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AVT session 3: Occupational Health & Safety


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This third presentation of a series of 6 AVT presentations on Occupational Health & Safety risks related to outbreaks of Avian Influenza.

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AVT session 3: Occupational Health & Safety

  1. 1. Session 3 Occupational Health & Safety Harm Kiezebrink Research Fellow Faculty of Veterinary Science Queensland University
  2. 2. AI in Holland 2003  4,500 people were in contact with diseased birds  2,250 persons (50%) carried antibodies  453 people showed symptoms  89 people were diseased with H7N7 (3 were not in direct contact with diseased birds)  Approx. 4,050 family members, relatives and friends carried antibodies  1 veterinarian died 2 © 2014 Applied Veterinary Technologies Europe AB
  3. 3. Lessons learnt  Improperly cleaned & disinfected large-scale culling equipment become big risks for re- introduction of infections  Clean and disinfect responders first before they exit an infected area  Team up responders when they put on – and take off their Personal Protection Equipment (supervising each other)  Train people to use PPE well in advance © 2014 Applied Veterinary Technologies Europe AB 3
  4. 4. Lessons learnt  Lead by example  Stopping the outbreak depends on the skills of the responders  Reduce staff entering an infected area to the absolute minimum  Create an outbreak response plan for each farm  Contract well-skilled and trained professionals instead of hiring responders on the spot – including calling the army 4 © 2014 Applied Veterinary Technologies Europe AB
  5. 5. Lessons learnt  Clear management structure  Overall responsibility at the Veterinary authority – not the veterinary field officer  Follow up strict safety protocols & Standard Operating Procedures  Health & Safety officer supervising the response operation  Clear - enforceable - instructions instead of on-the-job training 5 © 2014 Applied Veterinary Technologies Europe AB
  6. 6. 6 Lessons learnt Authorize Health & Safety Officers  Entrance management  Maintaining Personal Protection Protocol under all circumstances  Traumatic stress management © 2014 Applied Veterinary Technologies Europe AB
  7. 7. lessons learnt - Traumatic stress -  Public opinion protested fiercely against mass culling of poultry, causing tremendous pressure on veterinarians, responders and offcials  > 10 serious car accidents occurred at the end of shifts, caused by fatigue and careless driving, injuring and killing veterinarians and responders  Number of suicides among farmers increased with 600% during the time of outbreaks  Non-state veterinarians went on strike during the outbreak, refusing to kill birds by suffocation, arguing that it is unethical and inhumane 7 © 2014 Applied Veterinary Technologies Europe AB
  8. 8. Unexpected events and emotionally intense circumstances  A traumatic event is a shocking and emotionally overwhelming situation in which an individual perceives actual or threatened death or serious injury  Workers responding to an HPAI outbreak may experience traumatic stress  Reactions to traumatic events will vary, ranging from relatively mild to severe  It is very common for people to experience anxiety, terror, shock, feel upset, or feel emotional numbness and personal or social disconnection 8 © 2014 Applied Veterinary Technologies Europe AB
  9. 9. Symptoms and negative effects  Physical illness (headaches, fatigue)  Unable to function normally on the job  Depression  Anxiety  Making efforts to avoid reminders of a traumatic event  Marital and family conflict  Hostility and aggression  Death through suicide as a reaction to overwhelming 9 © 2014 Applied Veterinary Technologies Europe AB
  10. 10. Coping with Traumatic Stress Useful techniques to reduce stress when participating in a response:  Take a break from the news  Pace yourself and take frequent rest breaks  Pay attention to each other’s state of mind  Be conscious of those around you; responders who are exhausted, feeling stressed, or even temporarily distracted may place themselves and others at risk  Maintain your daily schedule as normally as possible  Drink plenty of fluids such as water and juices 10 © 2014 Applied Veterinary Technologies Europe AB
  11. 11. Summary  Limit the number of responders and their span of control  Appoint health & safety officers to oversee the decision making process and the reactions of responders  Don’t allow responders into the infected area when they are stressed or have underlying medical problems  Create simple and clear –enforceable – instructions  Upkeep personal protection intact under all circumstances © 2014 Applied Veterinary Technologies Europe AB 11
  12. 12. Question and Answer Reflection: What’s on your mind?  12 12 © AVT Applied Veterinary Technologies Europe AB Address details: c/o INTRED, Södra Hamnen 2, 45142 Uddevalla, Sweden 556792-1944 - Phone: +44 7452 272 358- E-mail: