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Introduction

(745) There are three reasons why a chapter on health and safety should appear in a book dealing with the management control and treatment of pig diseases.

The first is perhaps obvious, some of the environmental hazards commonly associated with pig production, such as dust and slurry gases, can affect the health of both people and pigs. The need to assess and control these environmental factors is therefore a health and safety issue as well as being an integral part of disease control.

The second is often overlooked. A positive pro-active approach to health and safety, just as with disease control, can help you maximise production, reduce costs and increase profitability.

The third is the most important. Good management practice is now as applicable to health and safety as it is to other business activities such as finance, personnel management and the control of pig diseases.

Over the last twenty years health and safety legislation has been changing in many countries. In the past employers could achieve compliance simply by following specific directives; however these directives were often retrospective, reactive and prescriptive. They were introduced as a result of accidents that had already occurred in an attempt to prevent them from happening again. They placed the same constraints on all employers regardless of individual circumstances or the levels of risk involved.

Now, in many countries, the emphasis of modern legislation is more on self regulation. This requires employers to set their own safety standards within minimal legal requirements and to define and implement the controls necessary to achieve them. The most effective way for the employer to approach this is to carry out Risk Assessments and national regulations may make it a legal obligation to do so.

To achieve full compliance however, employers have to show that they have addressed all aspects of health and safety that apply to their operations and everything that should be done is being done. The legal term "due diligence" may be used to describe this.

This view is now so widely accepted that in many countries it has (or is likely to) become a legal requirement for all employers to implement a health and safety management system. An example of such legislation is

"The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992", which came into force in the UK in January 1993 in compliance with a European Council Directive.

This whole section explains methods of risk assessment and health and safety management that are straightforward and appropriate for pig farms, large or small.

Study the outline given in Fig.17-0 so that an appreciation of the structure can be understood. Steps 3, 6 and 8 are the key stages.



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