Safety When Working With Slurry

With the high rate of associated accidents over the years many farmers will be aware of the dangers of working with slurry. In particular since the nitrates directive has enforced the need for long term storage leading to deeper tanks and more time for gas to build up.

The most dangerous situations arise when the risks are unknown and where there is little immediate help available.

This unfortunately is the case with slurry. With many f arm ers working on their own, when accidents happen it can be hours before anybody is aware of the situation to be able to do something about it. And although m any now are aware of the dangers associated with slurry, the biggest risk is still hard to identify noxious & deadly gases.

These gases pose a deadly risk for the following reasons:

– Due to the longer storage periods, they have time to build up in deadly quantities –

– They cannot be seen and therefore hard to detect –

– Two breathes is all it takes, so even the odours are not a safe indicator –

– They are heavier than air and therefore rest at low levels. As a result they can be difficult to ventilate and detect with gas alarms –

– Even if you are only slightly overcome by the odours, you are working in a hazardous environment were one slip could be deadly. –

Therefore it is key that those who work with slurry take the necessary precautions before any mixing takes place to make sure they are not caught out.


Before mixing the slurry, make sure the surrounding area is secure and that no person or animal (livestock & pets) can get access to the working zone (tank, shed, mixing points, ventilation points). Make sure those approaching the zone are warned to keep away (signage).


Remove all livestock from the tank area. This does not just mean the area where you are mixing. Gases are more than likely to travel to the other end of the tank before they are forced up.


Make sure there is sufficient ventilation throughout the mixing zone. This means air blowing in and out of the zone After these three steps are taken, only then should you start to mix the tank.

For more information on working safely with slurry click on the links below:

HSENI Website
HSA Website

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