As Annual TV Shark Frenzy Begins, SAIF Warns Pets More Dangerous

Jul 25, 2019

Starting this weekend on cable TV, “Shark Week” will likely captivate -and terrify- audiences. But an Oregon company says forget JAWS in the ocean…PAWS in the workplace is a greater menace.

Workers compensation insurance company SAIF says since 2014, dogs and cats have been culprit in over 1,900 claims (or roughly 400 claims a year). Compare that to 29 shark attacks recorded in Oregon since 1900, with only one fatal.

Judi Croft is Safety Services Supervisor with SAIF.  She says businesses and facilities have become more pet-friendly through the years, increasing contact between people and animals.

“Just because an animal appears to be furry and fluffy, doesn’t mean that it’s friendly," Croft warns.  "And sometimes the owner doesn’t even know how the animal’s going to react.”

A cat or dog may be territorial or conditioned to only interact with its owner, and therefore might bite or claw strangers. Even if not aggressive, reports of people tripping or stumbling over animals are also common.

"We love pets and are not advocating for businesses to change their pet-friendly policies," says Becky Griswold, Senior Safety Management Consultant at SAIF. 

"But we do want to educate employees on how to safely interact with pets in the course of their day."

WEB EXTRA: See SAIF's awareness campaign video on animal safety in the workplace.

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