Reduce risk of death from crushing by cattle

Guidance for farmers to help manage the risks of being crushed or trampled by cattle. Understand what to look out for and follow the tips on cattle safety.

Shape

High risk activities in the cattle yard

The 3 most dangerous situations in the cattle yard involve:

 

Drafting cattle  

Cattle moving through drafting gates.

 

Loading cattle  

Cattle walking up a loading ramp onto a truck.

 

Interacting with cattle at the crush  

Working with cattle through a cattle crush.

Top tips on cattle safety

  • Design your cattle yards so people and cattle don't have to be in the same space and the cattle can move through easily.
  • When drafting cattle, avoid being in with the cattle. If this is not possible with your current yard design, ensure there are accessible escape gates or pre-identified escape routes that don't require climbing over or under fences.
  • Maintain your yards, races, gates and crushes. Ensure hinges swing freely and that there are slam shut latches.
  • Make sure that anyone working with cattle knows how to do so safely.
    • Employers have a duty to provide such information, instruction, training or supervision to employees as is necessary, to enable employees to perform their work in a way that is safe and without risks to health.
  • Discuss escape routes where necessary.
  • Work in ways that avoid being in the cattle's escape path.
  • Understand your cattle and how they are likely to behave when confined, nervous or agitated. Ensure that others working with you understand this.
  • Where possible, work your cattle calmly and quietly.
  • Avoid being between a cow and her calf.
  • If possible, let your cattle become familiar with the yards.
  • Talk about how your crush and yards operate prior to starting work with any contractors or service providers, including veterinarians and pregnancy testers.
  • Consider your own safety and the safety of your employees as well as the livestock transporter when loading cattle. View the information on ramps at the Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Victoria's website.

Your farm health and safety legal duties

Working with cattle isn't the only danger on farms. Whatever job you and your employees are doing on the farm, always think of safety first.

Consider what could go wrong and how to stop that happening, discuss with your employees and take action to make sure you're providing a safe workplace.

As a farmer you may be self-employed, employ people, or manage and control a farm. You have occupational health and safety responsibilities, which include ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable:

  • that you provide a farm that is a safe working environment without risks to the health of your employees
  • your farm activities don't expose persons other than employees, for example, family, employees, contractors, visitors to health and safety risks
  • that people, including people making deliveries on the farm, can enter and leave the farm safely, and without risk to their health

More information

WorkSafe's tools and handbooks can help you find common hazards, assess the risks and set up suitable controls for your farm.

Speak to your farming industry organisation about farm safety.

Apply to have a safety consultant come to your farm via the WorkSafe's OHS Essentials program.

Apply for the OHS Essentials program

Get free, confidential and personalised safety support from an agricultural industry expert at a time that suits you.

OHS Essentials program