10 things you should never do when handling cattle

Handling Cattle SafelyWell designed and maintained cattle handling facilities are essential for the safe handling of cattle and prevention of injury to handlers, the HSA advises.

According to the HSA, many accidents involving cattle could be eliminated with better handling facilities.

As it is farm safety fortnight, the HSA has compiled a list of things you should never do when you’re handling cattle:

  1. Never put an inexperienced handler, elderly person or a child at risk with cattle.
  2. Never handle cattle or get others to handle them if there is a lack of competence and confidence to do the work safely.
  3. Never turn your back on a bull or trust a bull, no matter how docile he may appear.
  4. Never stress/arouse cattle unnecessarily.
  5. Never turn your back on a cow at calving.
  6. Never keep dangerous cattle.
  7. Never suddenly enter the animal’s ‘blind spot’.
  8. Never rush into the animal’s ‘flight zone’.
  9. Never beat or shout at cattle unnecessarily – they remember bad experiences.
  10. Never move cattle on a public road at night.

Furthermore, a lot of accidents on farms result from simple trips, slips and falls, therefore the HSA says that it is essential that handling areas should be kept clean and tidy.

Fences and gates on the farm must be adequate to hold cattle on the farm. According to the HSA, in particular, all road boundaries must be stock proof and internal fences able to ensure that unplanned mixing does not occur.

Dairy cattle in the parlour

There is always close contact in the milking parlour between the milkers and the cows, so the design of the parlour must ensure that cows can be milked safely and rapidly. The HSA advises that it is most important that cows have adequate room in the milking parlour and that the kick rail is at the correct height to prevent the milker getting a kick. All parlours must be well-earthed and the HSA says that if necessary, checks made to measure any stray electrical current in the pipe work or coming through the milking machines.

Suckler and finisher housing

Meanwhile, when it comes to sucklers and finishers, they are less likely to cause problems as they have less contact with the farmer. According to the HSA, this is especially the case on many part-time farms where the only real human contact may occur at the weekend.

However, the quality of the housing facility should be no less important on small ‘part-time’ farms than on bigger, full-time operations.