Government issues coronavirus working advice for farms

The government has issued specific health advice to farms and outdoor businesses that continue to operate during the coronavirus pandemic.

Farms have been listed as essential businesses and so face added difficulties in controlling movements of staff, vets and contractors.

See also: Coronavirus: Guide to help children keep safe on farms

The advice urged farm businesses to adhere to social-distancing guidelines, but acknowledged there are tasks that make it harder to comply.

It is not always possible when sheep shearing, sheep dipping and foot-trimming at different farms for workers to meet guidelines, the advice said.

However, it urged farms to remind staff and contractors frequently that they must:

  • Wash hands their more frequently than normal with soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time
  • Always wash their hands when arriving at or leaving a farm
  • Use hand sanitiser when soap and water are unavailable
  • Avoid touching their faces at all times
  • Stay at home if they are unwell or if a member of their household is self-isolating

Work regimes should also be reviewed and then rearranged to reduce the risks of spreading the disease, it suggested.

The government urged farms to consider halting any non-essential tasks where social distancing guidelines could not be met.

Frequent cleaning and disinfection must be introduced for objects and surfaces that are touched regularly.

Cleaning and disinfection should also take place when moving between premises.

For essential operations – for example, animal health and welfare tasks – all mitigating actions possible should be taken to reduce the transmission risk between staff, said the guidance.

If a 2m distance cannot be maintained, staff should work side by side or facing away from each other, rather than face to face if possible.

Where workers have to share enclosed spaces such as vehicle cabs, they should face away from each other, keep the window open for ventilation and avoid touching their faces at all times.

On leaving the enclosed space, workers should wash their hands according to the guidelines.

Any vehicles used by people from multiple households should be cleaned regularly using gloves and standard cleaning products, with particular emphasis on handles and other surfaces which are touched.


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