Poison ivy and your outdoor workers

Now that all the plants outside have taken on a life of their own, your outdoor workers may need to brush up on their poison ivy knowledge before heading out this spring.  To avoid workers comp claims due to allergic reactions from poison ivy, remind your employees how to identify poison ivy and oak.  Here are a few easy sayings to help everyone remember what to avoid:

  • Leaves of three, let it be
  • Berries white, run in fright– poison ivy and poison oak have berry-like fruit between August and November
  • Red leaflets in spring, it’s a dangerous thing– This time of year the leaves are red in color and will turn lighter green as they mature
  • If butterflies land there, don’t put your hand there– butterflies tend to land on poison ivy to protect themselves from predators that may have reactions
  • Hairy vine, no friend of mine– in some parts of the country, poison ivy grows as a vine that looks like it has hair growing out of it
  • Longer middle stem, stay away from them– in some species, the middle leaflet has a longer stem than the other leaflets
  • Side leaflets like mittens, will itch like the dickens– sometimes the two outer leaves of a leaf triplet will look like a pair of mittens with thumbs sticking out

If you need more information on how to keep your employees safe from poison ivy reactions, talk with a specialist at your business insurance’s loss control department.  They can help train your employees on how to spot the plants and what to do if a reaction is apparent.  You want everyone to stay safe out there and avoid preventable workers comp claims at the same time.  Learning to identify poison ivy and avoiding it can help.