Helping to keep zookeepers and elephants safe!
In June 2022, Architecture & Access had a wonderful opportunity to work with Zoos Victoria, TCL and ARM Architects on a design project to deliver two new Elephant barns, the Herd Barn and the Bull Barn for the Werribee Open Range Zoo. The Herd Barn is a 9m high building for female and calf elephants, a single storey operations area for keepers, and a detached utility shed. The Bull Barn is a similar building for adult male elephants.
Architecture & Access’s role in this project was to undertake Safety in Design (SiD) reviews on the design of the two barns and recommend design control measures to protect the health and safety of people including staff members, zookeepers and visitors.
One of the more unusual OHS hazards in this project was managing the interaction between people with animals. The design team ensured the layout of the barns protected the safety of both people and animals. The design prevented visual contact between un-trained zoo staff members and the elephants whilst allowing trained zookeepers to observe and communicate with the elephants. It was also important that the elephants could not reach any internal fixtures. Some of the more common OHS hazards that were assessed included roof access safety, manual handling associated with material storage and slips/trips associated with wet floors.
It was a pleasure to work on this very interesting project with Zoos Victoria, TCL and ARM Architects to help ensure the safety of the elephants and the people who care for them and enjoy them.
Architecture & Access’ Safety in Design process has been developed to assist designers of buildings and/or structures intended for use as workplaces (including elephant enclosures) to meet their obligations under the relevant sections of the state and federal WHS/OHS legislations. Our unique capacity enables our clients to tailor and value-add services to fulfill the safety and accessibility objectives of their project.
Written by Linus Tong, Safety in Design Consultant