Biosecurity: People on pig farms

Any person entering a pig unit has the potential to carry in disease. To reduce this risk, consider adopting this policy with all farm staff and visitors.

Your people biosecurity policy should apply to anyone who steps across the perimeter of the unit. This includes veterinary surgeons, fieldsmen, relief stockmen, task teams, company representatives, maintenance workers, rodent services, cleaning and disinfection teams and advisers.

This is because organisms can be carried on their boots, clothes, hair, skin or even in the nasal tract, and also in any foods they may bring, especially pig meat products.

Non-essential visits to pig units, particularly where there is a known disease problem, should be avoided.

The main risk is from contact with pigs, pig manure and slurry - but remember that many areas of the farm may have become contaminated and represent a risk.

Good practice

  • Stop all unnecessary visits on to the pig farm. If possible, confine these to an off‐site office
  • Make all staff and visitors aware of the risks they pose and how to limit them
  • Minimise visitor contact with pigs as far as possible

Non-essential visits to pig units with a known disease problem should be avoided

Guidance for staff

  • No farm staff should have any contact with pigs (including pet pigs) or pig manure outside of their employment. This should be a included in the employment contract
  • Farm staff who have livestock other than pigs at home must arrive at work personally clean and in clean clothes and footwear that has not been exposed to their own livestock
  • All staff should be provided with (and must wear) outerwear and boots that are left on the unit
  • Staff who have returned from travelling overseas (especially North America and Asia) should notify the farm manager before returning to work if they have had contact with any pigs, including wild boar
  • Staff should not bring any pig meat products into the farm

Guidance for visitors

Before your visit:

  • Prearrange your visit with the farm. Visit at the end of the day/week if possible
  • Where possible, arrange your visit away from the farm to avoid entering the pig unit
  • Leave your vehicle outside the unit periphery. Do not take your vehicle on site unless absolutely necessary, in which case refer to the vehicle biosecurity page
  • The unit manager must be confident of the visitors' credentials and low biosecurity risk before permitting entry
  • Ask about the farm’s biosecurity protocols and adhere to them
  • If it is essential to enter the farm, you must adhere to the specified period of ‘pig freedom’. This period will vary depending on the health status of the unit and should be discussed with the farm vet. It should be specified in advance and is usually:
    • At least 15 hours (overnight) freedom from pigs and pig manure
    • 72 hours in the case of nucleus breeding herds
  • Equipment or tools brought onto the farm must be visibly clean, and where possible should be disinfected or covered with a new disposable plastic bag. Limit equipment taken on farm to essential items
  • Do not bring any foodstuffs on to the farm
  • Arrive in clean clothes and footwear

During your visit:

  • A visitor’s book must be provided and completed before entry, detailing when you were last in contact with pigs, the date and confirmation that you are complying with the unit requirements
  • Entry should be via a single-entry point, where clean boots and overalls are provided and visitors can wash their hands. Ideally, visitors should shower in (including hair) and move into a ‘clean’ area to change into unit specific clothes, including protective outerwear and footwear. The Danish/Bench Entry system is an excellent alternative to a walk-through shower; read PEDV SOP on Farmgate Biosecurity – People for information

The minimum standard is for visitors to wear farm-supplied outer clothes and boots, or wrapped disposable overalls.

  • Contact with pigs and pig manure should be minimised where possible
  • Protect smaller items of equipment with plastic bags and containers
  • Minimise contamination of equipment which will be taken off the farm
  • Leave as much disposable material on farm as possible
  • Only visit areas of the farm necessary for your work
  • Wash hands as you leave the unit

After your visit and before entering another pig unit:

  • Consider everything taken onto the unit (equipment, clothing, footwear) as contaminated
  • Clean and disinfect equipment, protective clothing and footwear before leaving the farm
  • Seal any equipment and clothing that must be taken with you in waterproof bags and clean and disinfect again away from the farm. Leave behind anything that can remain on the farm
  • Refer to advice on cleaning and disinfection to make sure it is effective
  • Contaminated vehicles and those which have been on site must be cleaned and disinfected, refer to our Vehicle biosecurity advice
  • Shower (including hair wash) and ensure a complete change of clothes
  • Leave as long as possible before visiting another pig unit (minimum of 15 hours)

Handling deliveries

  • Discuss biosecurity protocols with suppliers and make it clear what risks they pose to you and other pig farms
  • Remember, you have the right to demand good biosecurity from your suppliers. If not satisfied, refuse entry
  • Ideally a secure, clean, watertight delivery box should be situated outside the farm perimeter (consider thermal requirements for medicine and semen delivery)
  • For semen, the health status of the source stud should be known and the information regularly updated
  • The number of suppliers should be minimised – a single‐source is preferred
  • Delivery vehicles and personnel should not enter the farm or make direct contact with farm staff, e.g. shaking hands
  • Packaging should be disposed of outside the farm
  • Disinfectant wipes should be used routinely on incoming goods where possible

Further information

Download the following Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for further advice on people biosecurity.

SOP 4 Farmgate biosecurity - People

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