Pre-placement Evaluation Could Have Helped Avoid Serious Back Injury

Loss Amount: $131,800

Situation: A veterinary technician was working with others to restrain a large dog in the hospital treatment area and strained his lower back. He was a new employee, having only been working at the practice for less than two months, and, following the injury, told his employer that he had always had back problems. The practice did not require physical exams for prospective employees and was not aware of this.

After almost four years of treatment, and with a permanent disability, the claim was finally closed.

Lesson Learned: Working with large animals involves inherent risk of injury, however, as this case illustrates, those risks are dramatically increased for individuals with pre-dispositions. To minimize this loss potential the following measures are recommended:

  • Create written job descriptions detailing the physical requirements of a position to help prospective applicants determine whether they are qualified for it.
  • Conduct pre-placement physicals for positions that require routine lifting or other physical activity.
  • Discuss the physical nature of the workplace with staff during training meetings. Request that they get help for any heavy lifting and encourage a work environment where doing so is routine.
  • Instruct employees to inform management if they are sore or have any temporary limitations at work. It is better to know this and be able to accommodate for such circumstances then it is to have the employee injure themselves trying to cope with it.

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