It is interesting to ask farmers about health and safety, because many first consider the livestock’s health and welfare, then the well-being of the workers, and only then do they consider their own health and safety. Clearly, it is a complex matter, and that is why the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board in the UK created a useful manual around health and safety for pig keepers and workers.
Though it is a “must read” for those who operate and manage pig farms, it is also an ideal tool when creating individual policies for the farm and when conducting a risk assessment to identify areas where improvement and/or update is required.
As the report notes, there are many issues that “exist within pig farms and these can pose a risk if not dealt with correctly”. Among the most worrisome and common issues are:
- Safety issues around transport
- Issues with the use of machinery and equipment
- Fall prevention
- Safety of children and the public
- General health issues in agriculture (i.e. dust, noise and manual handling of livestock, gear and so on)
- The risks from exposure to chemicals, pesticides and veterinary compounds
- The need for PPE or personal protective equipment
There are also the health and safety issues (and risks) associated with the handling of the pigs. As the report warns, the “most common accidents to people occur when handling pigs. Wounds to the legs and crush injuries, for example, caused by poor handling techniques”. Yet almost all of them can be avoided with proper training, proper pig housing design and layout, and thorough understanding of common pig behaviours (including behaviours of sows, boars and piglets).
Risks from electrical lines and fences, and problems with interior electronics and other systems are also addressed. Many of the health and safety issues relate to out of date or poorly designed pig housing. If your risk assessment proves it is time to upgrade your pig housing, contact IDS for a quote on bespoke, turnkey options.