On a late summer afternoon, a farm worker entered a 10-foot-deep manure pit on his family's farm for repairs. While attempting to climb out of the pit, the man was overcome by deadly gases and fell to the bottom of the pit. His 15-year-old nephew then tried to rescue him. He also collapsed. The boy's father, his cousin, and his grandfather, who owned the farm, entered the pit one by one, trying to rescue the boy and his uncle. Tragically, all five family members died.
This tragic accident happened in another state four years ago. Sadly, it's not unusual. Multiple deaths are common in accidents that involve manure pits. Workers quickly become victims. Rescuers also become victims.
Take proper precautions whenever you enter a manure pit. Always assume that deadly gases are present. And make sure that everyone in your operation, especially children, knows to stay away from manure pit systems at all times, even when the pits are empty.
If someone is found unconscious in a manure pit, contact an ambulance or local emergency medical service immediately. The caller should provide as many details as possible so that technicians bring proper equipment.
Remember that accidents that involve manure pits are preventable. Keep a tragedy from occurring in your operation.
For more information about safety in and around manure storage facilities, contact your local extension office. We'll give you a new SAFE FARM publication just for asking.
This radio public service announcement script was distributed by Iowa State University Extension as part of the Safe Farm Program. Safe Farm promotes health and safety in agriculture. It is funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Iowa State University, and a network of groups that serve Iowa farm workers and their families. Distribution date: November 1993.
Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More