Veterinary Safety Manual
AVMA PLIT, HUB International Midwest, LTD


VSPN Review by Philip J. Seibert, Jr., CVTStar
(Click on stars for an explanation)

Hospital safety has always been important in the veterinary profession, but as we become aware of new hazards or understand better the risks associated with procedures we’ve always done, the practice or safety manager’s job becomes more complicated. Understanding all the risks is the basis for making sound management decisions in all aspects of the business.

The Veterinary Safety Manual is organized into 5 sections: Introduction, Safety Program Structure, Human Resources Interfaces, Safety Related to Primary Services, and a Glossary of Safety Terms. The organization seems to work well although I expected the Safety Program Structure section to have more content. For instance, some consideration could be given to the numerous types of practices in the profession and how the suggested duties could be modified to fit an equine practice or a multiple owner scenario.

This manual is a good asset to the practice because it does give specific “how to” procedural advice on many of the hazardous tasks in a veterinary hospital. For instance, the section on animal restraint includes not only a sample restraint policy that can be adopted by the practice, but also a very detailed set if instructions so that a staff member can determine the correct type and necessary amount of restraint necessary for the procedure. The book’s sample written plans for managing the various risks in the practice are, for the most part, practical and useful. As would be expected, the practice’s safety officer needs to customize them to suit the variances of each individual practices, but they provide a very good structure for establishing a safety plan.

There wasn’t much I didn’t like about the manual. It did include a whole section on Blood-borne Pathogens Standard (BPS), normally more of a human medical concern, which led me to believe the writers were very interested in seeing veterinary practices adopt such procedures. There is a note at the beginning of the section which told the reader it only applied to employees with expected contact with human blood or human OPIM (other potentially infectious materials) but didn’t go into enough discussion about defining those expected exposure situations. Some readers may come away with the impression that all veterinary practice housekeepers would be covered by the BPS simply because they are housekeepers. I would like to see the explanation and discussion in this chapter expanded in the next revision. For consideration in the next revision of this manual, it would be to include more discussion on the “why you need to do this” perspective of the issues. The manual does a good job at giving examples of what to do and what not to do, but it could be more educational on the underlying rationale to that advice.

The manual comes in a printed form and on a CD and both versions are identical. The CD is useful because it contains the entire manual in a MS Word format, so it can be opened, edited, saved and printed to suit the needs of the practice. The only negative thing I found about the CD version was an apparent naming mistake for the file. Because the file name is AVMA_PLIT Safety Manual Final 6-22-09.2doc is didn’t open properly when I just double clicked on the filename in the explorer window. Opening MS Word first, then using the FILE >OPEN command worked perfectly.

I really like this manual for what it is: a tool to help the safety manager understand what should be done and what shouldn’t be done in the practice. The authors were very careful to point out that this is NOT an OSHA compliance manual. Although many of OSHA’s rules that apply to the veterinary hospital do have their roots in the risks discussed in this book, the book does not go into the details of each and every OSHA requirement. That’s not to say that it ignores OSHA rules; it does a good job of incorporating references to applicable standards in the discussions. Furthermore, the book included topics that are not necessarily OSHA issues but nonetheless are important risk management issues, such as dispensing controlled drugs. This manual while not necessary for the technician student has much potential for use by both the veterinary technician in the field and veterinarians.

Publisher: HUB International Midwest Limited (2009)

204 pages, 3 ring Binder or CD-ROM with MS Word Document

ISBN: None

Table of Contents
Book Reviews
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Alternative Medicine
Animal Welfare
Client Education
Cytology / Hematology / Histology
Emergency Med
Food Animals/Livestock
Handling & Restraint
Human-Animal Bond
Imaging & Radiology
Infectious Diseases
Internal Medicine
Laboratory Medicine
Practice Management
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Date Published: January 7, 2011

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