Farmers who shear thousands of sheep each year are at high risk of injury. However, with the correct techniques, fitness and equipment care there are ways to manage the risks says New Zealand’s leading Rural Consultants for AgSafe New Zealand Ltd.
A lot of sheep shearing accidents occur due to inadequate technique when handling sheep or using poorly kept equipment. “People who do not have enough practical experience in handling sheep should be trained and overseen to maintain animal welfare and production guidelines, and to avoid being harmed,” says Jim Findlay, Rural Consultant for AgSafe New Zealand Ltd.
There are several good practices to adhere to when manually handling sheep. Firstly, you should always warm up with suitable stretches and exercises before handling sheep, this will help to decrease the danger of back strains and injury.
Avoid lifting sheep but if you absolutely must lift a sheep, use your legs, not your back. “It is also important to take every opportunity to straighten and extend your back beyond straight,” says Jim.
When it comes to shearing and crutching, it is vital to use the appropriate and correct techniques to keep you and the animal safe.
Ensure that you maintain the shearing hand piece in the top-quality condition and replace worn parts and carry out regular safety checks of all shearing equipment.
If you keep blades for crutching or shearing sheep out in the paddock, always have protective cap over the blades to prevent accidental cutting or stabbing injuries.
There are a variety of diseases humans can catch from animals, so your health and safety procedures ensure that you and your workers are adequately protected from catching these disseise.
Thoroughly wash and dry your hands after any contact with sheep. Separate any sheep that displays signs of illness from people and other animals.
Maintain accurate and up to date vaccination and parasite control programmes. Get a veterinarian to perform any vaccinations that are dangerous to humans.
If you are looking to get your farm or rural business a healthy and safety plan with professional advice from people who knows the issues that farmers face every day then contact the friendly experts at AgSafe NZ. AgSafe NZ is proudly Waikato based and understands the local farming environment. Jim Findlay has been a rural consultant involved in farm safety and systems for 35 years.
Contact AgSafe NZ Ltd:
Phone: 0274 587 724