Pets Account for Nearly 400 Workers’ Comp Claims A Year in Oregon

July 25, 2019

Slip and falls, flying tools, poor posture. The workplace can be dangerous, and now you can add pets to the risks that Oregon workers face.

Dogs and cats have accounted for more than 1,900 claims since 2014 received by SAIF, Oregon’s not-for-profit workers’ compensation insurance company. That averages out to nearly 400 pet-related worker’s comp claims each year.

Veterinary services, pet care, and universities had the highest rate of injuries, according to SAIF.

But the data also shows workers in healthcare get injured by pets. Since 2014, there were 30 cat-related injuries in home health care, nursing care facilities, hospitals, and residential care facilities combined, the figures show.

Dog-related injuries are common in healthcare-related fields too, with 94 reported in the same time frame. SAIF also saw dog injuries in industries that provide in-home services, like janitorial services and plumbing, heating, and AC contractors, resulting in 54 injuries. Restaurants accounted for 20 dog-related injuries.

“It’s easy to assume injuries from small animals only occur in the animal services industry,” said Becky Griswold, senior safety management consultant at SAIF. “But we’re seeing injuries across industries.”

SAIF offered some things for workers, employers and those interested in managing risk to consider:

  • If a pet is accompanied by an owner, always ask permission before approaching or petting the animal.
  • If an animal is in a car, avoid reaching through the window; this may cause the pet to feel scared or attacked.
  • Approach pets slowly and calmly; ideally, let the pet approach you on their own terms.
  • If the pet is calm, comes to you, and solicits attention, pet gently.
  • If you’re in doubt whether a pet is exhibiting fearful or aggressive behavior, ignore it and avoid it.

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