Plan for calving - include talking to workers about risks
Farmers preparing for calving should also be thinking about effective ways to keep workers safe and well, said WorkSafe’s Agriculture Sector Lead Al McCone.
“Calving is a challenging time in terms of health and safety and there’s a lot to think about from setting up calving sheds and putting together calving kits, to managing hygiene and planning staff rosters.
“On the safety side, slips, trips, falls and kick injuries are high safety risk factors during calving. Cattle should only be handled by suitably experienced people who know the hazards and how to avoid them.
“Planning by identifying the risks and working out how to manage them will ensure the farm keeps operating efficiently. Have a team meeting before calving starts and develop a plan together to handle the risks and to ensure people also eat well, keep hydrated and have sufficient breaks.” Mr McCone said.
Mr McCone said fatigue is a risk in busy periods.
“Workers need to ensure they get good rest and maintain a worklife balance. While fatigue can cause or worsen physical and mental health problems, it can also affect work performance and lead to accidents.”
To reduce on-farm fatigue, review work rosters and hours, and encourage workers to get adequate rest and exercise, and maintain a healthy diet to sustain them when busy.
“Hygiene must be a major focus too. A bucket of water, soap and towel in the shed doesn’t cut it. Workers need a clean place to wash hands and faces. That should include running water, liquid soap and a hygienic way to dry their hands, such as paper towels.”