Background: The horseracing training industry has largely been ignored in terms of active occupational health research.
Aims: To provide baseline statistics on the specific nature and type of accidents that occurred in English horseracing stables during 2008.
Methods: All 716 training yards/stables registered with the British Horseracing Authority were contacted in April/May 2009 to complete the Racing Injury Accident Statistical Survey. The survey asked respondents to detail all recorded accidents and injuries during 2008.
Results: Two hundred and fifty-six yards (36%) provided usable responses. The proportion of different-sized yards was highly comparable with the sizes of yards in the national population. Employees per yard ranged from 1 to 121 (mean = 9 ± 14), with a total of 2293 employees (30% of the total 7558 UK yard staff). At the point of survey, participating yards housed between 0 and 243 horses (mean = 6 ± 32), with 6420 horses covered in this survey. One hundred and thirty yards (51%) reported no accidents. Of the remaining 126 yards, 665 accidents were reported, ranging from 1 to 58 accidents per establishment, equalling 5 accidents per yard (± 7) or 3 accidents per yard for the entire sample. There was a mean of 53 horse-related accidents per month, and 96% were horse-related. Medical treatment was required for 50% of accidents.
Conclusions: This representative sample covers the broad range of hazards, accidents and injuries in this difficult-to-access but unique industry. Recommendations for the management of accidents are made.