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Serious injuries to Australian veterinarians working with cattle

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Abstract

Objective

To describe the factors associated with serious injuries sustained during cattle-associated activities by veterinarians responding to the Health Risks of Australian Veterinarians (HRAV) survey.

Methods

Responses from the HRAV survey were reviewed and the factors associated with serious injuries reported by veterinarians while working with cattle were analysed. All veterinarians who had graduated from Australian veterinary schools between 1960 and 2000 were eligible for inclusion in the survey.

Results

The survey identified 474 serious injuries sustained while undertaking cattle-associated activities. Most cattle-associated injuries (82%) were sustained in stock or handling yards and 57% of reported injuries were sustained while undertaking pregnancy testing or undertaking examinations. Nearly 80% of all cattle-associated injuries were sustained as a result of the veterinarian being kicked or struck (49%) or pushed against or stepped on (30%). The part of the body most commonly injured was the upper limbs. Fractures were the most common type of serious injury sustained. The use of safety precautions at the time of the injury was reported by 62% of those veterinarians reporting injury.

Conclusions

This study describes factors associated with serious injuries while working with cattle, as reported by veterinarians responding to the HRAV survey. Findings from this study will facilitate discussions aimed at addressing injury prevention for cattle veterinarians, including improving the awareness of safe handling practices and safety precautions.

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