A vet, Jill Butterworth, has started a campaign to raise awareness and to encourage equine vets and others who handle horses and other large beasts to wear a safety helmet, after a friend’s daughter, Bun was almost killed by a kick to the head when turning out a horse.
A British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) study in 2014 showed that being a vet is the most dangerous civilian occupation, and it seems logical that vets and handlers should wear a hard hat to examine equine patients. Handling accidents are known to be just as likely to be fatal as riding accidents. People need to change their mindset and reach for their hat. Horses, even quiet ones, can sometimes be unpredictable.
Attitudes can be changed, hardly anyone rides a horse, bike or even skis without a helmet nowadays, and vets have a responsibility towards themselves and their staff.
At the very least, people should not make others feel foolish if they chose to wear a hard hat.
If you want to find out more, contact Jill.
Hi Pete. My daughter is about to qualify as a vet this summer and is planning to work with horses if possible. She is Vice-President of the Bristol Equine Veterinary Society and they recently ran a symposium at the Langford campus. We, her parents, run a health and safety consultancy and felt the same way as Liz about safety when working with horses – or any large animal. We therefore produced a handout on the subject, to be made available at the symposium.
My daughter says the older vets she has worked with are blasé about wearing helmets and the younger ones learning from them feel embarrassed about doing so. Anything that can be done to promote the wearing of helmets as “best practise” has got to be a good thing! Well done Liz!