ALRTA in national ramp standards rebuild call

Bushfire rebuild efforts encouraged to target safety standards

ALRTA in national ramp standards rebuild call
Mick Debenham


Producers rebuilding fire-affected livestock infrastructure are recommended to follow national standards to maximise worker safety and animal welfare, the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Australia (ALRTA) says.

The National Guide for Safe Design of Livestock Loading Ramps and Forcing Yards (National Ramps Guide) was published by ALRTA in 2015 and developed in consultation with producers, feedlots, transporters, saleyards, agents, processors and welfare advocates.

ALRTA vice president and chair of the National Animal Welfare Committee Mick Debenham says adhering to the ALRTA guide will improve worker safety and animal welfare, as well as assist ramp owners in meeting new ramp standards expected to be published by Standards Australia in 2020.

"Loading ramps and forcing yards are the most dangerous part of livestock handling facilities. 

"In 2020, livestock producers, handlers and transporters can no longer accept the unnecessary risk of crushing, lacerations and slips, trips and falls, and tragically, sometimes death.

"There is consensus within the industry that improved safety can be best achieved by keeping livestock and people separated, a guiding principle that is reflected in the ALRTA National Ramps Guide.

"By improving safety for workers, we also improve the safety and welfare of our livestock – the two go hand in hand."

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The National Ramps Guide is supported by the livestock supply chain and has been used as the basis for developing a draft Australian Standard for the Design of livestock loading/unloading ramps and forcing yards (DR AS 5340), expected to be released by Standards Australia for public comment soon, Debenham notes.

"Those who have followed the National Ramps Guide will generally meet the new standard," he adds.

ALRTA national president Stephen Marley said that it is always a good time to improve worker safety, improve animal welfare and future-proof businesses against evolving standards.

"ALRTA member operators have been at the coalface during the disaster recovery effort moving affected livestock, and in many cases volunteering their services for emergency fodder deliveries."

"The sudden loss of critical farm infrastructure such as livestock loading ramps in bushfires has the potential to paralyse livestock production activities right when livestock movements are most urgent. In some circumstances, rebuilding ramps and forcing yards will be a priority.

"ALRTA recommends that everyone designing or rebuilding livestock loading ramps and forcing yards now or in coming months consider the ALRTA National Ramps Guide in anticipation of the new standard."

The National Ramp Guidelines can be obtained here.


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