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Workers’ Compensation: Lyme Disease and Other Insect Hazards for the Construction Worker

If you work in an office, chances are you won’t get stung by a bee, snake, or tick in the workplace. On the other hand, those in the construction business work outdoors. Along with fresh air, sunshine and other advantages come all the disadvantages of working in conditions like tall grass and undeveloped sites: exposure to the undesirable hazards of nature.

These of course include insect bites. With ticks and Lyme disease at the forefront of the discussion, especially during the spring, summer and fall seasons, we in the insurance ranks are focusing on the issue regarding contractors and the construction business.

Attention all builders and contractors: what if your worker is bitten by a tick and develops Lyme disease? Will your workers’ compensation cover related damages? The answer to this is, yes, it can.

Lyme disease, if not caught early, can cause extensive damage to the human nervous system. It can also damage the heart, brain, muscles, and joints. The dreaded disease is so serious that it has prompted health officials to issue warnings and precautions about the danger. Also, the insurance industry has done extensive research on this.

For those who are more likely to be affected, such as construction workers, there is workers’ compensation coverage.

Related coverage benefits the boss as well as the employees by:

• Doctor, doctor and hospital payment

• Provide temporary disability benefits until permanent illness status has been determined

• Pay for rehabilitation and therapy-related costs

• Pay the salary of the worker who can no longer work due to illness

The insurance industry also guides construction companies on how to manage the risks of contracting a tick or other insect bite, educating them on:

• Inform workers about the potential severity of a tick bite and how to treat the bite.

• Teach workers what type of clothing to wear so that ticks cannot easily reach them. This includes wearing long pants and socks.

• Obtain feedback on workers’ allergic reactions to tick and other insect bites so that these workers can be assigned to areas where exposure is minimal.

• Have a first aid kit that includes emergencies for allergies in the workplace.

A related discussion with an independent insurance agency that is familiar with the exposures and knows how to assess the individual construction company’s risks can help you further understand the need for related workers’ compensation coverage.
Stay safe and stay informed!

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