ThePigSite.com - news, features, articles and disease information for the swine industry

ThePigSite Pig Health

Step 5 - Plan Your Risk Assessments

(755) The risk assessment procedures described here involve systematic appraisals of all of the areas in and around the pig farm and the procedures that take place in them. Before conducting the assessments it will be necessary to compile the following information.

A list of the areas to be assessed. For example:

  • Barns.
  • Drying sheds.
  • Feed bagging rooms.
  • Feed milling rooms.
  • Feed stores.
  • Fields.
  • Grain stores.
  • Hospital pens.
  • Loading bays.
  • Muck heaps.
  • Offices.
  • Pig houses.
  • Rest rooms.
  • Silos.
  • Tractor sheds.
  • Workshops.
  • Yards.

It is important not to ignore any areas. A field may look harmless enough but several farmers are killed each year when raised tractor shovels touch overhead power lines.

A sketch map of the site is useful to help list the areas in a logical sequence in preparation for a walk round inspection. It can also be used to mark safety features and hazards such as the positions of first aid boxes and fire extinguishers, fuel stores and power lines etc.

A list of the Procedures to be assessed. For example:

  • Feed / grain silo management.
  • Feed milling / mixing / bagging.
  • Grain handling / drying.
  • Hand feeding.
  • Hazardous chemicals - handling / storage / use.
  • Maintenance / repairs.
  • Pest control - rodents / vermin / flies / mites.
  • Pressure washing.
  • Sick pigs - handling / treatment / carcase disposal.
  • Slurry channel drainage.
  • Straw handling.
  • Use of mechanical scraper.
  • Veterinary medicines - handling / storage / use.
  • Weighing pigs.

All hazards on the farm need to be assessed. The lists of areas and procedures should therefore be as comprehensive as possible. However, there will be some hazards associated with general items and activities that cannot be described as areas or specific procedures (e.g. equipment and machinery, animal handling). You must ensure that these are also assessed and that the relevant points are addressed and covered in the appropriate SSW's.

Human factors. You should compile a list of all employees and others who may be affected by the hazards present. Include contractors and maintenance personnel who may be on site occasionally or at specific times. Alongside each name (or category of people) include any information that will help you to evaluate the risks to their health and their contribution toward reducing or increasing risks to themselves and others. For example:

  • Levels of training.
  • Competence.
  • Responsibilities.
  • Specific skills.
  • Disabilities.
  • Health status.
  • Health record.
  • Accident / incident record.
  • Attitude to health and safety.

Management practices. Make a note of any existing health and safety systems. For example:

  • Accident / incident records and reviews.
  • Health and safety policy statements.
  • Monitoring of hazards (dust, noise, fumes).
  • Occupational health surveillance.
  • Organisation and health and safety responsibilities.
  • Previous assessments (for hazardous substances, manual handling, etc.).
  • Safety checks / audits.
  • Work instructions.

You should also give an indication of the current standards of health and safety on the farm and what priority is given to improving them.

These lists can now be used to provide information for the assessments.

Although it may not be a legal requirement for you to record the assessments, it is your duty to conduct them and to inform employees of the findings. It is therefore sensible to record them so that you can prove your due diligence if necessary.

Area assessments
For each area to be assessed you should compile a record sheet with 12 columns. For the first 10 column headings, the information to be considered and the points to record are as follows:

1. What is the identity of the area?
Simply record the name and basic description of the area e.g. Farrowing House 1. 10 crates, slatted floors at rear, slurry channel under slats. Mechanical ventilation.

2. What procedures are carried out here?
Consult the list of procedures to be assessed and note those that apply to this area. It may be useful to number all of the procedures and simply record the relevant numbers here.

3. What hazards are present?
See hazards and safety data Step 5. Carefully consider all categories of hazards. Use the hazard check list. List all the hazards (significant and trivial) associated with the area, i.e. those that are always, usually or sometimes present here. Include the hazards associated with the procedures that take place here. Include any hazardous substances that are stored here, even if they are used elsewhere. They may seem to present no risk but breakage, spillage or fire could result in personal exposure to them.

4. What harm could they cause and how?
Refer to the hazard check list and Safety Data, Step 5. Specify the nature of the harm and how it could occur e.g. a chemical could be strongly irritant if splashed into eyes. A wobbly gantry could cause serious injury if a person fell from it.

5. To whom could they cause it?
List the people who work in the area regularly or occasionally. Specify the length of time that they are present in the area. Refer to the human factors for consideration and record any significant points. Step 6.

6. What precautions are currently taken?
See control options, Step 7. List the physical and personal control measures and the management practices. If risk assessments have already been carried out for particular aspects of health and safety you do not need to repeat them but can refer to them e.g. Noise assessment carried out. Results recorded. Assessment is ear plugs must be, and are worn by all personnel present when hand feeding of the pigs takes place.

7. What is the likelihood of harm occurring?
See risk rating, Step 5. In the cases of dust, noise and slurry gases you will probably need to carry out personal monitoring to determine the levels of these hazards in order to assess likelihood.

8. What would be the degree of the harm?
See risk rating, Step 5. You will possibly need to refer to the hazard Safety Data and occupational health information to be able to judge this.

9. What would be the consequential loss / cost?
See risk rating, Step 5 and cost benefits section.

10. What is the level of risk (priority for actions)?
See risk rating Step 5.

You have now identified and assessed the risks. The remaining two columns on the record sheet are for you to specify what you will do in order to eliminate or reduce those risks.

Procedure assessments
For each procedure to be assessed you should compile a record sheet of 12 columns with headings similar to those above except for questions 1, 2, 3 and 6. The information to be considered here and the points to record for each procedure are as for the area assessments with the exception of:

1. What is the identity of the procedure?
Simply record the name of the procedure e.g. slurry channel drainage.
If there is a written work instruction for the procedure you must refer to it here.
If no work instruction exists you should include brief details of the procedure here.

2. Where does this procedure take place?
Consult the list of areas to be assessed and note those where this procedure is performed. It may be useful to number all of the areas and simply record the relevant numbers here.

3. What hazards are present?
See hazards and safety data, Step 5. Carefully consider all categories of hazards . Use the hazard check list.

List all the hazards (significant and trivial) associated with the procedure.

6. What precautions are currently taken?
See control options, Step 7. List the physical and personal control measures and the management practices.
Specify whether any written work instructions are available for this procedure, and if so refer to them.

If risk assessments have already been carried out for particular aspects of health and safety you do not need to repeat them but can refer to them e.g. Hazardous substances assessment carried out. Results recorded. The assessment record and the work instructions specify the control measures.

They must be, and are always implemented by persons performing this procedure.

Self assessment by employees
No matter how thorough you are with your assessments, there will always be some situations that you cannot fully address until they arise and you cannot always be there when they do. Therefore, if you want the system to work you must also be able to rely on your employees to look out for the well-being of themselves and the well-being of the business as a whole. To achieve this you will need to demonstrate a positive, pro-active commitment to health and safety and encourage all employees to conduct their own risk assessments before carrying out any new activities. If they think that there is a risk to themselves or to others they should not continue with the activity but should inform you of their concerns so that you can fully assess the situation. This self assessment need not involve them having to write anything down but should be a simple 'stop and think' exercise.

For example:

What am I about to do? Where will I be doing it? How long will it take?

  1. Do I know what hazards are present or will be produced?
  2. Do I know what harm they could cause - and how?
  3. Are sufficient safety precautions in place?
  4. Is it safe for me (and those around me) if I continue?

If they cannot answer yes to all of the points 2-5, they should not continue.

Share This

Managing Pig Health - 5m Books

Pig Identification - 5m FarmSupplies

Our Sponsors

Partners


Seasonal Picks

The Commuter Pig Keeper - 5m Books