While on our tour of the farms of Quality Milk Awards finalists, we picked up some excellent safety ideas from the best in the game. Below are six of the top ideas we saw that could be used in dairies all over Ireland and beyond for safety while operating. Jack Kennedy reports
Covered wash troughs
Stainless steel wash troughs on dairy farms hold extremely hot water (700C or higher) that is used to wash the inside of the milking parlour after milking. Extremely hot water with or without chemicals added can be very dangerous for young people exploring new places or just inquisitive about what is in a container. With this in mind, dairy farmer Dermot Walsh from Barryroe had a perspex lid fitted to his wash trough. It allows him place yellow warning signal signs to warn unsuspecting people that there may be hot water or dangerous chemicals inside. It also acts as a deterrent to young kids who might accidently place a hand in the water.
Clear labels and instructions on walls
A clear wall chart on operational instructions is very helpful. It is helpful for someone learning to operate or wash a milking parlour or for someone just doing it as a once-off following an accident or emergency. It is important to know that you are doing the right thing or at least have a place where you can check to verify what you think should happen. Often, there are little differences between milking machines and instructions are paramount for operator and product safety. Every dairy should have a wall chart showing operational guidelines.
Dedicated space for power room
Plugs, wiring, cables and all things electrical need a dedicated space on any dairy farm. Firstly, the room needs to be water tight and safe. Ideally, this equipment should be locked away. Some farmers try to put the power room in a corridor connecting places but it’s not ideal.
Sink and cleaning basics
If there is an accident, then you need a dedicated place where you can wash your hands or wash something out of your hair or eyes. Having a sink with the basics such as water, soap, clean cloths, disinfectants, first aid box, etc, is essential in any dairy.
Head bail for locking up a cow
Freshly calved cows can be extremely protective and dangerous to anyone that wants to handle the newborn calf. Head-locking bails in calving pens can secure the cow while you work with the calf or work with the freshly calved cow.
Clean containers at foot of tank
Most milk suppliers will have products that are in use beside the tank. Clear drums will allow you gauge the level in the drum so that you can see what is left before it runs out. It is important that they have a label showing any warnings related to the product so that in the event the chemical gets into the wrong hands or the wrong places, it can be treated. If you have that information you know exactly what it is and the treatment protocol.