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Hog farmer dies from asphyxiation after manure pit agitation.

Iowa Department of Public Health
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 03IA058, 2005 Jun; :1-6
In the fall of 2003, a 42-year-old farmer was killed in a hog confinement building after he was overcome by toxic gases arising from agitation of the manure pit beneath the facility. Working alone very early in the morning, the farmer prepared the manure for removal by agitating the pit with a manure pump attached to a tractor power take off (PTO). After starting the agitation process, the farmer entered the building to retrieve a dead hog that he had noticed inside of the building (Photo 1). The mechanical ventilation system in the building was not in use and the building was totally enclosed at the time of his entrance. Later in the afternoon the farmer was found lying face down in the center of the building by his fiancé, who immediately called 911 for help. Upon arrival, emergency rescue personnel donned appropriate personal protective equipment and removed the farmer from the confinement building. Examination of the farmer revealed that he had been deceased for several hours prior to the discovery of his body. Recommendations based on our investigation are as follows: 1. Hazards of working in and around manure pits should be regularly and effectively communicated to farmers. 2. Pits and confinement areas should be ventilated before, during and after the agitation of manure. 3. No workers should be inside animal confinement buildings during agitation of manure pits beneath the buildings. 4. Farmers should have proper respiratory protection and a rescue capability in place when entering a manure pit.
Region-7; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-operations; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-performance; Work-practices; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Protective-measures; Farmers; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-machinery; Agricultural-workers; Agriculture; Gases; Confined-spaces
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement; Grant
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-03IA058; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-708674; Grant-Number-T42-OH-008491
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Iowa Department of Public Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division