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General Veterinary Workplace Safety & Hazards

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  • 0:02 General Workplace…
  • 1:26 Physical Hazards and Safety
  • 3:10 Electricity, Heat,…
  • 4:58 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson will go over general workplace safety tips and hazards found in the veterinary clinic pertaining to physical injuries, electricity, and your eyes.

General Workplace Safety and Hazards

I bet you there are very few jobs that don't have some sort of hazardous working conditions. Well, maybe if you've got an office desk job, but even then, a paper cut has the very small potential to be deadly. Very small, but it's there.

Anyways, if you're watching this, it's likely because you want to work in veterinary medicine. In this field, man, you'll have yourself a ball of a good time with the hazards lurking left and right - from horses breaking your jaw after they kick you to radiation exposure to dangerous gases. There's tons to cover. Other lessons will get into details regarding chemicals, hazards of working with animals, and radiation exposure in a veterinary setting, but here we'll focus on some common workplace safety rules as well physical and electrical hazards.

In general, every place you go to work will need to offer you training specific to the dangers in that hospital or clinic. Make sure to discuss all evacuation procedures, safety equipment, and emergency contacts prior to starting work.

The AVMA PLIT, the American Veterinary Medical Association's Professional Liability Insurance and Trust, publishes a safety manual for veterinary hospitals, and you should review it, not only for your own safety but also because if you don't follow the proper safety procedures, you can be fired.

Physical Hazards and Safety

Regardless of what hospital or clinic you're going to end up in, you'll have to face physical dangers. Not in the sense that a ceiling support beam is going to fall on you. Well, at least I hope not. I mean, even if you're hired for a desk job, it's not uncommon to see a requirement to be able to lift something like 40 lbs in the job description. That means potential backaches if you don't lift those 40 lbs properly.

This means when lifting patients, equipment, and everything in between, use proper technique. Don't bend over to lift an object. Instead, use your legs, keep your back straight, and always ask for help if something is too heavy for you.

When lifting things to a storage shelf, make sure the heaviest stuff is on the lowest shelves, as this prevents undue strain on your body. Don't overload shelves with too much stuff, it can fall on you and hurt you. When storing chemicals, store them below the level of your head so that if something falls, it avoids your face.

And, the obvious, do not climb on any furniture! Always use a ladder or step stool or else you might fall. Speaking of that, physical injury can also occur from slips and falls, be it from a wet floor or what we just discussed. To reduce the chances of injury from this, wear slip-proof shoes and use non-slip mats wherever necessary, and never run inside a hospital.

Other ways by which physical injury can occur is by way of machinery or moving parts. In some cases, you can lose fingers and toes to these, so pay close attention to your surroundings, do not wear jewelry, do not wear open-toed shoes, and avoid loose-fitting clothing at all costs. If you have long hair, make sure to tie it back so it doesn't get caught in moving parts, like fans.

Electricity, Heat, Food, & Eyes

Food in the veterinary clinic should be eaten in designated areas only! Food you eat should never be placed in medical refrigerators, and it should never be eaten in medical areas. Keep all employee utensils, coffee pots, and the like in a separate area as well. Not only that but there should also be no toxins, chemicals, and other dangerous substances in the kitchen/dining area.

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