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Safe Sheep Shearing

The purpose of these guidelines provide advice on how to keep people safe in the shearing industry.

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Key points

  • Be aware of your responsibilities in and around the shearing shed.
  • Check shearing and crutching equipment regularly.
  • Use correct techniques when manually handling and shearing sheep.
  • Always wash and dry hands after contact with sheep to avoid diseases humans can catch from animals (zoonoses).

Key concepts to understand before reading these guidelines

What and who is a PCBU?

A ‘PCBU’ refers to a person conducting a business or undertaking. A PCBU can be an individual such as a farmer or independent shearer, or an organisation (eg a company).

The difference between a PCBU and a worker

There is a clear difference between a PCBU and a worker when the PCBU is a company or organisation. However, when an individual person is a PCBU, (eg self-employed) the difference may be less clear.

When a self-employed person is working for themselves, eg a self-employed shearer (who dictates how their work is done and creates, and controls, risks) they are a PCBU. However, if a self-employed person is working for another PCBU (eg a contractor who controls what they do and how and when they do it) then they are a worker under that PCBU.

Example: Zac, a self-employed shearing contractor, has agreed to help out his mate Fabian who runs a shearing team. Both are PCBUs. Because Zac is going to be working for Fabian and Fabian will be controlling what, when, and how he works, even though he is a PCBU himself, Zac would be treated as a worker because Fabian is determining the work and controlling the risks that arise from that work.

What does reasonably practicable mean?

The term ‘reasonably practicable’ appears throughout HSWA. ‘Reasonably practicable’ is used to qualify duties to ensure health and safety.

There is no such thing as zero risk. The PCBU is not expected to guarantee the safety of their workers and others from work activities. Instead, PCBUs are held to a ‘reasonably practicable’ standard.

It is a judgement call the PCBU must make. It involves weighing a risk against the resources (time and cost) needed to manage it.

Something is reasonably practicable if it is, or was, at a particular time, reasonably able to be done to ensure health and safety, having weighed up and considered all relevant matters, including:

  • How likely is a hazard or risk to occur?
  • How severe could the harm that might result from the hazard or risk be?
  • What the person concerned knows or ought to reasonably know about the hazard or risk and the ways of eliminating or minimising the risk (eg by removing the source of the risk or using control measures such as isolation or physical controls to minimise it).
  • What measures exist to eliminate or minimise the risk (control measures)?
  • How available and suitable is the control measure(s)?

Lastly weigh up the cost:

  • What is the cost of eliminating or minimising the risk?
  • Is the cost grossly disproportionate to the risk?

For more information see the WorkSafe website.

 

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Riding horses on farms

The purpose of these guidelines is to help reduce the risk of injuries and fatalities by providing practical guidance on...

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Key points

  • Only trained and experienced people should ride horses for farm work
  • Match riders to horses within their handling abilities
  • Always wear a helmet when riding a horse
  • Always supervise children on/and around horses
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Safe cattle handling

The purpose of these guidelines is to help reduce the risk of injuries and fatalities by providing practical guidance on...

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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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Safe sheep handling

The purpose of these guidelines is to help reduce the risk of injuries and fatalities by providing practical guidance on...

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Key points

  • Anyone working with sheep must be appropriately trained or experienced for the task
  • Keep yards and woolsheds tidy and well maintained
  • Before working with sheep in the yards, leave them for 30 minutes to calm down
  • Avoid lifting sheep if possible. If you have to, use your legs, not your back
  • Always wash and dry your hands after working with sheep
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Safe Deer Handling

This good practice guide will help farmers improve safety around farmed deer by providing practical guidance on their safe handling.

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Key points

  • Always take special care around stags
  • Antlers should be removed
  • Use the right personal protective equipment
  • Ensure yards and handling areas are well designed
  • Practise good hygiene and maintain a vaccination/pest control programme
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