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The dangers of farm slurry have once again been brought to the forefront of workplace injury news. The death of a little boy on a farm in Ireland has led to more information about the toxic fumes being broadcast in an attempt to reduce the number of incidents relating to it.
Slurry fumes are very dangerous and are created when farm workers mix together manure and water left over from the waste produced by animals stored indoors over winter. The manure is stored and spread across crops during the summer months as a fertiliser.
When the mix is complete a noxious gas is naturally produced which sits above the surface of the slurry and it can kill within seconds. Barclay Bell from the Ulster Farmers’ Union says that the tanks are stored with slurry inside for a number of months which allows enough time for gases to build up; these gases include methane, carbon dioxide and ammonia. He adds that the most dangerous
one of all is hydrogen sulphide.
A high amount of hydrogen sulphide cancels out your sense of smell which makes it more dangerous as you do not know when exposure has increased as it is invisible; it makes you disorientated and can affect your nervous system.
The Health and Safety Executive has said that wearing a face mask is inconsequential and that breathing apparatus with a separate air supply needs to be used when handling farm slurry. It also advises that slurry should be mixed on a windy day so that it is circulated into the air more readily. If it is being mixed indoors then windows and doors must be opened for more aeration.
If you have been affected by an accident at work; whether this is on a farm, in a factory or in an office then Jefferies Solicitors could help you with your personal injury compensation claim. If you would like more advice on how to make a workplace claim then please get in touch with our no win no fee solicitors on 0800 342 3206 or complete an online claim form.
Published 11th February 2015.