Safety and OSHA News

Top 25 cities for dog attacks to postal workers

You probably have some hazards at your workplace that are unique to your industry. Here’s one that affects letter carriers more than most others: dog bites. But postal workers aren’t the only ones who face this hazard. Recently, a TV news anchor was bitten on live TV.

Last year, 5,577 U.S. Postal employees were attacked by dogs.

May 19-25 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week.

In a press release, the Postal Service lists the top 25 cities for dog attacks. Here is the top 10:

  1. Los Angeles
  2. San Diego
  3. Houston
  4. Cleveland
  5. Dallas
  6. San Antonio
  7. Phoenix
  8. (tie) Denver and Sacramento, CA
  9. (tie) Minneapolis and St. Louis
  10. Louisville, KY.

For the entire top 25 list, click here.

The Centers for Disease Control says 12 to 20 people die each year from dog attacks. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons says in 2011, more than 29,000 reconstructive procedures were performed as a result of injuries caused by dog bites.

Some other jobs in which workers face the possibility of being bitten by a dog include landscaping and lawn cutting, utility installation and repair, all sorts of home repair contractors, construction, other delivery services, etc.

Some tips for workers — or anyone — who faces a potentially aggressive dog:

  • Don’t run past a dog. The dog’s natural instinct is to chase and catch you.
  • If a dog threatens you, don’t scream. Avoid eye contact. Try to remain motionless until the dog leaves, then back away slowly until the dog is out of sight.
  • Never approach a strange dog, especially one that’s tethered or confined.
  • Don’t disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating or caring for puppies.
  • Get permission from an owner before petting a dog.
  • Always let a dog see and sniff you before petting it.
  • If a dog is about to attack you, place something between yourself and the animal.
  • If you’re knocked down by a dog, curl into a ball and protect your face with your hands.

Petting a dog that you don’t know, even if it seems friendly, can lead to a bite. On a live broadcast, this TV news anchor put her face too close to a dog’s and suffered a bite. The anchor required reconstructive surgery around her lips. The anchor has been able to return to her job. She admits she didn’t use good judgment in the way she approached the dog.

Have you or someone you work with ever been bitten by a dog on the job? You can share the story in the comments below.

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  1. The dogs must be trained not to bite.
    Several times daily for a few weeks, let your pup mouth/play bite until he exerts more pressure than usual. Then say, “Ouch!” loud enough that he’s surprised and stops biting. At the same time, you should stop playing for a few seconds so he associates the end of play with exerting too much pressure. Repeat until he plays with only soft mouthing. If he doesn’t get the idea, just stop playing or move away whenever he bites too hard. He’ll learn soon enough that mouthing too hard ends play.

  2. Safety Cindy says:

    A dog is an animal and you just don’t know what will set them off. Even well trained dogs can bite so use caution around an unfamiliar dog.

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