7 Ways to stay safe and secure

In the veterinary world we often meet people who are feeling every emotional and can react in ways that we might not expect. How can we keep ourselves safe?

While there’s a lot of emphasis on health and safety with respect to animals and medicines in veterinary practice, there’s often less emphasis on personal safety and the threat from other people. We looked at some of the resources available to individuals and practices.

  1. Have a lone worker policy. Thinking through the scenarios and planning ways to avoid problems occurring is a great idea.
  2. Buddy up! Alone at the practice? Someone should know and be able to check up on you. Consider setting up a buddy system so that regular checks can be made.
  3. Assess the situation on the door step first before entry. Always have an exit strategy and in new territory make a note of how doors open and close.
  4. Ring the changes! Consider issuing personal alarms for use in consulting rooms or when locking up at night. Some newer buildings have panic alarms and this may be a modification worth paying for in older buildings.
  5. Record and report all aggression or violence – even the near misses. You would always do so for an accident so why not in these situations when the consequences could be every bit as serious?
  6. Trust your instincts and act quickly to remove yourself from a threatening situation.
  7. Get expert help. The Suzi Lamplugh Trust offers lone working and personal safety training to help identify the risks and put tools in place that reduce the risks (https://www.suzylamplugh.org/Pages/Category/lone-worker-training). The organisation also has tips on personal safety and stalking, including a national helpline.