Poison Ivy and Workers' Compensation

a darn good poison ivy rash

Recently an article surfaced about a little tiff in the Bradley County, Ohio, Commissioner's Office regarding Worker's Compensation. It seems that 10 workers with poison ivy rashes were taken to hospital emergency rooms for treatment, rather than to less expensive walk-in clinics. Which seems like a good point.

The county commission said:

“The last batch of 10 included exposure to poison ivy at the road department. It cost the county around $3,730. We’re dealing with small change, but you add it up and we’re starting to talk about money.”

But what caught our eye is that 10 workers were knocked out of work by exposure to poison ivy. Not hard to believe. The photo shown (sent by a viewer, not related to this incident) reminds us that poison ivy rashes can be more than annoying. Can you imagine that fellow able to work in that condition? And it can take two weeks for the rash to settle down, treated or not.

It surprises me that over the years we have had very few orders for poison ivy educational materials from highway departments. I often see crews along the roadside clearing poison ivy vines off of guardrails by hand, which is about the only way you can do it, other than spray.  Sometimes I will stop and hand the workers a PI identification card set, but usually it is too dangerous to stop.

We might have to mount a little campaign to reach out to highway departments to alert them to the cost-effectiveness of educating workers over treating them, whether at the ER or the walk-in clinic. Nowhere is prevention more valuable than in regard to poison ivy.