June 10, 2021
By: Mitzi Robinson, President/Founder, Bulli Ray Occupational Dog Bite Safety
Presenter 2021 VPPPA Conference Nashville
According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are approximately 78.2 million owned dogs in the country, and nearly 40 percent of all households have at least one dog. Of course, the percentage of households with dogs is higher in suburban and rural areas than in cities, but the fact remains that dogs are nearly everywhere.
With dogs in homes across the country, we must acknowledge that dogs can pose a workplace hazard to field employees. Does OSHA consider dogs a workplace hazard for those who may have to enter a yard or premises where a dog is present?
In OSHA-Act’s General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1), Mandatory Safety and Health standard, it requires employers to provide their employees with a workplace free of recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm.
We know dogs can pose a significant hazard, so the question is how to mitigate this risk and keep employees safe?
It’s hard to determine the significance of the hazards posed by encountering dogs in the workplace, but reviewing statistics is helpful.
According to Bulli Ray, a leading provider of occupational dog bite safety training:
Police officers and the Pit Bull
A police officer and his partner were called to a home for a domestic disturbance. The officers arrive at the location and one officer proceeds to the home.
Instantly, a pit bull mix comes running out from under the home attacking him. The dog grabs his forearm and will not release. The officer was attacked on his gun side, which means he can’t reach his weapon. His partner runs up and puts the butt of his 9mm gun on the top of the dog’s skull. He fires his gun, thinking the dog will be killed or at least release his partner. The dog does release the officer, however the bullet ricochets off the dog skull, hitting the officer in the heart. He is killed instantly. Wounded, the dog runs back under the house. The partner immediately calls for help! He cannot believe what has just happened! Police officers, not to mention most employees are not trained in dog bite safety.
My goal is to help educate the VPPA members on how to safely and successfully navigate dog encounters. Tragically, too many employees are in the field with little or no knowledge of how to recognize a dangerous dog from a harmless one. I hear stories often from employees that don't understand why they were attacked by a dog in which they have safely approached several times in the past. I can provide the tools to help defend and minimize canine risk exposure. Be Safe!!
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