Guidance to help veterinary employers, employees and farmers achieve better safety when working together on farms has been produced by the British Veterinary Association (BVA).

The new BVA resources include a Farm Health and Safety guide and risk assessment form for veterinary practices, as well as an information leaflet for farmers.

The practice guide includes information on:

  • the acts and regulations aimed at reducing on farm injuries and deaths
  • how to develop a practice policy including management of hazards and risks
  • a list of the most common risks to assess
  • reporting requirements when accidents occur

The guide also includes a section designed to help employees identify key points and principles to ensure they meet health and safety standards when working on farms. 

An accompanying risk assessment form gives employees an overview of the risks on each farm to forewarn them of potential problems, while encouraging effective communication with the client before attending the premises to make the visit “as efficient as possible”.

For farmers, the BVA’s client advice leaflet – “Is your farm a safe place to work?” – addresses the farmer’s responsibility to keep vets and anyone working on their farm safe. It describes what should be in place for the vet to operate safely on the farm and points to further information.

The leaflet can be used for vets and farmers to start a discussion about minimising avoidable risks on farm.

BVA president John Blackwell said: “Health and safety assessments can save lives by informing action plans that help minimise the risks. Farmers and vets up and down the country have seen colleagues injured on farms and consequently unable to work. Many injuries are avoidable if veterinary practices, their employees and farmers all take action to minimise the risks.

I want veterinary practices to understand their responsibilities and make use of our resources to help protect their employees on farm visits. I want vets going out on farms to keep updating existing risk assessments to keep their colleagues and themselves safe. I hope the client leaflet helps vets and farmers to start the conversation and take action to reduce the risks.”

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