British veterinary group VetPartners has launched a campaign to encourage equine vets, nurses and all horse handlers to wear safety helmets when working with horses.
It has provided all of its UK equine practices with hard hats for team members to wear when conducting certain procedures with equine patients.
The company is promoting its Hat Hair – Don’t Care safety campaign this week, and is highlighting the importance of wearing helmets to team members who handle horses and will also be providing training in hat safety.
Hat manufacturer Charles Owen has provided vet practices with hats and silks branded with individual practice logos.
Anyone handling a horse at a VetPartners equine or mixed practice is encouraged to wear head protection, and vets are also urged to consider wearing head protection while working with stallions, undertaking hind limb nerve blocks and injecting horses of known or declared poor temperament.
The campaign is being overseen by VetPartners Equine executive member Carrie Goodbourn. She said in other professions and disciplines within the equine industry, the wearing of hard hats has long been accepted as the norm and a mandatory safety requirement.
“In taking those steps, we are aligning ourselves with leading, respected organisations like the British Horse Society, which have been active in advocating the wearing of hard hats for many years.
“Head injuries are sadly a high risk for vets and nurses in practices and they occur in all sorts of circumstances,” she said.
“People can be seriously hurt, and in some cases, suffer life-threatening injuries, so the health and safety of our colleagues has to be top of our agenda.
VetPartners has 160 small animal, equine, mixed and production animal veterinary practices, with 6000 employees working in about 500 sites.
Its equine section is home to some of the UK’s best-known practices, including Rainbow Equine Hospital in North Yorkshire, Liphook Equine Hospital in Hampshire, Three Counties Equine Hospital in Gloucestershire and Ashbrook Equine Hospital in Cheshire.