Workers Comp: Lyme Disease and Other Insect Risks for the Construction Worker

If you work in an office setting, chances are you won’t be getting a bee bite, a snake bite or a tick bite at the workplace. On the other hand, those in the construction business work outdoors. Along with the fresh air, sun and other perks, come the full disadvantages of working in conditions like tall grass and underdeveloped sites: exposure to nature’s undesirable hazards.

These of course include insect bites. With ticks and Lyme disease on the forefront of discussion, especially during the spring, summer and fall seasons, we, in the insurance ranks focus on the topic in regard to contractors and construction business.

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

Lyme Disease, if not caught in time, can do extensive damage to the human nervous system. It can also harm the heart, brain, muscles and joints. The dreaded disease is so serious it has prompted health officials to issue warnings and cautions about the danger. Likewise the insurance industry has conducted extensive research in the matter.

For those most likely to be affected, like construction workers – there is workers comp coverage.

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

• Paying for doctor, medical and hospital

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

• Paying for rehabilitation and related therapy costs

• Paying the wages of the worker that cannot work any longer due to the illness

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

• Telling workers about the potential severity a tick bite can incur and how to treat a bite.

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

• Get feedback on worker allergic reactions to tick and other insects bite so that these workers can be assigned to areas where exposure is at the lowest.

• Having a first-aid kit that includes allergy emergencies on the job site.

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

Michael Ortiz

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