Cattle vets have been urged to learn more about animal psychology in a bid to prevent injury.
Speaking at an event hosted by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), the honorary secretary said that vets need to change their attitude to avoid injury at work.
Ms Eppink said: “Us vets have got to change our attitude that it’s OK to be a little bit damaged – it’s not OK, and we need to make sure animals are handled safely to avoid injury.
“We tend to be the nasty people that stick needles in or do things which are an unfamiliar management or handling situation for the animals, so we do get accidents.
“We are putting ourselves daily at risk and we have to manage it instead of going in gung-ho.”
Of the 133 workers killed in the UK between 2013 and 2014, 27 were employed in the agriculture industry – with seven killed after coming into contact with cattle.
IOSH believed that more needs to be done to improve safety in the industry, with the education of vets and farmers said to be key.
Improving understanding of animal behaviour may also result in the design of safer facilities.
Gwyn Barlow, member of IOSH’s Rural Industries Group and chair of the event, said: “How we interact with the animals has changed over the years and by implication the way the animals behave and react, whether that’s with staff on the farm, a vet or walkers on a footpath, has also changed.
“We hope this event has provided more of an understanding of animal psychology and how to ensure they have good handling facilities in line with current guidance. Hopefully this promotion of best-practice will generate further good practice and improve safety within the industry.”