DALLAS, Texas – From animal bites to slips and falls, workplace injuries in the pest management industry can occur on any job, making workplace safety a top concern for both employees and managers.
PestSure compared worker injury claims of its insureds between 2021 and 2020 and discovered that animal bites; cuts, punctures, and scrapes; lifting and slips/falls from a different level all increased.
- Bitten by Animal – 13 percent (2021) vs. 11 percent (2020
- Cuts, Punctures, Scrapes – 11 percent (2021) vs. 9 percent (2020)
- Lifting – 8 percent (2021) vs. 7 percent (2020)
- Falls/Slips From a Different Level – 7 percent (2021) vs. 6 percent (2020)
Linda Midyett, vice president and loss control director, PestSure, attributed the increases to several factors including inconsistent training and technicians becoming complacent with safety procedures as well as the lack of familiarity with new accounts.
“Animal bites are preventable with consistent training and good communication,” said Midyett. “Slips and falls are common but increase when technicians get lax about their surroundings or are not familiar with the account.”
Midyett encouraged technicians to take a few minutes to walk around a property before starting service in order to perform a safety assessment.
“Whether it is a new account or a home or business you serviced for years, take the time to look for hazards that may have been introduced since the previous visit,” said Midyett.
Here are some red flags PestSure recommended technicians look for when doing a safety assessment:
- Barking dogs, ‘Beware of dog’ signs and unsecured fenced in backyards should raise a red flag. Midyett recalled an example of a dog’s unpredictability when one that appeared friendly approached a technician as he exited his vehicle. However, the dog bit the technician a half hour later.
- Before conducting perimeter or lawn care treatments, take a 3-D view of the property. Look for air conditioning units sticking out of windows, low hanging branches, rocks hidden under shrubs or brush, unrolled hoses and depressions in lawns that can lead to head injuries or slips and falls.
- Slick surfaces can form on stone patios, paths, decks and stairs following a rain shower. If a technician is not wearing the right shoes – ones with gripping soles – the chances increase for a slip and fall incident.
- Over-filling backpack sprayers and trying to lift them out of truck beds, pulling sprayer hoses across a lawn and lifting ladders on or off a truck can all lead to injury.
- Taking a shortcut across a lawn or icy parking lot vs. walking on the sidewalk can lead to an unexpected slip and fall incident if you come across a depression or hidden object. Choose the safest path rather than the quickest.