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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To characterize animal-related injuries in veterinary medical center staff at a veterinary medical center.

SAMPLE

706 hospital staff injuries.

METHODS

Deidentified injury reports were submitted to Human Resources from 2008 through 2022. Injury data collected included the injury description, date of injury, occupation, and worker’s compensation claim information. Data were summarized by year, cause of injury, total cost associated with injury, and occupation.

RESULTS

There was an increase in injuries reported in recent years when compared to past years, with the plurality of injuries being bite injuries, specifically occurring on the hand, finger, and wrist area. Bite injuries had a higher average total worker’s compensation cost paid to staff than striking injuries. There were more injuries reported by staff who had less experience working with animals. More injuries occurred during the summer months (June through September). There was not an unusual trend in the reporting of injuries due to COVID-19. Other injuries (eg, needlesticks and falls) were reported from only 2019 to 2022, but constituted a substantial burden for staff.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

These findings can help stakeholders at teaching hospitals and veterinary clinics to take steps toward creating a safer workplace environment for employees. It is important to identify work hazards and provide proper training and prevention methods to reduce the risk of injuries, especially among less experienced employees. Proper prevention methods will help reduce worker’s compensation costs for the teaching hospital and reduce the number of workdays missed by staff.

Open access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association