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BEVA addresses injury risks posed to horse vets

The British Equine Veterinary Association is working with other major veterinary bodies in the UK to address the injury risks posed to equine vets. The move follows the shocking results of the 2013 survey on work-related injuries in equine practitioners in the UK. This revealed that being a horse vet may carry the highest risk of injury of any civilian occupation in the country, beyond even that of a fire fighter.

Representatives from BEVA, the BVA, RCVS, VDS, vet school equine department heads, major equine veterinary practices, together with survey authors, attended round table discussions. Subsequently they have drawn up a consensus statement to pinpoint the major obstacles and key objectives to minimise the risk of workplace injury to equine vets.

The next phase 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 UK Thoroughbred industry’s recent work to implement safer working practices may be followed to help draw up realistic guidelines.

Mark Bowen, the new President of BEVA said: “There is a clear need to establish safer systems of work, and education of the profession and other animal handlers. 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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