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Health and safety
Protecting equine vets in practice
  1. Jill Butterworth
  1. The Village Veterinary Surgery, 8 Manor Parade, Hatfield Garden Village, Hertfordshire AL10 9JS
  1. e-mail: jillbutterworth{at}

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Congratulations to Laura Shaw for her heartfelt and informative article on whether vets should be compelled to routinely wear safety helmets as part of their personal protective equipment (PPE).1 It is frustrating to read the British Equine Veterinary Association’s (BEVA’s) mildly bizarre assertion that ‘PPE is your last line of defence not your first port of call’ in the advice written ‘by horse vets for horse vets’.2 As with many things in life, ‘the onlooker sees most of the game’ and while deaths are fortunately rare, and make the news, as Shaw points out, the consequences of traumatic brain injury (TBI), are hidden, far reaching and affect a few unlucky colleagues for many years, sometimes decades. This is very different to injury almost anywhere else in the body, where a reasonable return to function and to some form of veterinary work can be expected fairly quickly.

There is huge body of published work in psychology on the subject of risk perception. Gimenez (personal communication) asserts that human perception …

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