Always think SAFE when working with livestock on farm

PICTURE: Rob Durston (

THE Farm Safety Partnership is urging farmers to ‘Stop and Think SAFE’ when working with cows/heifers around calving time.

Animals are one of the top four dangers on local farms and on average at least one farmer is killed each year by a bull or cow/heifer around calving time while others are injured, often seriously.

The following checklist should help you and others stay SAFE.


n watch for warning signs of animal aggression, especially in bulls and cows/heifers around calving time

n work out an escape route or refuge in advance of handling livestock

n be careful around cows and heifers with newborn calves

n remember, that cows that are on heat are unpredictable

n where possible use a head gate to restrain a cow/heifer when checking the calf

n try to have help available when calving a cow or heifer

n try to keep cattle calm when working with them

n remind farmers that aggressive and difficult cattle should be culled as soon as possible

n protect yourself against disease with proper personal hygiene


n turn your back on a bull or trust a bull

n put yourself or a colleague at risk with cattle

n stress or arouse cattle unnecessarily

n turn your back on a cow following calving

n beat or shout at cattle unnecessarily – they remember bad experiences

n For more information about safe handling of livestock, the ongoing ‘Stop and Think SAFE’ campaign or general advice on farm safety, please contact the HSENI helpline on 0800 0320 121 or visit:

n You can also check out HSENI’s YouTube where Alexander Martin recalls how he was seriously injured when attacked by a bull on a County Down farm.


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