Safety Recommendations and Practices


In November, 2008 Manure Gas Safety – Review of Practices and Recommendations for Wisconsin Lifestock Farms was completed. The following is the Introduction from the report.

The death of five people from hydrogen sulfide inhalation on a Virginia dairy farm in July 2007 was a grim reminder of the hazards posed by gases associated with manure handling systems. The threat of accidents, combined with the increasing scale and complexity of manure management systems, prompted the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to convene an interagency team (members are listed in Appendix A) to review safety considerations related to certain manure handling practices. In particular, the safety review team focused on the expanding use of drive-in, covered storage tanks and transfer channelsintended to be entered with machinery for removing sand bedding. This was identified as a potentially hazardous practice.

The team met from August 2007 to July 2008 to assess the safety aspects of this and other manure management practices and to provide recommendations to reduce the risk of accidents from manure management system gases. The group developed findings and reached recommendations through a consensus process that relied on the expert contributions from individual members and the review of research and industry findings and recommendations.

This report contains the findings and recommendations of the team. Chief among its findings, the team concluded that safety considerations currently incorporated into manure system designs and included in operation and maintenance plans have not kept pace with changes in manure management and the associated risks of manure gases. Safer system designs and management practices, along with increased awareness of these dangers, will be needed to help prevent manure gas tragedies from occurring on Wisconsin farms.

This report addresses the following areas:

  • Information and education
  • Revision to technical standards
  • Identification and notification to owners of unsafe systems
  • Adoption of safety measures and practices
  • Improved safety planning

A complete pdf of the report is available at this link. Manure Gas Safety Report

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