Safe cattle yards: Surfaces

Cattle yards with even, well drained, non-slip surfaces help prevent falling and improve cattle flow. Use this quick guide to check the safety of your cattle yard surfaces.


Assess the safety of your cattle yard surfaces

Improve the safety of your cattle yard surfaces

Keep the yard clear

Check the yard before each use and remove any large rocks, vegetation and debris.

Avoid using boggy yards

A boggy yard is a risk to both people and animals and should not be used.

So you can safely use your yard year-round, make sure there is appropriate drainage (at least 3% of surface fall). You can also use treatments such as sand, soft gravel or saw dust to make boggy yards safer.

Consider non-slip surfaces

Installing a solid, non-slip surface at pressure points and the crush area greatly improves safety for both people and animals.

Consider the impact of lighting and shadows

Shadows can cause cattle to perceive a surface as uneven. Choosing the right time of day to move cattle into yards to avoid shadows or adjusting the lighting in your yards may improve cattle flow.

Talk to the people who use your yards

People who work in many different yards are a great resource. Having safety conversations with the different people who use your yard can help you identify hazards and solutions.

If you are an employer you also have a duty under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act) to consult with your employees and contractors about health and safety. You can do this by making safety conversations a normal part of how you work.

Your responsibilities under the law

As a farmer you may be self-employed, employ people, or manage and control a farm. Regardless, you have duties under the OHS Act. which can include ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable:

  • you provide a farm that is a safe working environment without risks to the health of your employees and contractors
  • your farm activities don't expose persons other than employees, for example family, or 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
  • you consult with your employees and contractors about health and safety on your farm

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