Manure is a fact of farm life if you raise livestock. There’s a lot more to managing manure than the just the odor, including an element of safety. Manure pits can be oxygen-deficient, toxic, and explosive. The best precaution is to understand the sources of air quality problems, and what to do to reduce or eliminate them.
Photo Courtesy of USDA NRCS 12
To prevent exposure to the dangers of manure gas everyone in the family should follow these rules:
• Never enter a manure pit.
• Label manure pits and manure storage areas to warn of the hazards.
• Obtain and use monitoring equipment to determine the level of gases present.
• If entrance is necessary, a self-contained breathing apparatus must be worn by someone trained in its use.
• A safety harness should be worn and monitoring should continue while someone is in the manure storage area.
Never try to rescue someone who is unconscious in a manure storage structure unless you have the proper equipment and knowledge of the situation. Often a rescuer becomes a second victim. Remember, children who are less knowledgeable than adults may be at the greatest risk. Curiosity can lure children into dangerous situations where they may become the next victim to a deadly gas.
Have you ever had a “close call” with manure gases on your farm?
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