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Avoiding worker injuries from insects or animals

As some New Jersey residents may know, employees in certain occupations are often exposed to insect, reptile or animal bites. Being at risk for these types of situations may mean that an injury and its aftermath may be covered by workers' compensation.

Looking at the level of risk an employee may encounter might be complex. For instance, poisonous spiders and rats might be found in the workplace no matter where it is located. Some workers might be doing jobs that expose them to bites from ticks and mosquitoes that carry disease more frequently, particularly outdoor workers such as landscapers, linemen and maintenance workers.

Employers are obligated to make every effort possible to inspect the workplace to determine if it is infected with vermin or pests. If there is evidence of pests, such as rat droppings, the employer is expected to have an exterminator set traps or apply other similar measures. In addition, areas where vermin might enter a facility should be proactively sealed. Outdoor areas are more complex, but the same principles apply. Inspection and cleanup paired with appropriate measures such as apparel or gloves may keep the employee safe.

In the event an employee suffers an insect, reptile or animal bite, it is important to have first aid measures on hand. Teaching employees how to handle a wound as well as what to do if the employee or a co-worker is bitten is important. Knowing how to handle a potentially dangerous situation might help the outcome, lessen the damage and decrease the time the employee may be absent from work.

An employee who suffers an injury at work may benefit from speaking with an attorney who has experience with workers' compensation matters. The attorney can assist in the determination of whether the employee is eligible to file a claim for benefits.

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