Emergencies on Livestock Farms (PB1147)

Maintenance of Mechanical Equipment and Services

35 In the modern farming of animals, farmers and livestock companies use automatically operated equipment such as feed hoppers, drinkers, milking machines, fans, heat and light units, etc., and the use of such equipment creates the opportunity for power or equipment failure to jeopardise the welfare of those animals.
36 The Welfare of Livestock Regulations require livestock in an intensive unit and the automatic equipment of intensive units to be thoroughly inspected not less than once daily by a stockkeeper (or other competent person in the case of equipment), and for appropriate measures to be taken to safeguard the livestock from suffering unnecessary pain or unnecessary distress if any problems are found.
37 Faulty equipment should be repaired immediately and if this is not possible you should take alternative measures, including ways of feeding, to maintain a satisfactory environment to safeguard your livestock.
38 Full details of how to contact emergency engineers should be kept up to date and every member of your staff should be familiar with them and the correct procedure to take in an emergency. It is a good idea to keep the telephone numbers of key repair and emergency services prominently displayed for easy reference. An emergency is no time for rummaging through desk drawers.


Computer Maintenance and Back-up Systems

39 Just as automated equipment requires back up, it is important that you make contingency plans to cover computer malfunctions. These plans should normally be made at the time of purchase with the service engineer. The points to remember are:
  • make sure that a comprehensive service agreement is in place (this should include the use of an alternative computer, if necessary, whilst yours is out of service);
  • always consider comprehensive insurance cover;
  • ensure that only authorised personnel have access to the equipment;
  • make sure all your staff have access to emergency telephone numbers;
  • remember to renew insurance cover and service agreements;
  • any software and date should be backed-up and the copy should be kept in a safe place easily accessed by authorised operators
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