Working with animals

  • The agriculture industry includes businesses that breed, raise or farm animals. This type of work can involve serious risks to work health and safety. 

Common hazards associated with animal handling include:

  • riding, including falls
  • livestock unpredictability during mustering, loading and unloading stock (crush injuries caused by cattle are very common on Australian farms)
  • exposure to musculoskeletal injuries during common farm activities such as drenching, branding or shearing
  • exposure to diseases spread by animals, such as Q Fever, and
  • inadequate or poorly maintained yards, races, gates and crushes, which may allow animals to escape or injure a worker.

Safety measures to control these risks include:

  • ensuring your yards, races, gates and crushes are maintained and incorporate safe design principles (such as always having an easy escape route)
  • using barriers or other physical controls to separate animals from people
  • wearing appropriate personal protective equipment, for example a helmet when riding horses, and
  • carefully observing an animal’s behaviour and temperament, respecting their size and strength and keeping a safe distance wherever possible. 
PCBUs: Workers:
As a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU), you have a duty to keep yourself, your workers and your workplace safe from risks associated with working with animals. You must eliminate or minimise risks so far as is reasonably practicable. Your PCBU has a duty to keep you and your workplace safe from risks associated with working with animals. You also have a duty to take reasonable care of your safety and that of others in the workplace.

Everyone who works in agriculture must have the right skills to carry out their work safely. 

For more information:

  • Did you know

    The WHS regulator in your state or territory can provide practical advice, resources and tools to help you be safe when working in agriculture. They can also let you know which WHS laws apply to you.