Key points

  • Anyone working with cattle must be appropriately trained and experienced for the task.
  • Keep yards tidy and well maintained.
  • Plan an escape route in advance when working with cattle in the yards.
  • Never get in the race with large cattle. Don’t put your arms or legs through the race walls.
  • Don’t try to move a dangerous bull on foot or alone.
  • Always wash and dry your hands after working with cattle.
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This information sheet applies to anyone handling cattle in both the beef and dairy industries. It outlines the potential risks involved in handling cattle and gives recommendations on how to eliminate, isolate or minimise those risks. WorkSafe NZ accepts these recommendations as current industry good practice. They will help you comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA).

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Accepted Good Practice

Handling cattle safely is a skill that comes with time and experience. Skilled cattle handlers understand how cattle behave and react. They know where to stand and how to move. They work together and get cattle to do what they want – quietly, smoothly and safely.

The Law

The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) is New Zealand’s work health and safety law. The Act requires that a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) must ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers. The duties of a PCBU apply to all work activities and places work is carried out on a farm.

Employers should also be mindful of their obligations under The Health and Safety in Employment (HSE) Regulations 1995, which say that PCBUs must make sure average work noise levels stay below 85dB(A).