Sticky Situation Results in Employee Injury

Loss Amount: $52,000

Situation: A veterinary practice needed extra storage space and purchased an old shipping container, which they placed at the rear of the property. They repainted the container, which made the doors hard to open and close. A technician was asked to place some materials in the container and as he pushed hard to close the heavy door it suddenly moved, causing him to hit his shoulder on the protruding locking mechanism.

Nobody witnessed the incident and the employee elected not to tell his employer about his sore shoulder at the time. The soreness did not go away, however, and more than a month later he finally reported the accident. Initial treatment was conservative, relying on physical therapy and pain management. This did not work and ultimately the employee had surgery on his shoulder. The surgery was successful and after almost another year of limited duty employment and physical therapy the employee was released back to full duties.

Lesson Learned: As with many cases there are multiple lessons to be learned. The sticking door on the storage container caused the accident. This could easily have been prevented with proper maintenance. Also, the employee did not immediately report his injury, allowing his condition to worsen before he had access to medical care. The importance of immediate notification of any workplace injury or work-related illness needs to be emphasized by management so that appropriate medical care can be provided to injured staff and steps can be taken to prevent possible harm to others.

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