cannot be ignored.
For mining and other companies operating in regions of high risk, vector-borne disease is a very real threat to employee health. Malaria alone kills more than 600,000 people every year, with another 200 million cases incapacitating people for days or weeks. This has a significant impact on productivity and can amount to billions of dollars in lost productivity annually.
Africa has the highest cases of malaria (88% in 2015) followed by South-East region (10%). Countries like Australia are at high risk of disease like the ross river virus which, while not considered fatal, has no cure and leaves long-term impact. The reality is that in most countries, every day employees might be exposed to insects carrying malaria, dengue fever, lyme and other dangerous diseases?
So, what can companies do to help protect their employees?
In our experience reducing the likelihood of a bite happening in the first place, therefore reducing likelihood of infection, is the safest option. This means repellents and protective equipment.
We have had great success with a relatively new product that we have been supplying to clients in affected regions. It’s called “Insect Armour” and it’s a part of the BROQ Safety workwear range. What’s great about Insect Armour is that it’s highly effective, but it’s invisible, odourless and long-lasting. The range comes in high visibility so it also makes a real common-sense addition to uniforms in terms of Health & Safety compliance.
As well as the workwear range of shirts, pants and coveralls you can also use Insect Armour to add protection to bedding, other clothes and even surfaces with the textile treatment aerosol spray.
The philosophy behind Insect Armour is simple – if it doesn’t land, it can’t bite.