“Bee” Smart About Bee Stings

By Bob White, ROII Safety Services Director 

Anyone who has ever stumbled onto a bee’s nest on a job site knows bee stings can really hurt. But when it comes to your employees, they can also hurt your bottom line.

Last year, the ROII program handled a large number of claims related to relatively minor injuries, bug bites or bee stings that turned into avoidable workers’ comp claims. While we resolved most as medical-only claims so they didn’t hurt the employer’s experience rating or workers’ comp rates, they still cost the ROII insurance pool, affected company performance ratings and reduced retro refunds. That’s not to mention the significant downtime and lost productivity when employees have to leave the job to seek medical services and then file workers’ comp claims. 

Don’t underestimate “minor” injuries

While you should never discourage employees from seeking medical treatment or filing workers’ comps claims, some simple first aid treatment on the job site can help avoid a trip to a physician. Left untreated, many minor cuts, bug bites and abrasions can become infected, resulting in swelling or discoloration. Bee stings, in particular, can become costly claims if employees have an allergic reaction as they can cause substantial complications.

Quick access to first aid 

Make sure your first aid kits are conveniently located. Ensure all employees know where they are and how to use them. Kits should include bandages, disinfectant and allergy medicine, clearly marked for easy access. Always have first aid kits onsite where your people actually work so they have easy access to them in emergency situations. Failure here may seriously cost you later.

Open Communication

Your employees don’t have to tell you they have medical conditions that could result in an industrial injury. Ask employees if they are allergic to bee stings or insect bites, and ensure they keep proper medical treatment on hand. Often specific medicines need to be available nearby. Having these basic conversations show you care and also helps protect both you and your employee.

Require employees to administer first aid treatment, even for minor wounds and bites, and direct them to report injuries to supervisors. Also, assign someone to restock the first aid kit to ensure you always have what you need.

Remember: A little preparation and forethought can go a long way in protecting your employees and saving your company money and downtime.

Related Posts

To align with federal standards, the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has new fall protection standards going into effect on Nov. 1, 2022. While training and guidance resources remain under development, the department has provided an overview of the background and changes.

The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) recently announced new emergency rules related to Wildfire Smoke and Heat Exposure for Washington businesses and their employees.  In response to the initial rule proposals, BIAW and other business groups weighed in and raised concerns about the need for, and legality of, “emergency” rules in these two areas.  L&I essentially ignored this input and proceeded ahead as planned.