Bending for Dog Food Causes Serious Injury

Loss Amount: $296,000

Situation: A veterinary kennel employee seriously injured his back while engaged in the process of feeding animals being cared for at the hospital. He had been filling the animals’ food bowls from a large plastic trash can the hospital used to keep their dry food in bulk. When the large bin was full, food could easily be scooped from it. But as the amount of food in the bin decreased, he and other staff had to bend and reach further to get it. At the time of the employee’s injury the level of food in the bin was very low and he was bending all the way over, holding a scoop in one hand and the food bowl in the other.

Lesson Learned: Activities that involve repeated bending, reaching and lifting are a recipe for injury. Lifting something at arm’s length increases the force of that item on the human body by a factor of ten. In addition, the high straight sides of the food bin in this situation forced the employee to bend straight over, and prevented any support of his torso that could have lessened the strain on his low back.

The following steps should be taken to reduce the risk of similar accidents:

  • Place bins at waist height. There are tabletop bins of all sizes that allow users to scoop from with very little bending or reaching. This is a much better arrangement than bending to a level below the waist. It could also allow users to scoop and fill several bowls at the same time.
  • Tilt the bins. If the use of large or deep bins is difficult to avoid, tilting them on an angled mount typically allows users to bend properly and provides much easier access to their recesses.
  • Avoid overexertion and excessive repetition. As with all physical activities, the more demanding a task is the greater the risk of injury. Replacing large, heavy scoops with smaller, lighter models decreases the risk of wrist and shoulder strains, for instance.

For further assistance in preventing all types of losses, call VISC at 888.762.3143.