The ramp standard was developed by Standards Australia following public consultation during 2020 and input from a representative supply chain and community steering committee.
The Australian Standard provides guidance about well-designed livestock loading equipment, vehicle access and traffic flow and facilitates consistent information for owners, manufacturers and regulators across the country.
The former ALRTA Vice President and Chair of the ALRTA Driver and Animal Welfare Committee, Mick Debenham, participated in the standards committee. He says the new standard will improve worker safety and animal welfare.
Loading ramps and forcing yards are the most dangerous part of livestock handling facilities. Livestock producers, handlers and transporters who use these facilities risk crushing, lacerations, slips, trips and falls, and tragically, 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 throughout the standard. By improving safety for workers, the safety and welfare of livestock is also improved.
The standard is strongly supported by the livestock supply chain and based on the pre-existing Guide for Safe Design of Livestock Loading Ramps and Forcing Yards published by ALRTA in 2015.
Livestock facility owners are urged to review ramp safety
According to ALRTA National President Scott McDonald, there has never been a better time to invest in safer and more productive livestock ramps. The Federal Government is encouraging new investment via instant asset write-off provisions announced in the 2020-21 Budget. Until 30 June 2022, businesses can generally write off the full cost of depreciable assets in the first year of use or installation.
Mr McDonald strongly encourages all ramp owners to undertake a safety risk, animal welfare and productivity assessment of their existing livestock ramps and take the opportunity to bring facilities into line with the national ramp standard while the investment incentives are in place.
How to get a copy
Farmers and depot managers purchasing new equipment should ask the manufacturer if the product meets the standard.
Copies of the standard can be obtained here.