Loading ramps and forcing yards are arguably the most dangerous part of livestock handling facilities.
In an article published earlier this month on Sheep Central, February 3, 2020, producers are being urged to rebuild bushfire-affected loading ramps and forcing yards to meet Australian guidelines, to come in line with expected national standards, expected to be released this year.
While this article was specifically targeted at those looking to rebuild from the recent devastating bushfires, I think this message is relevant to all producers.
All producers should be having a closer look at their current facilities.
Livestock producers, handlers and transporters in 2020 can no longer accept the unnecessary risk of crushing, lacerations and slips, trips and falls and sadly, sometimes death.
Producers are now working in proximity with larger, heavier animals which increases the working risk. There have been five deaths and 56 hospitalisations in three years…these statistics and safety cannot be ignored.
Expected to be released this year by Standards Australia, a national standard for loading ramps and forcing yards, will be based on the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters’ Association Guide for Safe Design of Livestock Loading Ramps and Forcing Yards – a standard which Atlex ensures it aligns all product designs.
Atlex Stockyards customer Tony McManus (Gooree Park, Mudgee) agreed safety is a critical issue.
“We had an old set of wooden yards which were very hard to work in and dangerous. Safety is a big issue when you have different people working with different levels of experience,” he said
The importance of safety was concurred by another Atlex client, Digby Stretch (Kojonup).
“When you have an old set and you’re sitting on tender hooks and hoping someone doesn’t hurt themselves, it’s not a good feeling as a manager and not a good feeling as a friend, it’s not a good feeling as a human being.”
Our business is built around the three principles with safety sitting at the top of priorities.
Safety, innovation, Precision
Coming into line with the Guidelines while improving safety for workers, also improves the safety and welfare of our livestock.
Custom design is also important from an animal welfare point of view as well. We do everything so well out in the paddocks and it’s good to continue that right from paddock to plate. You’re part of the supply chain.
By improving the infrastructure of your stockyards you are increasing the safety of you and your stock. If you chose yards that incorporate animal psychology design principals, stress is alleviated for animals and handlers alike.
Improved safety can be best achieved by keeping livestock and people separate. This is exemplified in several design features.
Safety Step Through Manways included in all our sheep and cattle yard designs to allow handlers to safely and easily navigate around the yards without climbing or opening gates.
Suitable access with a non-slip walkway eliminates issues of slip, trip or fall removing the rough, slippery or steep access from ground level.
Ramp width is also important to stock which could suffer stress and damage if they jam across the ramp, decreasing safety as operator may enter the ramp or race in an attempt to move stock.
The rotary force for cattleyards is one innovative example of how good yard design effectively manages flight zone, while maintaining separation between the handler and animal.
With the ability to operate from a walkway or the ground, the rotary force is sheeted to eliminate distraction and encourage free flow and forward movement of cattle with no turning.
Another important factor in increasing safety in stockyards is ensuring quality materials are used that can withstand any pressure from animals.
High quality, galvanised steel focusing on strength and durability ensures the yards remain in safe state for generations, making sheep and cattlework, quicker, easier and safer for at least the next 50 years.