Going to work, one thing you have always had to be careful of is which kinds of insects you were around. With a serious allergy, you always carry epinephrine, but you know that getting stung or bitten could cause anaphylaxis and a medical emergency. In some cases, this kind of reaction can be fatal.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 83 workers died from bites from mites, arachnids and insects between 2003 and 2010, the last time the data was collected. Insects can cause serious injuries as well, and in that study period, it was found that injuries and illnesses from bites and stings led to between 4,930 and 6,870 days off work annually.
Workers have a right to work in safe environments
Workers have a right to work in an environment that is safe for them. An employee who has a severe allergy to bees, for example, may ask to have a nest removed near an office door or refuse to work where a swarm is present for their own safety. At work, employers can enforce policies to reduce the likelihood of exposure to insects, such as removing flowering plants where possible, avoiding heavy perfumes in the workplace or getting professional support for infestations.
Employees should also be aware of first aid for insect stings, such as removing the stinger and tight-fitting jewelry, washing the site of the injury and looking for signs of anaphylaxis, such as diarrhea, stomach cramps, trouble breathing or itchiness.
If a worker does suffer from anaphylaxis or other injuries on the job, they do have the right to seek medical attention. They may also be able to seek out workers’ compensation to cover their financial losses.