It may start with a red, itchy rash on the skin. The rash often starts as a series of streaks or patches, but can soon turn into red bumps or large, oozing blisters. These are all the tell-tale signs of poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac.
People often become exposed to poisonous plants while participating in outdoor recreational activities, such as camping or hiking, but outdoor workers, including farmers, foresters, landscapers, groundskeepers, gardeners, and construction workers, may also become exposed to poisonous plants. Forestry workers and firefighters who battle forest fires are also at risk of developing rashes and lung irritation from the smoke produced when the poisonous plants burn.
If a worker is exposed to poison oak or other poisonous plant while on the job and is unable to work as a result, he or she will generally be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation provides injured employees with benefits regardless of who was at fault for the accident, injury, or medical condition. It is important to seek medical attention and notify your employer about your exposure to poison oak as soon as possible in order to protect your rights to workers’ compensation.
How to Prevent Exposure to Poisonous Plants
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that employees take the following precautions to prevent exposure to poison oak, poison ivy, and poison sumac:
- Wear long sleeves, long pants, boots, and gloves.
- Wash exposed clothing separately in hot water with detergent.
- Use barrier skin creams, such as a lotion containing bentoquatum, when working outdoors. Wash off and reapply the barrier cream twice a day.
- Wear disposable gloves to clean tools with rubbing alcohol or soap and lots of water.
- Do not burn plants that may be poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac.
If you have been exposed to poison oak or other poisonous plant while working, you should consult with a knowledgeable Illinois workplace accident attorney like those at Ankin Law Office, LLC as soon as possible. Our Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers have considerable knowledge and experience handling any and all legal claims that may arise due to a work-related injury or medical condition, including worker’s compensation benefits and any third-party causes of action that might apply.
Contact one of our Chicago worker’s compensation attorneys at (312) 600-0000 to learn more about how we can help you get worker’s compensation benefits for your poison oak injuries.