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The Importance of Health and Safety in a Veterinary Practice

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Why is Health and Safety so important in a Veterinary practice? At any veterinary practise it’s crucial that standards are maintained to make sure humans as well as the animals are protected from avoidable harm. By ensuring all precautions have been taken, less accidents will occur in the place of work, meaning confidence in knowing everything possible’s been done to keep everyone safe. The vets can be a busy and ever-changing environment, with people and animals coming and going at all times; therefore it’s very easy for bacteria to be spread from place to place which could cause/spread illness. Also this means any trip hazards could be extremely risky.

The different medications given out to animals could also be harmful if ingested by the wrong recipient. So it’s essential the correct storage/disposal is provided. Safeworking tips at the vets (& manual handling and lifting)Make sure any spillages are cleaned as soon as they happen, to reduce the likelihood of slips. Provide correct cleaning/disposal facilities for equipment. Keep the practise organised and tidy to minimise chance of trips and also to allow things to easily be found. It’s important employees get given a high level of training so they know how to handle and restrain animals. Keep all walkways and corridors clear. Ensure there are secure locations and that they are locked so they are unable to be opened by persons other than employees. Don’t allow food/drink in practice (where appropriate)

Do not allow other persons inside X-ray room other than radiographer. Clearly label all medication to avoid, giving in the wrong way, the wrong dosage or the wrong medication. Make sure all employees are trained and know exactly what to do in the event of an emergency and make sure they know how to stay calm to reduce the amount of chaos. Different animals may require being handled in different ways, ensure staff are aware of this Although unlikely at a vets, its important heavy loads are carried in the correct way, to avoid back injuries.

Animal Welfare Act 2006

States by law that all animals being kept must have all 5 needs below:Must have a suitable dietMust have a suitable environment Must be housed with/apart from others Must be able to exhibit normal behaviour patternsMust be protected from pain, injury, disease and sufferingThe Health and Safety at work Act 1974The Health and Safety at work act, passed in 1974 puts in place standards in the workplace. At the vet’s the veterinary surgeons and nurses should be protected from risks as well as patients and their owners. This law gives the owner a responsibility to ensure everyone who enters the place of work is as protected as possible from any risks regarding their health and safety. Under the act, employers have a legal responsibility to their employees to:Make sure they are safe when transporting materialsThey must provide training and supervision (if necessary) for the job.

The employer should keep up with the maintenance at the workplace

Most importantly, it’s their responsibility to maintain a safe working environment for their employees. Under the act, employers have a legal responsibility to other persons to:In regards to health and safety, the owner should make sure people visiting the workplace are not exposed to any risks.

Everyone should be given the correct information about how the workplace follows through with its undertaking. Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002This law is to control any hazardous substances that could affect the health of others. At the vets, when the practice needsto use veterinary medicines, the practice should take suitable control measures to reduce any risks to human’s health; making it a safer environment for everyone. Responsibilities under this law include:Ensuring proper facilities are provided to restrain animals when they are being checked. Securely storing all medical equipment as well as medicine itself. Ensure operators are properly trained and know how to safely give the medication to the correct recipient. Disposal of all hazardous substances and equipment which has been contaminated must be done properly to ensure minimal contamination with anything else. Personal protective equipment, such as dust masks, respirators and gloves should be used when appropriate.

RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995)This law makes it a legal requirement to report incidents and/or accidents that happen in the specific place of work. Included is a wide range of things, such as when a serious accident was luckily avoided but also much more serious accidents like work related deaths. Responsibilities under this law include:Recording ALL accidents, injuries, illnesses, dangerous occurrences, work-related deaths and specific job-related injuriesKeeping records of all incidents in an accident book (which is kept on site) or on a computer (easily accessible) Keeping all records organised and up-to-date. All employees’ records must be kept strictly confidential.

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