As we focus on sharks this week, here’s how to avoid injuries
SAIF has received zero claims related to shark attacks in the last five years, but there is another animal threat many of us haven’t considered.
posted July 19, 2019
It happens every year in July, when many people around the country are participating in a week-long celebration of sharks.
After seven full days of watching Great Whites chomp on steel bars and Hammerheads speed toward unknowing prey, many of us are often left wondering about our risk of shark attack.
The good news is, here in Oregon most people don’t have much to worry about. SAIF has received zero claims related to shark attacks in the last five years.
There is, however, another animal threat many of us haven’t considered. Between 2014 and 2018, SAIF has seen more than 1,900 cat and dog-related injuries.
It’s easy to assume small animal encounters are something that only veterinarians, shelter workers, and groomers must worry about. But as our communities become more pet-friendly, workers across industries can have a run-in with a cat or dog that leads to injury. While injuries from cats and dogs were most common in the veterinary field (a total of 779 claims since 2014), they were also seen in the following industries over the last five years:
- Pet care — 253 claims
- Home health care — 41 claims
- Nursing care facilities — 44 claims
- Hospitals — 22
- Schools — 17
Dangerous encounters can happen when you’re visiting a customer’s home, reaching into a car to give a receipt or dog biscuit, or walking down the street.
While SAIF is not advocating for businesses to change their pet-friendly policies, we do want to educate employees on how to safely interact with pets in the course of their day.
If you come across a pet during your work, approach cautiously to avoid injury and unnecessary stress for the pet. Here are some things to consider:
- If the pet is accompanied by an owner, always ask permission before approaching or petting the animal.
- If the 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.
So as you marvel at close underwater shark encounters this month, remember to protect yourself from the bigger threat—even if they are cuter and more cuddly.