Panorama da saúde ocupacional existente no setor da veterinária em Portugal (2017/8)

Translated title of the contribution: Overview of veterinary sector occupational health at Portugal (2017/8)

M. Santos, C. Lopes, T. Oliveira, A. Almeida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



Introduction / framework / objectives Veterinarians and their collaborators (Veterinarian Nurses and Auxiliaries) are subject to numerous occupational hazards. The objective of this study is to characterize their perception regarding the existence of occupational risk and risk factors, their use of personal protective equipment, susceptibility to occupational accidents and diseases, exposure to work stress and the use of occupational health team. Methodology This is a descriptive, cross-sectional study, carried out after the application of an online survey, using a sampling technique for convenience, with the collaboration of associations, veterinary clinics, as well as some companies of occupational health. Data collection took place between June 2017 and March 2018 and the final value of the sample represents the number of veterinarians, veterinary nurses and auxiliaries working in veterinary clinics / hospitals who have volunteered to respond anonymously and voluntarily to the survey. Results Ninety-one individuals responded and 90 surveys were validated (one was eliminated because of incoherence of responses). The sample consisted mainly of female workers (87.8%), under the age of 30 (53.3%), with little professional experience (53.3% worked for less than 5 years) and predominant profession in veterinary medicine (80.0%). Risk factors include contact with immunoallergenic products, stress, handling of chemicals and biological risk in contact with animals. The use of uniforms and a mask is particularly important for personal protective equipment. The existence of a personal history of occupational accidents is very frequent (93.3%), and animal injuries such as nibbling, scratching or abrasions are very prevalent, followed by bites or cuts with potentially contaminated sharp objects. However, there were few cases where there were functional limitations. At the level of occupational diseases, the musculoskeletal lesions (26.7%) stand out, although only one case has been declared as a suspected occupational disease. Stress emerged as a very frequent phenomenon, affecting almost all workers (96.7%), especially the difficulty in reconciling professional and personal lives (81.1%), wage dissatisfaction (76.7%) and the high workload (73.3%). Finally, it is observed that the majority (63.2%) have a work medicine consultation at least every two years, but only 28.9% perceive the work performed by the Technician of Hygiene and Safety and only 26.7% report having workshops related to their occupational hazards. Conclusion A small sample of 90 individuals divided into three professional classes with distinctive characteristics and questions that failed to cover all the possible answers may have biased the results of the statistical treatment; because if in some situations relationships were found between variables consistent with the occupational bibliography for most of the professions and in line with the authors’ clinical experience, in other cases the opposite occurred. Among the several statistical relationships highlighted, the associations between female sex, stress and the general existence of symptoms associated with work, as well as the associations between exercising as a veterinarian, feeling occupational stress due to conflict with clients and being exposed to cut / chop accidents with potentially contaminated objects. This study served as a starting point for a first summary characterization of this sector, and a larger study with broader and better structured questions is obviously desirable.
Translated title of the contributionOverview of veterinary sector occupational health at Portugal (2017/8)
Original languagePortuguese
Number of pages22
JournalRevista Portuguesa de Saúde Ocupacional
Issue numberS
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2018


  • Occupational health
  • Worker health
  • Occupational medicine
  • Veterinary medicine
  • Veterinary doctor
  • Veterinary nurse
  • Veterinary assistant


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