The Impact of COVID-19 on Staff Working Practices in UK Horseracing

Animals (Basel). 2020 Oct 30;10(11):2003. doi: 10.3390/ani10112003.


Due to COVID-19, horseracing was required to cease all activity in March 2020; however, little is known about the pandemic's impact on staff working practices. This study investigated the impact of COVID-19 on staff working practices during the initial lockdown phases. An online survey about working conditions during lockdown was answered by 287 participants. Chi-squared tests for independence and binary logistic regression (BLR) analysis was undertaken. A total of 53.7% (n = 154) of staff were working during lockdown. Pandemic-specific workplace changes were reported as effective by 87.8% (n = 115) of staff. Flat grooms reported workplace changes as less effective (χ2 (52, n = 131) = 92.996, p < 0.001). A total of 67.2% (n = 193) of staff were positive about job security. Trainers and grooms were significantly less likely to report jobs as secure (χ2 (52, n = 287) = 75.653, p < 0.05). The findings suggest that most of the racing industry positively received changes made by their employers to tackle the pandemic, and for staff still working during lockdown, their health and safety was prioritised. Continued development of employee support structures to promote job security and workforce stability is advised, which will minimise the disruption of staff changes on the care and welfare of the horses.

Keywords: employment; horseracing; job security; pandemic; social distancing.