Farmers may be banned from penning areas of marts due to accident levels

File photo
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

Mart Co-Op boards are considering a series of recommendations drawn up to help reduce accident risk levels and lower insurance premiums.

Some of the country's marts have been struggling to cope with large insurance premiums.

Among the risk-reducing recommendations being considered after ICOS and marts met in December include ensuring that members of the public do not have access to the penning areas and central passageways. Also, that all mart staff wear jackets for clear identification.

In addition, mart drovers would supervise all loading and unloading of cattle.

One measure could include ensuring the back ramp is opened and closed by the farmer rather than mart staff as this would mark a transition from the farmer's insurance on to the mart.

"Farmers need to be aware over the next 12 to 24 months there will be changes to mart operation for safety. The world is changing and we have to change with it," said ICOS marts executive Ray Doyle.

"The penning areas and the passageways are areas that the mart industry will have to look at to change the way the public interact. They are the danger areas."

Mr Doyle said that a number of marts have installed overhead walkways. "It has been the practice over the last 60 years that people like to look at livestock at eye level. But maybe it will have to change as some of the insurance bills are unsustainable going forward."

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He said it would be best practice for all marts to adopt the same procedures so none are acting in isolation. Co-op boards are considering the recommendations and would meet again on it early next month.

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