June 29, 2016

Employees may be entitled to injury compensation for Lyme Disease at work if employers fail to act on the HSE´s latest warning about the Lyme Disease threat.

The Health Service Executive has issued a warning about the threat of Lyme Disease – a potentially debilitating bacterial infection that is spread to humans from infected horses, sheep, cattle, dogs, deer and rodents by tick bites. Lyme Disease is ever-present in Ireland but, during the summer months, ticks are more numerous and active according to Dr Paul McKeown of the HSE´s Health Protection Surveillance Centre.

Dr McKeown warns that, as the days get longer and the weather starts to improve, more people are likely to engage in outdoor pursuits – increasing the risk of contracting Lyme Disease from a tick bite as they explore the countryside. Those particularly at risk include people who work close to environments with deep or overgrown vegetation such as forests, woodlands and heathlands – especially in areas where ticks have access to animals to feed on.

Employees who work in these environments should be warned of the risks of Lyme Disease, advised on how to recognise the symptoms of a tick bite, and provided with personal protective equipment to mitigate the risk of infection. Among the precautions suggested by Dr McKeown are:

  • Wearing long trousers, long-sleeved shirts, socks and shoes
  • Applying insect repellents such as DEET (on skin) and Permethrin (on clothes)
  • Checking skin, hair and clothes for the presence of ticks at the end of the day

Employees who are bitten by an infected tick, and then develop flu-like symptoms, pain and swelling in the joints or chronic fatigue syndrome, may be entitled to claim injury compensation for Lyme Disease at work – provided that an employer has failed in his or her duty of care to protect the employee from the risk of a tick bite.

However, if you have any questions relating to your entitlement to injury compensation, you should speak with a solicitor as soon as practically possible.

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