How to protect your team from monkeypox in the workplace
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According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as of Aug. 18, there were 14,115 confirmed cases in the United States of monkeypox, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

The rare disease and its symptoms are similar to those of smallpox, but milder, and hardly fatal.

Monkeypox symptoms may include:

  • fever,
  • swollen lymph nodes,
  • muscle aches,
  • headache,
  • exhaustion and
  • a characteristic rash that could go from blisters to pustules.


Those symptoms usually start within three (3) weeks of exposure to the virus, and can last between two and four weeks. If someone is infected and has flu-like symptoms, a rash will usually develop 1-4 days later.

So, why should that matter to you as an employer or health and safety officer? The outbreak of monkeypox in the U.S. and around the world poses an issue for employers whose employees — such as health care workers and those who work closely in teams that may not be able to avoid physical contact — are more vulnerable to contracting the virus.

In this article, we break down how monkeypox can affect workers, how it’s transmitted, and which measures you can take to prevent its spread.

Let’s break it all down.

How monkeypox virus can affect workers and the workplace?


Whether it’s the flu or monkeypox, you want to prevent a workplace outbreak for both your team’s safety and overall production.

As with the COVID-19 virus, if an employee has contracted monkeypox, the best way to keep it from spreading throughout your job site is to never let it enter. Make sure that employee stays home, and away from other employees.

Also, if they’re in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with the virus, or has been exposed to a contaminated environment or object, they should monitor themselves closely for symptoms of the virus, for the 21-day incubation period. 

When workers are absent from work — due to symptoms resulting from the virus or an observance of the incubation period — it results in the loss of man hours… a direct decline in productive output and financial loss. Hence, H.R and EHS professionals cannot treat this virus and its fast spread with kid’s glove. 

Monkeypox rash breaks out on man's arm

The following are the modes of transmission of the virus


Monkeypox can spread in various ways, including:

  • Physical or intimate contact; skin-to skin contact, contact with the rashes of an infected person, or exposure to respiratory secretions from an infected person, could lead to the disease. In a recent study, it was discovered that 95% of new cases were men who engaged in gay or bisexual activities. This is not to stigmatize gay men, but to create awareness for them to take more caution. Monkeypox virus is not limited to any demography, and can be contracted by anyone who is exposed to the virus.
  • A person could also contract the virus via exposure to infected clothes, beddings, sex toys, work tools and other infected objects.
  • Lastly, in rare cases, a person could get the virus from being scratched or bitten by an infected animal, and also by exposure to secretions, or by eating meat from an infected animal. 

It is, however, not transmitted via casual, brief conversations or walking by someone. Contact is necessary to contract monkeypox.


How employers can prevent the spread of monkeypox disease in the workplace?


Employers can put the following preventive measures in place to ensure the health and safety of their on-site workers:

  • Advise workers to stay home when they are sick.
  • Educate workers on the symptoms and transmission of the virus. And also avoid close physical contact in the workplace, such as handshakes or hugs.
  • Encourage workers to wash their hands frequently or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and clean frequently-touched surfaces.
  • Encourage workers to get vaccinated.
  • Provide safe and healthy work environment for workers, following the general OSHA standards.

You can see more preventive measures here, and also read about the CDC monkeypox guidelines here. 

About Worksite Medical


In most cases, OSHA requires medical surveillance testing, and at no cost to employees. That testing includes respiratory function, chest x-rays, and blood work, which are crucial when you’re thinking about air quality in your workplace.

Worksite Medical makes that program easier with mobile medical testing.

We conduct on-site respirator fit tests, as well as audiometric exams, pulmonary function tests and heavy metal lab work, right on your job site. We also keep accurate, easy-to-access medical records for your convenience. You’ll keep your employees at work, and stay ahead of OSHA inspections.

With Worksite Medical, a mobile medical testing unit (take a virtual tour here) — we can bring all the resources of a lab to you. Our certified lab technicians can perform both qualitative and quantitative respirator tests to ensure a perfect fit.

Protect your team and your workplace from issues such as occupational asthma now with Worksite Medical.

Not sure what you need? Try our medical testing wizard here.

Give us a call at 1-844-622-8633, or complete the form below to schedule an on-site visit or to get your free quote!