Industrial Engineer Engineering and Management Solutions at Work

March 2011    |    Volume: 43    |    Number: 3

The member magazine of the Institute of Industrial and Engineers

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Keeping Fido's helpers healthy

Ergonomics in small animal veterinary operations

By Meghan Rogers, Shruti Gangakhedkar and David Kaber

The daily work of veterinarians places them at risk for various types of occupational injury and disease. A recent study in the Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances found that veterinarians are at high risk for abrasions, lacerations, radiation exposure and infectious diseases. On top of this, vets may develop musculoskeletal disorders, with the prevalence of MSDs varying based on the type of practice and workplace hazards present. According to one study published in Applied Ergonomics in 2009, during a 12-month observation period, some New Zealand veterinarians suffered a 96 percent incidence rate for all types of veterinarian practices. Unfortunately, such disorders can lead to substantial costs for practices in terms of sick leave and workers’ compensation claims. Veterinarian injuries also reduce the availability of care for patients.

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