Joceylyn Perkins, a nurse, claims to have gotten bed bugs in the course of her work taking care of patients at a retirement home in Richmond, Virginia. She wants her employer to help cover the costs of eliminating bed bugs in her home. However, as NBC 12 notes, “bed bugs are not covered” by Virginia Workers’ Compensation Law.
Jocelyn wants to hear from others in the health care profession. She’s circulating a petition among health care providers who want to start [a] dialogue which they hope will result in more disclosure and changes in Virginia’s Workers’ Compensation Act.
Unfortunately, as bed bugs spread, many people are likely taking them home from work (just as others are bringing them into work). If bed bugs are known to be in the workplace, or if the job involves visiting sites which may be infested, then steps can be taken to lessen the likelihood of people getting bedbugs while doing their jobs.
These steps might include offering staff an XL Ziploc bag and encouraging them to stow purses or briefcases sealed inside it while in a potentially infested or known-to-be-infested environment. Another possibility might include providing a Packtite for employee use at work or home, to kill bed bugs in clothing or other exposed items.
Sadly, once bed bugs do come home, they are very expensive and difficult to get rid of. If employees have to pay for treatment and cannot afford it, it may become a persistent infestation — which means the workplace or clients are at risk of reinfestation even after they eliminate their bed bug problems.
Stopping the bed bug infestation and reinfestation cycle requires resources (time and money) and cooperation amongst everyone involved.