3 February 2020

The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Australia (ALRTA) recommends the use of the National Guide for Safe Design of Livestock Loading Ramps and Forcing Yards (National Ramps Guide) if livestock producers are rebuilding fire affected livestock ramps or forcing yards.

The National Ramps Guide and 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 ALRTA National Animal Welfare Committee, Mick Debenham, said that following 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.”

“The National Ramps Guide is strongly 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) which is expected to be released by Standards Australia for public comment soon.  Those who have followed the National Ramps Guide will generally meet the new standard,” said Mr Debenham.

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,” said Mr Marley.

Free copies of the ALRTA National Ramp Guidelines can be obtained here.