Health & Safety Rules and Guidelines

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There are inherent risks in working with animals and in handling drugs. It is your responsibility to take care to minimise these risks, not only for yourself but for colleagues and others likely to be affected by your actions.

You are bound by the safety rules in force in the abattoir, practice, farm or laboratory where you are working. Do Not start work until you have read them.

These are Faculty recommendations

  • Always adopt appropriate methods of approach and restraint for animals.

  • Undertake procedures with animals, equipment, drugs or chemicals only when you have permission and understand what you are doing.

  • Wear clean protective clothing appropriate to the practice/establishment and to the procedure being undertaken. Remove protective clothing when the procedure is complete and clean or dispose of it appropriately.

  • Exercise good personal hygiene at all times. Wash/shower when appropriate once a procedure is complete.

  • Avoid smoking or consuming food or drink while working with animals.

  • Treat, or have treated, any cuts or abrasions, and ensure that these are properly covered before commencing work with animals.

  • Ensure that you are adequately protected against tetanus.

  • In the event of being bitten or scratched, thoroughly clean the wound with hot, soapy water, then seek medical advice as appropriate.

  • Report promptly any accident or injury to your supervisor.

  • Ensure that adequate precautions are taken by yourself and others when working with ionising radiations.

In addition, the process of handling animals, carrying out post-mortem examinations or collecting samples may lead to exposure to allergens, parasites, bacteria or viruses. Some of the associated infections may be transmissible to man (e.g. anthrax, leptospirosis, salmonellosis).

  • Although all faeces are potentially hazardous, special precautions must be taken when handling animals with diarrhoea because of the risk of infection by Salmonella, Campylobacter and Cryptosporidium.

  • Wear adequate protective clothing when handling calves with ringworm or sheep with orf, and report any signs of skin irritation or inflammation immediately.

  • Dispose of animal carcasses and spent equipment in an appropriate manner.
    Women who are or suspect that they may be pregnant, must declare this to their training supervisor because of the risks associated with anaesthesia, radiography, drug handling and zoonoses. They should not work with lambing ewes, or handle aborted material from any species, because of the risk of Chlamydophila, Toxoplasma, Hepatitis E or other infections. Beware also the potential risk from toxoplasma in cat faeces.

  • If you need to consult a doctor, make him/her aware of any recent exposure to animals or animal material. You are advised also to inform your EMS placement of this action.

Further advice on zoonoses is to be found in ‘COSHH: BVA Guide’ (1991) pages 32-59

In the event of an emergency, students should contact the EMS office on 0141 330 2386 (EMS Secretary) or Mr D Barrett (EMS Co-ordinator) 0141-330-5700 Ext 5728.

Manual Handling of Heavy Weights

The diagrams below illustrate the technique for lifting deadweights. The technique equally applies to lifting of dead animals, where the task may complicated by the animal being in a slippery plastic bag. Positioning and placement of feet also applies to lifting live small animals, though placement of hands around the animal will also be geared to restraint & minimising struggling. You should take into account the weight of the animal before attempting a solo lift. Many hands make light work and 2 or 4 people may be more appropriate. When an animal is anaesthetised or heavily sedated consider use a stretcher. The focus is on keeping your back straight.

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