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NIOSH warns: manure pits continue to claim lives.

Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 93-114, 1993 Jul; :1-2
This leaflet provided a warning concerning the hazards of entering a manure pit. Manure pits on livestock farms can develop oxygen deficient, toxic and explosive atmospheres, and farmers entering the pits to effect repairs can be overcome. As it is possible to have entered such a pit often in earlier times without encountering any problems, it is difficult to convince a farmer of the potential for death resulting from entering these confined spaces. Even so, particularly in summer months, the potential does exist. In many cases multiple deaths have occurred due to the entry of subsequent individuals attempting to rescue ones already in the pit who have been overcome by the fumes. Two cases were briefly cited, the first involving the death of a 27 year old employee on a hog farm and his 46 year old uncle who attempted to rescue him; both died of hydrogen- sulfide (7783064) poisoning. The second case involved the asphyxiation of a 43 year old dairy farm owner and his 23 year old son. Specific toxic gases which may be encountered include hydrogen- sulfide, ammonia (7664417), carbon-dioxide (124389), and methane (74828). Precautions include never entering a manure pit, posting hazard signs on all manure pits, providing access to all serviceable parts from outside the manure pit, and fitting all openings to manure pits with substantial metal grill covers.
Livestock-industry; Animal-husbandry; Toxic-gases; Accident-prevention; Safety-practices; Confined-spaces; Agricultural-workers; Oxygen-deficient-atmospheres
7783-06-4; 7664-41-7; 124-38-9; 74-82-8
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DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 93-114
NIOSH Division
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division