Health and Safety Execu tive (HSE) ad vice on: Preventing or controlling ill health from animal contact at visitor attractions or open farms
All animals naturally carry a range of microorganisms, some of which can be transmitted to humans. Diseases passed from animals to hu mans are known as zoonoses, with some zoonotic diseases being more seriou s thanothers.
There are a range of zoonotic diseases that cou ld be acquired from animal contact at visitor attractions inclu d ing E. coli O157 and Cryptosporid iu m parvu m.
Simply carrying the bacterium will not normally cause an animal any harm or illness, bu t contact with contaminated animals or their faeces can cause illness ranging from diarrhoea to kidney failure in humans.
In some cases, the illness can be fatal. Young childrenand the elderly are at the greatest risk. Very low numbers of microorganisms cancause hu maninfection.
People can become infected by microorganisms su ch E. coli O157 or Cryptosporidiu mparvum through consuming contaminated food or drink, through direct contact with contaminated animals, or by contact with an environment contaminated with animal faeces.
Therefore, as with many other activities, visits to farms cannever be considered free from all risk.
However, implementing effective control measu res will help ensu re that the risk of infection from contact with animals is low.
If you invite the pu blic onto your farm:
‐ Decide whether you want to allow visitors to have direct contact with the animals.
‐ Tell them abou t the risks and where and whenthey will be able to u se washing facilities (in particu lar, remind nail biters, penchewers and thu mb su ckers).
‐ Provide informationsigns to remind them.
‐ Washing facilities shou ld be su fficient for the expected nu mbers of visitors needing to u se them at one time, and shou ld inclu de ru nning water (preferably warm), soap and paper towels.
‐ Provide training and supervision for workers on the need for visitors to wash and dry their hands thoroughly .
‐ If you are selling food for hu manconsu mptiondo so only after visitors have passed animal contact areas and washing facilities.
‐ Do not allow eating inparts of the farm where animals canbe touched.
Frequ ently asked qu estions ‐ Toilet and washing facilities:
What toilet and washing facilities d o I need to provid e on my farm for workers?
You mu st provide welfare facilities to protect workers from risks to their health. You may be able to provide these by allowing access to the farmhou se toilets and washing facilities, bu t you mu st ensu re that you keep washing facilities and food preparationareas separate. Facilities mu st be near the worksite and shou ld be available du ring all working hou rs. Where remote worksites are u sed irregu larly, for example harvesting crops, portable toilets fitted with adequ ate washing facilities, inclu ding soap and towels, are acceptable.
What washing facilities d o I need to provid e for visitors?
Where contact with animals is permitted you mu st provide well‐positioned washing facilities for your visitors.
Are antibacterial hand g els and cleansing wipes enough?
The short answer is no. Alcohol gels and wipes are not a su bstitu te for hand washing onfarms. If you have visitors to you r farm u sing bed and breakfast accommodation, tea rooms, caravanand camping site or attending events, eg steam fairs, please contact your local Environmental Health Department for advice.
For furth er informationvisit: www.hse.gov.uk/agriculture/topics/visitor‐attractions.h tm