Deaths of Farm Workers in Manure Pits
The growth of Agri industries in the U.S. has increased the size of agricultural operations to unimaginable proportions. As a result, farm workers fatalities in manure pits are a growing concern of the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Deaths have occurred in Virginia and in an Idaho manure pond were 200,000 lbs. of manure is produced every day on a dairy farm.
How Do Deaths Occur in Manure Pits?There are several ways deaths occur in manure pits. Some of these are enclosed tanks, while others are located on dairy farm properties in lagoons.
- Hydrogen Sulfide
- Carbon Dioxide
NIOSH RecommendationsNIOSH recommendations for farm workers to prevent injury or death include:
- Never enter a manure pit unless absolutely necessary and only when proper safeguards have been taken
- The atmosphere within the pit should be tested before entry,
- If the atmosphere is toxic or oxygen-deficient, do not enter without proper respiratory protection
- A standby person should be in constant contact and ready to lift the worker to safety with mechanical lifting equipment (winch, hoist, or pulley), and
- Anyone entering a manure pit should wear a safety belt or harness with a lifeline tied to the mechanical lifting device
- Never enter a manure pit to attempt a rescue without proper respiratory protection"