Risk assessing farm visitors to minimise coronavirus transmission

Risk assessing visitors to your farm will help reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission to you, your family and farm staff.

Our guidance will help you assess risks before, during and after allowing visitors onto your farm.

Pre-farm visit

We recommend carrying out a risk assessment prior to farm visits.

  • Consider whether:
    • anyone on the farm or of your immediate contacts is in a vulnerable category.
    • the visit is necessary for the health and welfare of livestock or is business critical?
    • the task could be carried out by staff already on the farm?
    • it is possible to maintain social distancing during the visit?
    • there are adequate facilities to allow social distancing to be maintained at all times?
    • visitors can safely work alone on this farm?
    • it is likely to be less risky overall to have fewer longer visits than to have more frequent but shorter visits.
  • If a visit is considered necessary, speak to them before the visit :
    • Ask them not to come if they have any of the symptoms of COVID-19. If they or anyone they have been in contact with in the previous 7 days has symptoms of COVID-19, a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, or are high-risk, ask them not to visit.
    • emphasise the importance of maintaining social distancing throughout the visit
    • discuss and agree arrangements for social distancing, the working area, personal safety and personal cleaning/disinfection.
    • Let them know if you require masks and gloves to be worn throughout a visit and if they are required to provide their own
    • Check if there is anything you can do to make the visit most effective eg mobility scoring to select cows for foot trimming
  • Check that you have adequate supplies of gloves, masks, other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and disinfectant.
  • If only allowing one visit to the farm per day is this the issue requiring the most urgent attention?
  • Check that none of your own contacts are showing symptoms of COVID-19 before asking someone to come to the farm.
  • Ensure you have contact details to let people know if the situation has changed just before the visit is due.

On arrival on the farm

On arrival on the farm a rapid risk assessment covering the following areas is recommended to check your safety and the safety of people visiting the farm.

  • Check that they have no symptoms of COVID-19 – if there is any doubt ask them to take their temperature.
  • Ask if any of their contacts have had any symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 14 days.
  • Let them know if you or any farm staff or contacts are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 – it could be regarded as negligence if you fail to do so and they pick up infection during a visit to your farm.
  • Let them know how strict social distancing can be maintained at all times during the farm visit and when possible stand at least 2m (a cow length) away from other people at all times
  • Show them the working area and any other areas of the farm they are allowed to visit and agree how social distancing and personal safety can be maintained.
  • If they will be working alone agree on any checks needed to ensure personal safety.
  • Ensure that you both have easy access to emergency contacts on your mobile phone.
  • Show them where they can wash their hands with soap and disinfectant when they arrive on farm and ask them to spray their PPE and equipment with a disinfectant solution before starting work.
  • If you require masks and gloves to be worn make this clear from the outset, providing them if necessary

Having assessed the risks on arrival to the farm and if social distancing cannot be maintained or other risks to human health cannot be avoided then postpone the visit for their safety as well as you, your staff and family.

During the visit to the farm

  • While on the farm ensure that you maintain social distancing from all people at all times by standing at least 2m (a cow length) away from other people at all times.
  • Ensure that the minimum people required for the task/work are present
  • Where face to face interaction is inevitable then this should only be with ONE person per visit.
  • Ask visitors to wear clean, disinfected protective clothing at all times.
  • Ask visitors to wear gloves and change these regularly if required.
  • If you require visitors to wear masks ask them to do so at all times.
  • Aim to minimise their time on farm and their contact with all surfaces and farm equipment.
  • Do not invite people to enter the farmhouse or other residential buildings and do not offer drinks or food.
  • Anyone with any signs of ill health must leave the area immediately.

Precautions to minimise the risk when leaving the farm

When leaving the farm aim to ensure that all risks of contamination are minimised. Ask visitors to:

  • Remove all disposable items used during the visit and arrange safe disposal off farm.
  • Thoroughly clean and disinfect the working area or arrange for this to be done as soon as they leave.
  • Pay particular attention to cleaning and disinfection of any areas and equipment they have touched or had contact with during the visit (e.g. gates) – clean and disinfect anything on which the virus could survive in the event they were infected with COVID-19 but were not yet displaying symptoms. Remember that some infected people never show signs of COVID-19 but may still infect others.
  • Contact farm staff remotely (phone, text) to tell you they are leaving the farm and to give you any instructions for after care.
  • Not to leave paper records on the farm. Use only electronic form of communication – if they normally use paper records these can be photographed and sent electronically.
  • Arrange to update the farm staff if they or their contacts develop any symptoms of COVID-19 within the following 2 weeks.

Please let any visitors know if you or any farm staff or contacts develop any symptoms of COVID-19 within the following 2 weeks.

Policy in this area is changing quickly, please check regularly for the most up-to-date information on risk management and keep monitoring the government response to coronavirus for further updates.

Top tips to prevent coronavirus transmission with farm visitors

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