HSENI has launched its third Farm Safe Essential message, ‘Give Slurry Space’, which offers guidance when mixing slurry.
The farm safe essentials messages aim to drill down into the key elements and key issues which are the main causes of major incidents and deaths on our farms.
The first Farm Safe Essentials message, ‘No Brakes, No Chance’, was launched during this year’s Farm Safety Week, while the second message, ‘Plan Safe Spaces’ focusing on bulls, was launched last month.
The third message, ‘Give Slurry Space’, encourages the farming community to consider the risks when mixing slurry and more specifically to stay out of the shed for at least 30 minutes after mixing starts.
A spokesperson for HSENI said: “It is extremely important for HSENI to get slurry safety messages out now before the closed period for slurry spreading which starts at midnight on October 15th.”
“Coming up to this date can be a particularly busy time for farmers and so HSENI are urging farmers to follow the slurry mixing code.”
One breath of slurry gas can kill
Slurry gas is a mixture of gases, at low concentrations, it can knock out your sense of smell, so you will not even know it is there.
At higher concentrations, you will find it increasingly harder to breathe, you can become confused or even become unconscious.
At the highest concentrations during mixing operations, just one breath of slurry gas can kill.
HSENI is proposing the following guidance:
- Leave the shed immediately once mixing starts;
- Stay out of the shed for at least 30 minutes from the start of mixing;
- Never go into the shed to check if the tank is mixing properly or to redirect the pump until at least 30 minutes has passed;
- If the pump is repositioned restart the pump and leave the shed immediately, stay out of the shed for at least another 30 minutes as more pockets of gas may be released;
- Make sure that no-one else enters the shed during mixing and keep children and animals away;
- Always follow the safe slurry mixing code.
The ‘slurry mixing code’:
- Keep children away from the area at all times when working with slurry;
- If possible, mix on a windy day;
- Open all doors;
- Take all animals out of the building before starting to mix slurry;
- Use outside mixing points first;
- If slats are removed, cover exposed areas of the tank beside the pump-mixer to stop anything falling in;
- Start the pump-mixer – then get out and stay out of the building for as long as possible – at least 30 minutes;
- Any time you have to go into the building try to make sure that another adult knows what you are doing and can get help if necessary;
- If you have to re-enter to move the pump or change the direction of the pump, leave the building as soon as this is done – do not go back in for as long as possible – at least another 30 minutes.
- Rely on filter type facemasks;
- Use gas monitors as a substitute for working safely;
- Have naked flames near slurry, as slurry gas mixture is flammable;
- Stand close to the exhaust of a vacuum tanker when it is being filled.
If you find someone has been overcome during slurry mixing, if possible, stop the pump and get the person to fresh air but do not put yourself at risk in the process, the HSENI warns.
If breathing is weak or stopped, artificial respiration may be effective. Contact the emergency services and seek immediate medical attention.