Working with livestock on farms
Working with livestock is dangerous and even the most experienced farmers can be injured. The right approach can help you and your farm workers keep safe.
Eight tips for working with livestock
- Only use a yard designed for the stock you’re moving.
- Avoid working alone or if you do work alone, tell your colleagues where you are, when you’ll be back and have a mobile or two way radio with you.
- Inspect the pen for risks and check latches and locks are in working order.
- Ensure you have clear escape routes.
- Don’t overfill the yard – keep it at about 2/3 capacity so you have room to move.
- Keep the animals as calm as possible.
- Train all the workers who use the yards.
- Ensure facilities are in good condition so livestock transport workers can efficiently load and unload from your farm.
Learn more about livestock handling in the below videos
Boyd Holden, an expert livestock handler, who has travelled the world sharing his advice with farmers demonstrates the best way to treat cattle and minimise risk in the video on the right.
Expert livestock handler, Boyd Holden demonstrates how to best move sheep between paddocks and their behaviour. This sheep handling video on the left was made by the NSW Department of Education and Communities.
In the video to the right, Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University, Dr Temple Grandin, talks about the link between farm facility design; and animal behaviour. She also explains the construction mistakes that other farmers have made.
When there's an injury
Unfortunately, the longer an injured farm worker stays home from work, the less likely it is that they will return, so it’s essential to get them back to work as possible.
The SIRA website has detailed information on what is required in a return to work program and how to set one up.
Daniel, a farm hand from the Widden Valley recounts the time a bull turned on him which resulted in a serious knee injury. He offers tips to preventing livestock related farm injuries and the support his employer gave him when he was recovering.
- The NSW Department of Primary Industries has information on working safely with livestock
- The SafeWork NSW Working with livestock fact sheet provides details common hazards and solutions in the sheep and beef cattle industry
- Victoria's Better Health Channel gives tips on handling animals
- For further information on returning to work after an injury see SIRA's website.
- for farmers: National Farmers Federation (NFF)
- for commercial fish operations owners: Commonwealth Fisheries Association (CFA)
- for forest products growers and support: Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA)
- for agriculture and fisheries workers: Australian Workers’ Union (AWU)
- for forestry workers: The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU).