How to Promote Lifting Safety at Your Veterinary Practice

It is often said that, “safety doesn’t happen by accident.” How many times have you been a part of or witnessed a workplace accident? Probably more than you’d care to admit. Even with the shifting landscape, our veterinary hospitals will never be without people, and where there’s people, there will always be accidents.

Our patients come in all shapes, sizes and weights. With the pace of a veterinary hospital often being non-stop, poor decisions can result in injury when rushed. Picture yourself deciding to lift a 60lb Doberman Pinscher alone onto the dental cleaning table if colleagues are not available. Whether it be a hefty patient, machinery or boxed supplies the activity most associated with musculoskeletal risk in veterinary professionals is lifting. It is crucial for your practice to have and follow clear guidelines as to what size patient requires multiple persons. 

When lifting either a heavy patient, box of supplies or other weighty object, make sure you have safe, even footing, and take a wide stance to keep your arms as close to your body as possible. Engage your legs, and avoid lifting with your back. Be sure to minimize the distance to which you need to carry the load, and if the work surface is adjustable, lower it before lifting. Remember to use the tools and resources that are available to you through your employer, such as stretchers for sedated, unresponsive, or lame patients, rolling tables with straps, and especially your fellow colleagues.

Above all else, don't be afraid to ask for help! Working together to promote workplace safety pays off for everyone on the team.