Safe cattle yards: Yard maintenance

A well maintained cattle yard gives you a foundation for working with livestock safely. Use this quick guide to make sure your cattle yard is safe.


Assess the safety of your yarding

Improve the safety of your yarding

Make sure your rails and posts are safe and secure

  • Repair any broken rails.
  • Make sure rails are attached with quality fixings (screws, bolts, chains etc) or welds so animals cannot dislodge them.
  • Remove any protrusions, such as chains, bolts and long screws from yarding. These can catch on clothing and cause injury. Cattle may also baulk at protrusions.
  • Ensure that posts are firmly secured in the ground and do not move.

Check your yard is safe before each use

  • Check your yards for damage prior to each use and undertake repairs.
  • Have a system in place for people to report yard damage or other issues e.g. a white board in the shed, an online OH&S app, a repair diary.
  • Repair damage to yards as soon as possible.

Consider if your yard design is causing problems

Are there points in your yard that often need repair? This might indicate a problem with the design of the yard. A change of design may improve cattle flow and reduce maintenance.

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

More information and advice

Working safely with cattle - Yard maintenance