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Employers Beware: Bed Bugs May Be in Your Workplace

October 2013

By: Anthony J. Caruso, Esq.

Illinois employers are increasingly reporting evidence of bed bugs in the workplace. How do you identify that you have bed bugs? The Illinois Department of Public Health (on their website at http://www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/pcbedbugs.htm) has fact sheets on bed bugs (covering such topics as the history of bed bugs; bed bug bites; signs of bed bugs; and the inspection and control of bed bugs).

The Illinois Department of Public Health also has fact sheets on bed bugs for specific industries: Health Care Facilities; Multi-Unit Housing; Office Buildings; and Schools and Day Care Centers. These fact sheets provide a protocol that employers and property managers can use to identify and attempt to solve this health issue.

Any employer suspecting signs of bed bugs should engage a certified inspection service (by canine detection) to identify the location of the bed bugs in the workplace and how the little bugs have been transported to the worksite. At that point, it is highly recommended that a certified pest management service be engaged to control the problem.

Employers have a general duty to maintain a safe and healthy work environment. A failure to do so may expose an employer to workers' compensation claims and/or general liability claims by its business invitees. Unfortunately, these little creatures may create a HUGE monetary loss to an employer.

If you have any questions or concerns about this topic or any other questions related to employment, please call attorney Anthony J. Caruso of Wessels Sherman's St. Charles, Illinois office at (630) 377-1554 or via email at ancaruso@wesselssherman.com.