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Evaluation of factors associated with work-related injuries to veterinary technicians certified in Minnesota

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  • 1 Midwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety Education and Research Center and Regional Injury Prevention Research Center, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455.
  • | 2 Minnesota Department of Health, 625 Robert St N, Saint Paul, MN 55164.
  • | 3 Midwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety Education and Research Center and Regional Injury Prevention Research Center, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455.
  • | 4 Midwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety Education and Research Center and Regional Injury Prevention Research Center, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455.
  • | 5 Midwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety Education and Research Center and Regional Injury Prevention Research Center, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455.
  • | 6 Department of Veterinary Population Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108.
  • | 7 Midwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety Education and Research Center and Regional Injury Prevention Research Center, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the magnitude and consequences of work-related injuries and associated factors among veterinary technicians certified in Minnesota.

Design—Cross-sectional survey.

Sample—1,427 certified veterinary technicians (CVTs).

Procedures—Surveys were used to collect data on demographics, personal characteristics, injury occurrences in the 12 months prior to survey completion, and injury consequences. Annual injury rates were estimated on the basis of demographic and work-related characteristics. Risk of injury associated with various factors was estimated by calculation of incidence rate ratios, controlling for multiple factors.

Results—465 of 873 eligible CVTs reported 1,827 injury events (total and bite injury rates, 237 and 78 injuries/100 persons/y). Primary injury sources were cats and dogs, and most injuries occurred during animal restraint or treatment. Self-reported most severe injuries involved bites; cuts, lacerations, or scratches; bruises or contusions; and abrasions. Injury consequences included treatment and restricted work activity. Risk of work-related injury was lower for CVTs who worked < 40 h/wk than for those who worked ≥ 40 h/wk. The risk was higher for CVTs working in small animal or mixed mostly small animal facilities and lower for those working in mixed large and small animal facilities, commercial or industry operations, and government or regulatory facilities, compared with CVTs in colleges or universities. Handling 4 to > 6 (vs < 4) animal species during the 12 months prior to the survey and belief that injuries are not preventable were also associated with higher risk of injury.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Several factors associated with the risk of work-related injury among CVTs were identified. Beyond these risk factors, investigation of additional exposures is integral to relevant intervention strategies.

Contributor Notes

This manuscript represents a portion of a thesis submitted by Dr. Nordgren to the University of Minnesota Division of Environmental Health Sciences as partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Doctor of Philosophy degree.

Supported in part by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, CDC Department of Health and Human Services, through the Midwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety Education and Research Center (T42 OH008434) and the Regional Injury Prevention Research Center, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota.

Presented in abstract form at the 135th American Public Health Association Conference, Washington, DC, November 2007, and the 111th Annual Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association Conference, Minneapolis, February 2008.

The contents of this effort are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of the CDC or other associated entities.

Address correspondence to Dr. Gerberich (gerbe001@umn.edu).