The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) has published a national Guide for Safe Design of Livestock Loading Ramps and Forcing Yards.
The purpose of the voluntary guide is to promote safer workplaces for people in contact with livestock loading facilities and to improve animal welfare outcomes.
Loading ramps are the most dangerous area of livestock holding facilities. The level of unnecessary risk associated with crushing, lacerations and slips, trips and falls at some facilities is no longer acceptable.
The Guide was developed by the ALRTA in consultation with animal producers, transporters, feedlots, saleyards, exporters, equipment manufacturers, welfare groups and safety authorities.
The Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Victoria (LRTAV) produced model ramp designs as far back as 2006. With the assistance of our National Sponsor Beaurepaires, in March 2014, the ALRTA brought together 40 participants from across the supply chain to identify the scope, principles and critical control points upon which a national guide could be based.
From this meeting an industry-government working party was formed and a draft guide was released for a 4 week public consultation period in May 2015. Sixteen formal submissions were received and the final guide was revised in response to specific stakeholder suggestions.
The Guide will be revised every two years to ensure that it remains up-to-date with contemporary expectations and best practice.
Over recent years, there has been a dramatic change in expectations around workplace health and safety and animal welfare.
New legislation now requires that workplace safety risks be controlled as far as is reasonably practicable. Australian Animal Welfare Standards require livestock handling facilities be constructed, maintained and operated in a way that minimises risks to the welfare of livestock.
The Guide summarises the potential hazards of livestock loading ramps and forcing yards and practical examples of ways to control associated risks for different types of facilities.
General principles are identified as well as a series of model ramp designs, ranging from low-cost basic designs for farms to more advanced commercial designs.
First published in Leading Agriculture Issue 11