The Wales On-Farm Health and Safety Partnership is keen to raise awareness of the risks associated with handling cattle.
Handling livestock is a dangerous activity. Accidents involving livestock account for a large proportion of farm fatalities. The number of injuries incurred while handling livestock has amounted to almost 1,000 over the last 10 years inappropriate handling facilities are often to blame.
Handling cattle always involves a risk of injury from crushing, kicking, butting or goring. The risk is increased if the work involves animals that have not been handled frequently, such as those from hills or moorland, sucklers or newly calved cattle. However, proper handling systems, trained and competent staff, and a rigorous culling policy can help make sure cattle handling can be carried out in relative safety. You should never underestimate the risk from cattle, even with good precautions in place.
When handling cattle, there are three key elements to consider:
The farmer or worker - always take into account their physical abilities, and their training or experience for this type of task
The equipment - this might include for example, races, crushes, loading facilities and bull-handling equipment
The animal - its health and its familiarity with being handled should be considered.
To reduce the risk of accidents, anyone handling cattle on your farm should be:
able to use the handling and other safety equipment provided;
aware of the dangers when handling cattle and be supervised until they are competent;
able to work calmly and patiently with the cattle, using a minimum of force;
in good health and properly trained in safe working methods.
If you feel that health and safety training would help reduce the risks within your business, this is available from training groups, colleges and individual training providers. Farming Connect can provide a list of approved training providers, and registered farmers can claim back 80% of the cost. More information on Farming Connect can be found at www.farmingconnect.co.uk or phone 08456 000813.
For more information on this subject, visit the Health & Safety Executive website www.hse.gov.uk/agriculture