Shearing contractors, farm owners and managers are responsible for their own safety – but they are also responsible for the safety of their shearing team, as well as for the wellbeing of visitors to the facility. According to Better Health Victoria, handling sheep can cause various manual injuries such as strains, sprains, degenerative muscle and joint damage as well as broken bones. Badly designed shearing yards and sheds also pose risks to handlers and animals, alike.
For a safe shearing environment in your farm or facility, take note of these key points.
Be aware of roles and responsibilities
Shearing and wool handling are physically taxing, strenuous jobs that involve long hours of work. Everyone must know their roles and responsibilities to optimise workflow and keep operations safe at all times.
- The farmer – The farm owner or manager must oversee daily operations. The farmer’s responsibilities include ensuring that the shearing shed is in good working order and eliminating potential risks to the best that they can. The farmer should also provide contractors and workers information about significant dangers around the work site, especially when it comes to equipment hazards.
- Shearing contractors – Contractors must ensure that woolsheds and equipment are in optimum working condition and that the sheep are properly prepared for shearing. This is managed through constant consultation, coordination and cooperation between the farmer and the contractor. Contractors should also have a systematic approach to inspecting the woolsheds. That way, they can ensure that the sheds are safe environments for workers and livestock, alike.
- Woolshed workers – Workers must report work hazards, risks and incidents to their supervisors and comply with health and safety instructions. They should also wear personal protective equipment such as earplugs and safety glasses at all times.
Always observe proper hygiene
Workers can catch sicknesses such as stomach bugs, zoonotic infections and wool abscesses in woolsheds. They can catch these diseases from infected water, animals or fine wool fibres.
Farmers, contractors and workers can minimise the risks of catching a disease by washing their hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap after any sheep contact. This is particularly important before eating and drinking. Workers should also bring their own drinking water if they are unsure of the woolshed’s supply. If they have any cuts and scrapes, they should thoroughly clean and cover all wounds.
Keep your shed well-maintained
You can make your woolshed a safe environment for your animals and workers by ensuring that the shed is adequately ventilated and well lit. Space out the workers to avoid clashing of downtubes and keep all walkways free from obstructions. Make sure that catching pen floors are non-slip and that there’s always a first aid kit in a readily accessible area.
If your gates don’t swing properly and your pens are falling, it may be time to invest in a woolshed fitout.
Transform your old shed with Stockpro
Enhance your shearing shed’s safety and efficiency with Stockpro’s fitout services. We specialise in rebuilding old sheds and fitting out new ones. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, we have the expertise and experience to provide you with a modern and ergonomically-designed shearing area.
For more information and enquiries, call us on +1800-354-415. We can arrange a free onsite visit to survey your property and discuss your requirements.