Veterinary work is considered high risk and involves working with a range of hazards including large animals, high workload and long hours. A key potential hazard is making home visits and providing out of hours emergency care where vets often work alone, without support, and must travel long distances. This current study aimed to examine UK veterinary perceptions of safety climate, lone working and on-call tasks to gain a deeper understanding of the risk and hazards involved using an online mixed-methods survey.
The quantitative results suggest that there may be practice safety climate issues around a lack of communication and discussion pertaining to safety, particularly in terms of maintaining personal safety. Key themes within the qualitative data included feeling pressure to treat patients, dealing with difficult clients, travel concerns and feeling unsafe when meeting clients alone and in remote locations.
These findings indicate that personal safety requires more attention and discussion within veterinary practices, and that safety protocols and requirements should be shared with clients.