H & S Guidance – Farm Visits

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This guidance is intended for farms operating as leisure activities where visitors come to visit farm animals as an attraction. The HSE website offers a host of guidance for the agricultural sector on general farm safety. There is also guidance on open farms on the site


The guidance offers advice on how to reduce the risk of ill health to visitors. Ill health following visits to open farms is unusual. Such visits are educational and enjoyable. However, if you open your premises to visitors you have to meet your legal duties under health and safety law. In particular the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 require you to assess the risk of exposure to hazardous substances, which include micro-organisms.

All animals carry a range of micro-organisms, some which can cause ill-health in humans. E coli O157 in particular can cause severe illness in children.


Ensure you have the following important controls in place:

  • Good general cleanliness
  • Separate eating and animal contact areas
  • Adequate hand-washing facilities with hot and cold water, suitable soap and hand drying facilities
  • Information for staff and visitors
  • Information for staff and visitors on hygiene
  • Supervision of animal contact and hand washing


HSE Information sheet. Avoiding ill health at open farms; advice to farmers and teachers