When you run a veterinary clinic, you're responsible for providing a safe work environment for everyone — and that includes the vet technicians who work for you. Those in this role must often perform the menial tasks that veterinarians don't perform, such as trimming animals' nails and performing other basic procedures. When animals are stressed, which is often the case in this environment, they may act aggressively and could bite or even maul one of your vet techs. This could potentially lead to a workers' compensation situation, as the vet tech's attorney could argue that your negligence led to the attack. You can take these steps to lower such risks.
Provide Regular Training
A vet technician will have a significant amount of training from his or her schooling, but you should always be ready to provide more training. A commitment to training, especially when it comes to dealing with animals that might be aggressive, shows that you're taking a serious step toward protecting your employees. For example, you may wish to train your vet techs on how to handle an aggressive animal in the clinic and even when to decide not to approach the animal due to its aggressive behavior.
Have Plans For Controlling Aggressive Animals
Your vet clinic should have policies for dealing with aggressive animals. Doing so shows that you take the safety of your staff seriously. For example, you might say that your staff has the right to refuse service to an animal that is acting overly aggressive. If a dog is baring its teeth at your staff, part of you creating a safe work environment should mean that the staff members don't have to go near the animal. Using restraint devices such as muzzles and tethers can also keep animals from biting when they're stressed or anxious.
Pair Senior Techs With Junior Techs
While an aggressive dog can bite anyone, you may be worried about your junior techs being more at risk of injuries because of their inexperience. Whenever possible, consider pairing a senior tech with a junior tech to help control the situation. The presence of the experienced employee can help the novice employee to handle the animal correctly to reduce the risk of a bite or an attack, and it demonstrates your commitment to providing a safe workplace. In the event of a workers' compensation claim, your own attorney may highlight these steps that you've taken to suggest that the attack was a result of the tech's negligence, not yours.
For more information about workers' compensation, contact a law firm like Gilbert, Blaszcyk & Milburn LLP.Share
30 August 2018
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