A REVIEW ON OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH ANIMAL WORKERS
Background: Issues pertaining to hazard identification and Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) risk management in industrial settings have often been explored and reported in literature. Personnel who work in close proximity with animals especially non-domestic animals are exposed to specific occupational safety and health risks uncommon to existing industries. To minimize these associated risks, there is a need to identify the risk factors which are common within this occupational setting. Currently, there is a lack of published literature which focuses on these workers. This paper aims to provide a traditional literature review on OSH risks associated with animal workers. The outcome of this paper will help in providing summarised information crucial in determining the control methods required to improve OSH performance. Improved OSH performance will ensure the safety and health of workers within this group is protected.
Materials and Methods: This review uses the methods of literature search as the main methodology. Existing literatures in English languages from year 1998 to 2018 were identified. The database search was inclusive of Scopus, Science Direct, Google Scholar and PubMed. In total, 33 articles were found from which only four studies which met the inclusion criteria were selected for this review.
Result: Of the four studies, one study was from Australia, one from India, one from the United States of America (USA) and the other from Tanzania. Overall, this review found that animal workers which consist of veterinarians, animal health workers, livestock keepers and animal handlers in zoo are exposed to risk not limited to zoonoses, but also to injuries arising from working closely with animals. Zoonotic diseases reported include rabies, tuberculosis and anthrax while injuries consist of superficial scratch to animal bites. Control methods reported include training on protection of zoonosis and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent animal-related disease. No other types of control methods were reported.
Conclusion: Evidence found from this review indicated that animal workers are exposed to OSH risks not limited to biological hazards only while handling or working closely with animals. The use of control methods such as administrative control which includes training and the use of PPE were reported to mitigate the risk of hazards especially those related to zoonosis only but not those related to preventing injury. Therefore, there is the need to implement more comprehensive OSH risk management to reduce risk to various hazards among workers who works in close proximity of animals such as in zoological setting. Training on risk exposures will help protect the workers from any safety and health risks is essential to be implemented in zoo programs to assess, evaluate thus reducing unnecessary OSH risks for animal workers.Keywords: occupational health and safety, zoo, veterinary workers, workplace-related illness and injury