January 08, 2013
It doesn’t take much. Even small pets can cause big damage – and in this post, Pet store dog bite, I told you about a pet store manager who was bitten on the face by a dog who reacted to her attempt to put a muzzle on him.
I can see how a pet would get self-protective in a situation like that – and the same goes for getting groomed, which generally isn’t something pets enjoy. Recently I talked with an animal groomer who gave my little dog a trim. I held the dog while she sheared him with her clippers, and she asked me to keep a gentle hold on his head, so he couldn’t turn and bite her. Apparently it happens fairly often – and suddenly.
“Wow. That’s quite the occupational hazard,” I said, telling her about my safety blog. “You must have some stories.”
While she’s never been badly injured, she’s been bitten, scratched, and knocked over. I have another friend who works at an animal clinic and describes the same sorts of minor injuries to staff. Muzzling the dog (carefully, with help) is one option, along with proper support from another person if necessary.
How often are workers injured by animals?
In 2011, a WorkSafeBC claim was accepted when a worker diving for geoducks was pushed by sea lions. Another 2011 claim involved a worker being bitten on the nose while feeding a lemur.
Generally speaking, workers being injured by animals is relatively uncommon. Most incidents involve workers encountering bears (see Working in Bear Country).
But Fact Sheet: Injuries Related to Animals reports some unusual injuries in BC from 2005 to 2011, including:
- Worker attempting to move a buffalo injured when the animal kicked a pole that struck the worker
- Worker bitten while grabbing raccoon
- Worker kicked by bull
- Worker scratched by bat
- Worker struck a wall while attempting to restrain a goat 2008
- Worker bitten while holding a cat
- Worker’s hand bitten by mink
- Worker kicked by a cow
- Worker bitten by a seal
Definitely some unique injuries, aren’t they?
More info on animal safety
Beware of bears and be prepared, from WorkSafeBC
Handling Farm Animals Safely, from the Ontario Farm Safety Association.
August 09, 2011
Recent media reports have me feeling even more cautious about bear encounters than I was before.
One person was killed by a black bear in BC and others have been injured. CBC reports that people are encountering more bears this year because our cold spring delayed the snow melt, and bears are coming further down the mountains in search of food. Yikes!
Now I’m trying to keep this information in perspective as I prepare for my first camping trip of the summer. I won’t allow my fear to ruin my enjoyment of the woods, so I’m reviewing some bear safety tips that I’ll share with you.
Get bear smart
The Get Bear Smart Society is based in Whistler, and they educate people – including the general public, non-governmental organizations, government agencies, and law enforcement officials – on how to co-exist with bears.
Dr. Lynn Rogers puts things in perspective by pointing out that “each year in the USA and Canada, 1 in 16,000 people commit murder, 1 in 35,000 grizzly bears kills a human, and 1 in 100,000 black bears kills a human,” she writes on the Bear Smart site.
While looking at it that way is a good reality check, I’ll definitely follow these tips offered by Bear Smart while enjoying my trip:
1) Store food and garbage in a bear-proof container or hanging it in a tree
2) Avoid animal carcasses when out walking
3) Travel in a group during daylight hours
4) Alert bears by talking calmly and loudly or singing, especially in dense bush where visibility may be limited or around rivers or streams
5) Obey trail closures and information signs
More bear safety tips
Safety tips for travelling in bear country from Gadling, a travel blog
Bear Safety Tips for the Outdoor Enthusiast from Canada Trails
Bear Safety from BC Parks
Bears and People from Parks Canada
Beware of bears and be prepared from WorkSafeBC
November 02, 2010
BC archaeologist Shannon Cameron takes precautions every time she goes to work in the woods. But one day, she and her coworker met a bear whose curiosity outweighed his instinct to avoid humans.
“He was within 15 feet and he was standing up on his hind legs and huffing. There’s specific noises and facial expressions they make when they’re going to charge, and my crew member and I were doing everything we could to look as big as possible,” she told me.
“We were waving our arms and clapping and hollering and setting off bear bangers and bear spray and finally the bear decided he didn’t want anything to do with it and he turned around and walked away. That’s as close as I ever got.”
As archaeologists, Shannon and her colleagues look for evidence of past human activity on pieces of land used by foresters, geologists, and other industries. The first thing they do – with respect to wildlife – is make a lot of noise to announce their arrival. They bang shovels and do “bush calls” to let animals know humans have entered their territory. Once they get to work, they keep talking to one another if they are spread out, to keep their presence known.
“You’re pretty focused on what you’re doing on the site, trying to get it done,” Shannon said. “There were things you had to do in that environment, like not bringing certain foods like chicken wings or ribs in your lunch and making sure all your food is well-sealed.”
Shannon said they also carry bear bangers (i.e. small explosives that scare bears away), bear spray, and a rifle for shooting into the air. She said workers in the area – foresters, geologists, biologists, and archaeologists – inform each other about animal sightings.
“Knowing there’s a mama bear with cubs in the area is the most concerning thing because you know they will be very protective and they’ll have bigger boundaries than they normally do,” she said.
Shannon said awareness is the best prevention.
“It’s being aware of your surroundings and trying to be respectful of it. If you do that, you really minimize your chance of having those close encounters,” Shannon said, describing how you can keep the environment safe for other humans who arrive after you.
“You don’t leave all your food wrappers or feminine hygiene products laying around. If you minimize your impact and let everything know where you are in the bush, you’re probably not going to have that many incidents.”
Even one close-up incident would be more than enough for me, but luckily there’s more information on minimizing the risks of bears in the woods. Check out Beware of bears and be prepared and Training of workers with respect to bears.
August 12, 2010
I asked on Facebook: “What precautions do you take to stay safe at work? What ‘dangers’ do you face at your job?”
As I expected, some interesting answers came from my network of contacts who work in many different industries.
My neighbour Chris, an archaeologist, said his safety precautions include: “tailgate meeting everyday to discuss things like ’don’t get hit by large mechanical equipment, don’t get eaten by wild animals, don’t get lost, try not to fall down’….and that’s not to mention the many dangers in the office!” Read more