Occupational hazards reported by swine veterinarians in the United States

Amy L. Hafer, MEM; Ricky L. Langley, MD, MPH; WE Morgan Morrow, PhD; Jerry J. Tulis, PhD

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Objective-To evaluate and document the health and safety hazards specifically associated with the swine confinement facilities to which the swine veterinarian is routinely exposed, and to heighten the awareness of swine veterinarians to everyday work hazards and so reduce the risk of harm.

Design and procedure-We mailed a seven-page questionnaire to the 1435 members of the American Association of Swine Practitioners (AASP) and achieved a response rate of 65%.

Results-Ninety-three percent of respondents reported symptoms related to dust and gases in swine confinement buildings. The five highest reported physical injuries were: 1) needlestick injuries (73%), 2) pain from repetitious motions (51%), 3) injuries from handling swine postmortem (36%), 4) back problems associated with lifting or moving swine (31%), and 5) hot or cold weather-related problems (30%). Twenty-eight percent of swine practitioners had been involved in a vehicular accident while working. Twenty-two percent have a diagnosed hearing impairment. Zoonotic infections occurred in 13% of respondents. In all, we assessed a total of 20 different types of health problems related to swine veterinary work.

Implications-Practitioners should take the appropriate measures for their practice type and alert others (e.g., farm workers) with similar potential exposures to the hazards associated with swine confinement work.

Keywords: safety, veterinarian

RIS citationCite as: Hafer AL, Langley RL, Morrow WEM, et al. Occupational hazards reported by swine veterinarians in the United States. J Swine Health Prod 1996;4(3):128-141.

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