Managing health and safety in zoos

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This guidance is currently being reviewed and revised by BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums) with HSE support. Once this process is complete, this HSE guidance will be withdrawn and replaced by new BIAZA guidance.

This guidance contains practical advice for those responsible for the operation of zoos, such as zoo operators, safety representatives and managers.

It applies to establishments of any size where wild animals are kept for exhibition to the public including aquariums, sanctuaries, bird gardens and safari parks.

Specific hazards and risks associated with zoos are covered, as well as common issues such as slips and trips, manual handling and vehicle movements.

The guidance contains recommendations on how to ensure effective arrangements for the safety, health and welfare of employees and others who might be affected by zoo work activities (eg volunteers, veterinary surgeons, contractors, the general public etc).

Previously published as Web15, this guidance has been revised to take into account changes to the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations. References have also been updated.

Paragraph 100 of this guidance under the heading 'Public contact with animals' contains the sentence "Anti-bacterial dry gels/sprays may also prove effective where it is not possible to provide proper hand washing facilities". Readers should be aware of current HSE guidance that provision of cleansing wipes or anti-bacterial gels is not an acceptable substitute for proper hand washing facilities comprising hot and cold running water and soap. This will be reflected in the next revision of the guidance.

Updated: 2021-03-04