Child and Public Safety
The risks from animals
Animals on a farm can also pose a threat to people, even without attacking them. A playful animal can kill or diseases from animals can be passed on, and even veterinary medicines can cause ill health.
With regards to both children and adult members of the public, you should check that they cannot gain access to yards or pens containing potentially dangerous animals, chemicals and veterinary medicines. You should also make sure they not are allowed to look after animals or poultry without competent supervision.
Where your fields have public rights of way or permitted access then:
- Do not keep bulls of recognised dairy breeds;
- If beef stock bulls are in such fields, then they should be accompanied by female stock and suitable warning signs put up;
- An assessment of the temperament of any cattle kept in fields with public access should be made and any with a history of aggression or that may be aggressive because of illness, young calves etc removed;
- Consider whether it is reasonably practicable to temporarily fence rights of way so that cattle cannot access them.
A notable point is that PPE is not normally necessary for members of the public visiting a farm.
The risks in the workplace
Farms can be like playgrounds to children who are naturally curious, so you should always make sure they cannot get into chemical stores; slurry pits; reservoirs or sheep dips; grain intake pits and grain bins or building maintenance activities.
Children should also be kept away from yards and moving vehicles and at all times should be with a responsible adult. People working on the farm should also be made aware that children are present and told to stop work if any children enter the work area and to tell the child to leave.
The risks on open farms
On open farms there is an increased risk to the public from animal diseases. It is possible for infections caught from these animals to kill. Due their immune systems, children and the elderly are particularly at risk.
If the public are invited onto a farm then there are certain decisions and precautions that need to be taken:
- You should decide whether to allow them to have direct contact with the animals;
- Sufficient washing facilities, running water, soap and clean towels should be available;
- You should provide training and supervision for workers on the need for visitors to wash and dry their hands thoroughly;
- If catering is provided, then it should only be available outside animal areas and after washing facilities. No food should be consumed in animal areas;
Accreditation is available for those that open their farms regularly to the public and schools. This is available from the Countryside Educational Visits Accreditation Scheme (CEVAS).
If you have any concerns after reading this information or would like some help in improving Child and Public Safety on your farm, please get in contact with us.
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