Veterinary medicines

Using veterinary medicines, including sheep dips

Veterinary medicines and sheep dips may contain hazardous substances. If mishandled, they can make you ill, harm the sheep or pollute the environment.

The use of these products will be subject to COSHH Regulations.

When you need to administer veterinary medicines to livestock, you will need effective control measures to reduce the risks to human health, for example:

  • Select a less hazardous veterinary product, eg a water-based vaccine instead of an oil-based one.
  • Use a safer application system, eg a pour-on or injectable product may be safer for the operator rather than plunge dipping for sheep.
  • Provide effective engineering controls, eg properly designed dipping facilities with splash screens around the dip bath.
  • Provide facilities to ensure animals are properly restrained.
  • Ensure operators are properly trained and competent to safely use the product. Work with veterinary medicines should only be done by competent persons who have received adequate instruction, information and training. It is an offence to use sheep dip unless this is done by, or under the supervision and in the presence of, a person who holds a nationally recognised Certificate of Competence.
  • Dispose of any surplus concentrate or dilute product safely.
  • Store securely all medicines and application equipment such as syringes and needles, where children cannot get at them.
  • Always follow the label or package instructions carefully, especially those relating to personal protective equipment.
  • Wash off splashes from the skin and clothing immediately, and wash before eating, drinking or smoking.
  • Report all suspected cases of poisoning or other adverse reactions, so they can be thoroughly investigated.

If you need to report a suspected adverse reaction to veterinary medicines in animals or humans, you should contact the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) on 01932 338427. VMD is agency of the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

In addition to the issues which relate to the use of these products you should also ensure that appropriate records are maintained, that disposal arrangements for containers and used products comply with the Environment Agency or Scottish Environment Agency requirements and that the transport and storage of the products follows the appropriate guidelines.

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