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Livestock Handling

​Livestock Handling Safety Facts and Tips

Farm workers, ranchers, family members and visitors are injured every year by livestock. Many of these injuries occur when handling livestock.

  • Label livestock handling areas to warn away visitors.

  • Design livestock pens and handling facilities using recommended plans.

  • All facilities should be designed to allow workers easy access to and exit from animals.

  • Make sure to consistently and properly use restraining equipment.

  • Equip pens with emergency exits.

  • Keep children and bystanders out of livestock handling areas.

  • Animals can be unpredictable. Be sure you understand some of the common instincts of animals.

    • A strong territorial instinct is common.

    • Changes in lighting or shadows can excite or spook them.

    • Separation from other animals can cause unpredictable behavior.

    • Sudden or loud noises can frighten animals.

    • Some types of livestock, such as beef cattle, swine and dairy cattle, are colorblind and have poor depth perception. This causes them to be sensitive to contrasts in light, movement, and noises.

    • Cattle and horses can see everything around them except directly behind their hindquarters.
  • Are gates, fences or pens in good repair?

  • Do aisles have any sharp projections?

  • Is restraining equipment useable?

  • Is an escape gate or path available?
Information supplied by the National Safety Council’s Agricultural Division, the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) – or 888-844-6322.
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