BEVA Addresses Injury Risks Posed to Horse Vets

BEVA Addresses Injury Risks Posed to Horse Vets

A survey revealed that being a horse vet could carry the highest risk of injury of any civilian occupation in the U.K., beyond even that of a firefighter.

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is working with other major veterinary bodies in the United Kingdom to address the injury risks posed to equine veterinarians.

The move follows the results of the 2013 survey on work-related injuries in equine practitioners in the U.K., which revealed that being a horse vet could carry the highest risk of injury of any civilian occupation in the country, beyond even that of a firefighter.

Representatives from BEVA, the British Veterinary Association, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, the Veterinary Defense Society, veterinary school equine department heads, major equine veterinary practices, along with survey authors, attended round table discussions. Subsequently they have drawn up a consensus statement to pinpoint the major obstacles and key objectives to minimize the risk of workplace injury to equine vets.

The next phase of the study will explore how reporting can be improved to help with the development of practical measures to reduce the risk of serious or fatal injuries. The U.K. Thoroughbred industry’s recent work to implement safer working practices can be followed to help draw up realistic guidelines.

“There is a clear need to establish safer systems of work, and education of the profession and other animal handlers,” said Mark Bowen, BVetMed, PhD, CertEM (IntMed), MRCVS, the new BEVA president. “A key for longevity of future safety is the training of veterinary students and newly qualified equine veterinary surgeons. This will help ensure they are aware of the most risky procedures and the methods they should employ to remain safe as reasonably practicable while working with horses.”

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