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                FARM SAFETY
SPRING 2021 ❁ BC HOLSTEIN NEWS 21 For Everybody's Benefit
  Use Caution When Working Around Manure Gas
BC dairy farmers work tirelessly to ensure the health and safety of their farms, staff and families. However, every year there are several incidents reported to WorkSafeBC involving harmful manure gas exposure on dairy farms.
The effects of exposure to manure gas depend on the level and duration of exposure, and can range from headaches and unconsciousness to death. Any time liquid manure is pumped or agitated, it releases a potentially serious level of hydrogensulfide(H2S)gasthat,inaddition to being toxic, is also flammable and an explosion hazard.
Helping to keep BC dairy farmers safe
Working in partnership, WorkSafeBC, AgSafe, and the BC Dairy Association recently initiated an outreach to BC dairy farmers about the dangers of H2S in the industry, and to highlight health and safety controls that can be put in place to prevent hazardous H2S exposure. The communication serves as a reminder of the significant dangers when working in and around manure storage and holding facilities (pits, tanks, manure spreaders) and how to access assistance if there are any questions or concerns. To support dairy farmers in maintaining healthy and safe workplaces, on-site H S monitoring
Understanding the dangers of working around manure gas
Incidents involving exposure to toxic manure gases are often underestimated because of their poor warning properties. These deadly gases can’t be seen, and by the time you smell or feel their effects it might be too late. Once a worker is overcome by the effects of H2S, they may not be able to move to safety or call for help.
Being a by-product of decomposing manure, the level of H2S produced is unpredictable and can vary greatly depending on many factors such as temperature, moisture, type and volume of containment system, ventilation, and wind. Often, incidents involving H2S go unreported because there is generally no physical injury after exposure.
The following are safe agitation guidelines that can help prevent manure gas incidents:
• Remove all people, livestock and pets from area
We want to help prevent incidents involving manure storage and handling. In addition to offering monitoring assistance, signs outlining safe agitation guidelines are available upon request. These (free) signs are designed to be displayed at dairy producer workplaces, and are a helpful health and safety reminder to anyone working around manure gas.
Understanding the dangers of manure gas – and the safe work practices to take to reduce your exposure – can help to prevent manure agitation incidents.
For more information to help you work safely around manure gas, you can find free resources on (search for “hydrogensulfide”)orlookforthepamphlet “Dairy H2S Exposure” at
assistance is available through AgSafe at
• Agitate/ventilate and stay away for at least 30 minutes
• Do not enter tanks, even when empty
Free resources and monitoring available
• Agitate on windy days – work upwind • If working alone, notify someone
• Use a personal H S monitor
• Open all doors and control access
To request signs or to ask for monitoring assistance, please call 1-877-533-1789.
   Use caution
when working around manure gas
To request monitoring assistance or your safe agitation guidelines sign, call 1.877.533.1789

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