Agricultural activities (stockyards)


​​​​​​Guideline review date: 28 October 2021​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

This guideline is provided to support schools in implementing the managing risks in school curriculum activities procedure.

The CARA planner (DOCX, 600KB) must be used for the specific school context in conjunction with this guideline considering additional risks, hazards and controls and including environmental, facility, equipment and student considerations.

For activities beyond the scope of this guideline, complete a CARA record using the CARA generic template (DOCX, 488KB).

Activity scope

This guideline relates to students working in and around stockyards as an activity to support curriculum delivery. Stockyards are defined as temporary holding enclosures where livestock is handled and/or confined.​​

Depending on the scope of this activity, other risk assessments may be required when planning. Curriculum activities encompassing more than one CARA guideline (e.g. agricultural activities (light vehicles, towing and trailers) guideline and animal observation and handling guideline (when performing livestock husbandry guideline) must comply with the requirements of all CARA guidelines appropriate to the activity.

For activities conducted at a non-Department of Education venue, and/or when engaging external expertise, request written risk assessment advice and attach it to this CARA record.

For activities conducted off-site, schools must comply with the school excursions procedure.

Risk level

High risk
Working around or with unpredictable animals; use of stockyard crushes, races, gates and equipment; exposure to biohazards and veterinary chemicals and livestock vehicles reversing to load/unload.

Activity requirements

If any requirement cannot be met, the activity must not occur.

If any other safety recommendation cannot be met, modify the activity (or elements of it) and/or identify and use the hierarchy of controls to implement alternative control measures to meet or exceed the minimum safety standard.

Reference to the children and young workers – Code of Practice 2006 (PDF, 436KB), the WorkSafe serious about farm safety guide and the hazardous manual tasks – Code of Practice 2011 is required when planning this activity.

Schools must comply with animal welfare legislation. Consult the department's animals in education webpage. Comply with animals in Queensland State Schools procedure​ when handling live animals.

The guide to managing electrical equipment in departmental schools and workplaces and the standard operating procedures (SOP) for equipment and machinery resources must be followed.

Stock-handling aids must be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s operating instructions and the relevant animal welfare and transport codes of practice.

Stockyards, handling facilities, loading ramps and vehicle access roads must follow WorkSafe advice for stockyard design.

The risks associated with working at heights, confined spaces (PDF, 1.5MB), biological, asbestos, slip/trip/fall and noise must be assessed and managed.

Local government building and planning requirements must be complied with.

Permission/permits are required to be obtained from land managers (e.g. local councils or private landholders), if applicable.

Parents/carers must be informed about the necessity of relevant vaccinations (e.g. Q fever).


Parent consent (DOCX, 306KB) is required for all activities conducted off-site and strongly recommended for high risk activities conducted on-site.


Principals make final supervision decisions for the activity. Sufficient adult supervision must be provided to manage the activity safely (including emergency situations).

For activities with students with a medical condition or disability that may impact on safety during the activity, consultation with parents is required prior to allocating supervision to determine the impact of students' disability on safety during the activity.

The number of adult supervisors required to fulfil emergency and supervision roles must consider the nature of the activity, students' ages, abilities and specialised learning, access and/or health needs.

All adult supervisors able to identify, and respond to, risks or hazards that may emerge during the activity.

Before the activity, all adult supervisors:

  • must be familiar with the contents of the CARA record
  • must assess weather conditions and obtain accurate information and expected conditions prior to undertaking the activity, inspecting the intended location in order to identify variable risks, hazards and potential dangers. Prevent hazards by ensuring appropriate control measures are in place for unfavourable weather conditions (e.g. dampen dust during high wind, control slipping hazards after rain).

During the activity, all adult supervisors:

  • must be readily identifiable
  • must closely monitor students with health support needs
  • must comply with control measures from the CARA record and adapt as hazards arise
  • must suspend the activity if the conditions become unfavourable (e.g. poor visibility, extreme temperatures, thunderstorms).

Supervisor qualifications

Principals make final decisions in determining supervisor capability (competence, relevance and currency) and are responsible for encouraging and enabling school-based activity supervisors to raise their qualifications to improve safety standards.

All adult supervisors must comply with the working with children authority—Blue cards procedure and be able to identify, and respond to, risks or hazards that may emerge during the activity.

A registered teacher must be appointed to maintain overall responsibility for the activity.

At least one adult supervisor is required to be:

For high risk activities:

Facilities and equipment

The qualified adult supervisor of the activity, in consultation with the principal, determines the requirements for facilities and equipment appropriate to the local context.

Consult chemicals in curriculum activities for support in assessing the risks of chemicals used with/by students in curriculum activities.

If a CARA record is required in OneSchool, a summary of chemicals, plant, equipment and/or materials used in the activity must be provided by entering directly onto the CARA record in OneSchool or by attaching a summary. Sample templates are provided in chemicals in curriculum activities and plant, equipment and materials in curriculum activities.

Location must be suitable for the activity being undertaken. Undertake a reconnaissance of new or infrequently used locations to ascertain suitability. Ensure surfaces around stockyards (including races, processing and dipping areas) are even and clear of obstacles that may pose hazards.

Participants must wear personal protective equipment as relevant (e.g. appropriate enclosed footwear [steel cap boots when relevant], leather gloves [if using split posts or other splintering timber or barbed wire], hearing protection, safety glasses with Australian Standards specification, breathing protection [e.g. mask] to protect against airborne particles).

Equipment must be sized to match the ability and strength of students.

Agricultural machinery must conform to Australian Standards, be fit for purpose, in good working order, properly maintained and used in accordance with manufacturers' instructions and relevant codes of practice, and safe operating procedures (SOP).

A maintenance schedule (e.g. checking for damage, repairing, sharpening) must be established and enacted for all plant and equipment used in the activity (e.g. hand/power tools, machinery). Consult Equipment Maintenance Records (EMR) and Plant and Equipment Risk Assessments (PERA) documents.

A retirement schedule must be developed to replace plant and equipment by manufacturers' nominated expiry date or when significant wear causes a hazard.

A process for checking for damage for all equipment used in the activity must be established and employed.

If privately owned equipment is being used, principal approval and owner consent/insurance details must be obtained prior to the activity.

Common hazards and control

Further to those listed, include any additional hazards and control measures considering the local context of the activity.

Environmental hazards Control measures
Animals Ensure appropriate animal husbandry practices for livestock are followed.
Animal bites/diseases
Stings, poisoning, infection
Ensure the location is clear of obstacles and wildlife (e.g. snakes) that may pose hazards.

Control allergen and disease risks associated with working with animals and with dust, dry matter and airborne organisms in stockyards (e.g. Q fever).

Follow appropriate hand washing procedures after working in and around animal environments.

Environmental conditions
Weather, surfaces, surrounds

The school's sun safety strategy must be followed.

Follow the managing excessive heat in schools guidelines when participating in very hot or extreme heat conditions.

Drink breaks to occur regularly. Make water available for individual participants between drink breaks.

Facilities and equipment hazards Control measures
Burns, electrocution
If power is required, ensure electrical or extension leads do not pose a tripping hazard.
Faulty or dangerous equipment Equipment situated where it does not pose potential hazards.
Hazardous substances
Corrosive, flammable, carcinogenic, volatile chemicals
Ensure all chemicals required for the decontamination processes are arranged in advance and are readily available.
Heights/falling objects
Falling from height

Assess and manage risks associated with working at heights.

Exclusion zones clearly marked to prevent falling objects striking participants when working at heights.

Vehicles Ensure and monitor safe access to and from the stockyards considering flow of vehicles, powerlines, structures and domestic premises.
Student considerations Control measures
Injury Students aware of the location of emergency and first-aid equipment.
Manual handling
Lifting equipment

Use correct manual handling processes when lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling or carrying.

Ensure appropriate lifting equipment is used to lift heavy objects or materials.

Physical exertion
Exhaustion and fatigue

Continually monitor participants for signs of fatigue and exhaustion.

Establish rest stops, considering the age and fitness level of students.

Adopt system of signals to clearly communicate the need for assistance if in difficulty.

Slips, trips, falls Assess and manage potential fall, trip and crushing hazards (e.g. surfaces with poor footing, obstacles, high loads). Consult preventing slips, trips and falls fact sheet.
Student issues
Student numbers, special needs, high risk behaviours, medical conditions, separation from the group

Establish and maintain a safety zone around the area where agricultural machinery is in use.

Students must be supervised in a safe location when not actively receiving instruction.


Have students wear easily identifiable clothing.

Ensure staff can easily recognise those students with health support needs and are familiar with their needs.


This information is developed and distributed on this website by the State of Queensland for use by Queensland state schools only.

Use or adaptation of, or reliance on, this information by persons or organisations other than the State of Queensland is at their sole risk. All users who use, adapt or rely on this information are responsible for ensuring by independent verification its accuracy, currency and appropriateness to their particular circumstances. The State of Queensland makes no representations, either express or implied, as to the suitability of this information to a user's particular circumstances.

To the full extent permitted by law, the State of Queensland disclaims all responsibility and liability (including without limitation, liability in negligence) for all expenses, losses, damages and costs arising from the use or adaptation of, or reliance on, this information.

Links to external websites are for convenience only and the State of Queensland has not independently verified the information on the linked websites. It is the responsibility of users to make their own decisions about the accuracy, currency, reliability and correctness of the information at these external websites.

Last updated 13 July 2022