Deceased But Still Hazardous

Loss Amount: $59,000

Situation: A veterinary technician was helping another employee carry a dog that had just been released from surgery back to the kennel cages for recovery. She tripped over a deceased dog that had been left on the floor in front of the cages, seriously injuring her knees, hip and spine. Luckily, the animal she was carrying did not get injured in the incident too.

Other employees had removed the deceased dog from its cage and bagged it in preparation to be moved to the freezer. Before this took place the hospital became busy and the employees were diverted, leaving the animal until they could return to finish the job later.

Lesson Learned: Trip and fall accidents can be serious, especially in an environment where employees frequently have their hands full with charts, medications or animals. They may also be distracted.

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

  • Keep floors clear. This almost goes without saying, but its importance cannot be over-emphasized in the veterinary hospital environment, where changing conditions require diligence and action on the part of all employees all the time.
  • Identify hazards if they cannot be avoided. Placement of an orange safety cone, caution tape or “Slippery Floor” signs can alert employees to unusual circumstances. This equipment must be easily accessible. Staff should be able to reach for it even when it is busy and they should not have to leave the area to get it.
  • Inspect the workplace. Routine inspections can help identify trip and fall hazards so actions can be taken in advance to reduce or eliminate them.

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