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Veterinary Hazards

Two females stand in lab coats and gloves, one holding a grey cat, while a male wearing protective gloves leans on a counter in the background. Caption: Keep veterinary technicians and assistants safe and working by providing required training, safety and health programs, and hazard prevention measures.Veterinarians and their staff are exposed to an array of occupational hazards every day whether they work in private clinics, on farms or ranches, at food processing facilities, or in research labs. These hazards include:

  • Physical hazards caused by animals (bites, scratches, kicks), medical equipment ( surgical lasers, x-ray equipment, sharps, autoclaves),  or general work conditions (slippery floors, unsafe ladder use, driving to worksites).
  • Ergonomics-related hazards that include heavy or awkward lifting and awkward postures.
  • Chemical hazards due to exposure to disinfectants, anesthetic gases, hazardous drugs, insecticides, surgical smoke, latex gloves, and agricultural dust.
  • Disease-causing pathogens transmitted by needlesticks, animal bites or scratches, direct contact with contaminated items and waste, and inhalation. First-aid treatment of injured coworkers brings risk for contact with human bloodborne pathogens.

Like other businesses in Washington State, businesses that employ veterinarians and their staff are required to develop and implement a written Accident Prevention Program (APP) to identify and address worksite safety and health hazards.

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