Farm safety management is important, especially during these times. With people as your number one resource, their needs and safety should be a priority.
There are dangers that farm workers face everyday. This is why people who handle our food, even before it gets to the kitchen, also need to be protected from occupational harm and danger. Whether in a health crisis or not, farm health management is vital in livestock business. Read on and get to know some tips on how to develop a health and safety management plan.
Your staff must know the proper methods and procedures before they handle livestock. Every member should know what they’re doing. To achieve this, there should be proper orientation and training for staff that are new to the job, new to a worksite, new to a task, and facing new hazards (like new equipment).
Aside from getting proper training, your staff should also know they shouldn’t perform tasks they’re not trained to do.
Each should be oriented on their rights and responsibilities as farm workers. The following tips should help you:
- prepare written records and manuals for new staff members;
- demonstrate specific tasks that need to be learned;
- direct them to safety measures (like first aid assistance and emergency exits); and
- document orientation for trainees’ notes.
After training, it is also best to put the new staff under the supervision of an experienced colleague or a resource person. Experience, after all, is the best teacher.
Respect for livestock
In farm safety management, it is also essential to understand animal behaviors and stress triggers. Why? Apart from ethical animal treatment, their behavior may lead to dangers to the staff and damage to property.
Animals respond well to a safe environment. They appreciate not being subjected to sudden movements, loud sounds, and bright lights as they are startled by them. Working in a calm and humane manner provides a safe environment for you and your livestock. You do not want provoked animals to pose danger to your staff because you mistreat them. As much as possible, do not shout at them, beat them, or use electric rods on them. Animals remember bad experiences.
Furthermore, keep your animals in suitable and clean enclosures. This is so that they will not be subjected to illness, infection, and pest infestation which aren’t good for your business.
Proper facilities and equipment
Provide proper equipment to be used by your workers for tending your animals. Much more, keep them clean and organized to be able to operate your farm safely.
To prevent the spread of diseases from your workers and livestock, clean facilities and equipment routinely and thoroughly. Regular checks should be done to make sure they are operating correctly and are suitable for work.
Ensuring that your farm is a safe place for people to work in is key to proper farm health management.
Personal protective equipment
Gloves and work shoes or boots should always be worn when working with livestock. Gloves protect hands from chemicals or faeces, and prevent disease from spreading. Work shoes, on the other hand, prevent feet from crushing and workers from slipping.
This doesn’t only mean proper personal hygiene of workers when on the job, but also correct disposal of animal waste. Air quality and ground and surface water can be affected in livestock production. Wastewater treatment facilities and regular area sanitation are recommended.
For disease outbreak, follow safety instructions and report incidents immediately to authorities.
In the Time of COVID-19
Especially in the time of COVID-19, personal protective equipment and proper hygiene are crucial to keep your workers and even animals safe.
Early in 2020, the Department of Agriculture (DA) issued a set of quarantine period guidelines on food sector frontliners’ health and safety. These cover food safety practices from production, handling, transportation, retail, and household preparation.
As recommended by the DA, there are now implementations of biosecurity measures that include the following:
- Thorough identification and recording of attendance;
- Workers’ temperature checks prior to entry of work;
- Strict observance of physical distancing; and
- Proper handwashing, disinfection, and respiratory hygiene.
A farm safety management plan is vital for any livestock facility. For staff members to be safe and be able to do their job well, farm health management must always be up to standard. For more information on farm management plans, visit https://unahco.com/.