NASD Barn and Manure Storage Safety by dam48159


									                                                                                              Bulletin 2304

        Maine Farm Safety
by Dawna L. Cyr, farm safety project assistant, and Steven B. Johnson, Ph.D., Extension crops specialist

Barn and Manure Storage Safety

              ost farms have barns.           Hay Storage
              They tend to be                     Guard all hay chutes in the hay
              overlooked when doing           mow. Trap doors, cages or railings
              safety checks. Barns pose       should be present at hay chutes to
many safety hazards to workers and            prevent anyone from accidentally falling
visitors. With a little time and effort,      into them. Repair all trap doors or
many of these hazards can be lessened         railings that are not sturdy. Make a trap
or eliminated.                                door for any unguarded hay chute. This
                                              will cover the chute when it is not in
General Housekeeping                          use.
    Keep floors clean and dry to avoid
slips and falls. Replace old and worn
planks in the floor to prevent falls or
                                                 Barn and Manure Storage Safety
breakthroughs. Stow away hay ropes
and pitchforks to avoid accidental
                                                • Keep floors clean              • Farm ponds and
hangings and puncture wounds. Don’t
                                                   and dry.                         manure lagoons
leave baling twine, hay wire and old                                                should be fenced
fence wire hanging. Shield controls for         • Guard chutes, trap
                                                                                    and posted with
augers in cattle barns and electrical             doors and other
                                                                                    warning signs.
boxes in humid areas like a milk house.           possible hazards.
                                                • Avoid storing moldy
                                                                                 • Ventilate manure
Repair trap doors and railings. Keep all
                                                                                    pits during
cleaning and veterinary supplies out of           or damp hay indoors.
                                                                                    agitation with a
reach of animals and children.                  • Ventilate to reduce               cycle of detergent
                                                  dust and mold.                    and water only.
                  To help prevent mold growth, store      Manure Pits
              only fully dried hay at a moisture
                                                              On-farm storage of animal manure
              content appropriate for the length of
                                                          is becoming more common in Maine
              storage in a structure that prevents
                                                          every year. Some systems for storing
              moisture from entering. Large round
                                                          the manure are more dangerous than
              bales tend to contain mold spores,
                                                          others. Below-ground storage facilities,
              especially when stored outside. Use
                                                          or pits, are more hazardous than above-
              caution and respiratory equipment if
                                                          ground structures. Systems that are
              necessary when feeding. Moldy hay can
                                                          covered by lids, caps or slotted floors
              heat up and can pose respiratory
                                                          are more hazardous than uncovered
              hazards to humans and animals.
                                                          systems. Thus, the most dangerous
                                                          storage facilities are pits located within
              Dusts in Livestock Confinement
                                                          buildings or directly beneath livestock.
                Moving, handling, or feeding animals      Pump-out pits or caps can also be very
            can create air quality problems with          hazardous. Failed storage structures
            dust. Inadequate or improper ventilation      may also cause significant losses of fish
            or confinement compounds this                 and other aquatic species if near
            problem. The seasons pose more                streams or lakes.
                                     problems. Tightly
                                     closed buildings         Toxic gases such as hydrogen sulfide
Regular cleaning with                in cold weather do   (H2S), carbon dioxide, ammonia and
                                     not provide enough   methane are present in every manure
a power washer and                   circulation and      storage area. Covered or enclosed tank
installing floors that               many contain         facilities present the greatest danger,
are as self-cleaning as              poorly vented or     especially when manure is being
possible can reduce                  improperly           agitated or pumped out of the structure.
                                     functioning          Little gas is produced or accumulates
dust levels.                         heaters. In warm     when the manure is still and natural air
                                     weather, fans and    movement or ventilation from fans
                                     open doors create    prevents gas buildup. If manure pits are
            wind that kicks up dust. Regular              underneath the barn, there is great risk.
            cleaning with a power washer and              Hydrogen sulfide produced during
            installing floors that are as self-cleaning   agitation can kill people and animals
            as possible can reduce dust levels. Feed      within minutes at high concentrations.
            falls a shorter distance with extended        Never enter a manure pit during or just
            spouts on automatic feed delivery             after agitation because there is always
            systems and produces less dust. Covers        the possibility of deadly concentration
            on feed spouts, pelleted feed, or the         of this gas. Plumbing and pumping
            addition of fat to feed will help reduce      equipment should be installed so that it
            dust levels. Keep ventilation systems in      can be easily removed for repairs.
            top working order.

   Before agitation, take steps to ensure     Manure Lagoons and Farm Ponds
the welfare of the animals and people
                                                   Install and maintain a fence around
working in the area. Remove all people
                                              the area of farm ponds
and animals if possible. If animals
                                              and manure lagoons. An
cannot be removed, maximize
                                              adequate fence will keep
ventilation and agitate slurry very
                                              unsupervised visitors
slowly at first. Monitor the condition of
                                              away and prevent
the animals. If the animals act restless or
                                              drownings. Liquid
agitated or abnormal, stop the agitation
                                              manure can become
immediately and ventilate the area.
                                              crusty on top and look
                                              solid enough to walk on.
    Take safety precautions when
                                              It is also a good idea to
entering manure pits. It is easy to be
                                              post warning signs near
overcome by the gases coming from the
                                              manure lagoons which
pit. Never enter a manure pit or spreader
                                              state: “Danger — Surface
tank alone. Wear an air-supplying
                                              is not solid.”
respirator that you have been trained to
use and maintain. Also wear a safety
                                                  Construct manure
harness and lifeline connected to a
                                              storage pits outside confinement
stationary object outside the pit with at
                                              buildings, above or below ground, and
least two people ready to pull you out.
                                              in a way that gases cannot move back
                                              into the buildings. Make sure that
    When someone collapses in a pit,
                                              pumping equipment can be quickly
gases are so concentrated that it is
                                              and easily removed for repairs or
suicidal for anyone else to enter without
                                              adjustment. Attach a hinge or chain to
a self-contained breathing apparatus.
                                              covers or lids on storage areas to
The only reasonable immediate action is
                                              prevent them from falling into the
to ventilate the storage area and notify
                                              storage pit.
rescue personnel who can bring the
proper equipment. Barn fans and silo
blowers may be activated to provide
ventilation, but do not lower fans into
the pit because this could cause methane

    This Maine Farm Safety fact sheet is part of an educational fact sheet series produced by University of
    Maine Cooperative Extension. For more information on farm safety, contact your county Extension

                              For the most current Extension publications, see our online catalog at
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    Published and distributed in furtherance of Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, the
    Land Grant University of the state of Maine and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Cooperative Extension and other agencies of the
    U.S.D.A. provide equal opportunities in programs and employment. 9/02


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