Farm vets putting their bodies on the line

More than half of farm vets working with production livestock have been injured in the last 12 months, the British Veterinary Association reports.
More than half of farm vets working with production livestock have been injured in the last 12 months, the British Veterinary Association reports.
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MORE THAN half of vets who work with animals used on farms for food production say they have been injured on the job in the past year.

Some 53 per cent of vets said they had suffered injuries in the last 12 months, when asked by the British Veterinary Association.

Its survey results have been released to coincide with the third annual Farm Safety Week, an initiative which is aimed at reducing the toll of accidents which give agriculture the poorest record of any occupation in the UK and Ireland.

Almost a fifth of production animal vets rated the injuries as very or quite severe, the BVA said.

The most common injury was bruising caused by kicks, with almost 85 per cent of production animal vets having been injured in this way. Other injuries reported included lacerations, crush injuries, and head injuries and fractures caused by kicks.

The BVA is encouraging vets and farmers to read and act on its Farm Health and Safety guide in a bid to reduce incidences of injury.

Its call comes as the latest Health and Safety Executive figures show farming’s fatality record remains the worst of all sectors in Britain.

A total of 33 fatal injuries to agricultural workers were recorded last year – a rate of 9.12 deaths per 100,000 workers, the same as the average of 33 deaths in the past five years and an increase from the 27 deaths recorded in 2013/14.

Guy Smith, the National Farmers’ Union’s vice president and chairman of the Farm Safety Partnership, said: “The stagnant nature of these figures underlines the importance of the industry working to ensure the number of fatalities in our sector falls and the NFU is playing a leading role in this.

“The Farm Safety Partnership, a collaboration of 48 organisations, is committed to raising awareness of potential risks and promoting safe practices on farms.”