Watch: slurry safety on the farm
A mixture of manure and water, slurry is used by farmers as a natural fertiliser for their crops.
However, slurry pits can be extremely dangerous, and present two main risks to farmers – drowning and being overcome by fumes.
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), drowning is by far the most common cause of death involving slurry. Children and the elderly are at particular risk. In the period 2000 to 2010, 30% of child fatal accidents on farms were caused by drowning in slurry or water. In the same period 8% of deaths to elderly farmers were caused by drowning.
Agitation is the most dangerous part of slurry spreading. It is at this mixing stage that the invisible gases are produced that can kill within seconds. The tricky part about fumes emanating from slurry pits is that they are odourless – so no smell is not an indicator of the absence of gas.
Use outdoor agitation points where possible – one lung-full of slurry gas can kill
However, one breath or lung-full of hydrogen sulphide released from slurry agitation causes instant death.
Here are some tips from the HSE to keep you and your family safe during slurry agitation season:
In the video below, our machinery editor James Maloney talks to Tom Ryan from Kildalton College about how to agitate safely.