following script can be used to deliver a 15- minute training
session to employees.
exposure to dust and spores.
exposure to gases.
and mold spores are encountered in many agricultural activities,
and are often associated with respiratory illnesses, such as
Farmers Lung, Q Fever, Toxic Organic Dust Syndrome, and Extrinsic
The prevention of particle release and control of dust is achieved
by providing leak proof ducts and enclosed conveyor systems
for grains and feeds. Buildings should have local ventilation
systems in areas frequented by workers where particulates become
airborne. For field operations self-propelled equipment should
have enclosed cabs provided with filtered air. Where crushers,
grinders and mixers are used, the area should be enclosed to
contain the airborne materials.
There are several practices that can either help prevent the
growth of mold spores or limit the damage they can cause. The
following measures are recommended:
Harvested crops such as hay and grains should be dry when stored
(14% moisture content) Hay with a high risk of spoilage should
be stored in silage instead of being baled. Ventilate areas
where bales are being opened and wear respiratory protection
when doing so.
Sprinkling one litre of water onto the cut side of the bale
immediately before opening or chopping it can reduce airborne
molds and dusts. Anti-fungal agents may be applied to fresh
material and hypochlorite solution may be used for grain. However
a risk of chemical fume inhalation may be created.
Indoor humidity should be maintained below 80% to reduce air
borne organisms. Rotating crops will help to decrease fungal
Fungi and dust from grain and animal confinement can be eliminated
by using pellet feed rather than dusty chopped feed, or by substituting
silage for hay.
When cleaning use a wet process.
Use a fork to spread out open bales rather than doing it manually.
Moisten the top layer of silage before opening it.
In the fields, you can lower the speed of equipment to reduce
the release of fine particles.
Organize equipment and work practices so that any prevailing
wind can carry the dust away from your face.
Indoor dust minimizing practices include pressure washing with
cold water, water with additives and sprinkling with agents
such as vegetable oil. Animal feeding should be done just before
leaving a room to limit worker exposure. Fast dumping of large
amounts of material creates greater amounts of dust.
A variety of potentially toxic gases are produced during many
routine agricultural operations. These gases are commonly produced
in areas such as silos and manure pits.
- (mainly in silos)
distributing the silage should be done by mechanical means if
possible. Do not enter a silo until 2-3 weeks after filling,
post warning signs, and run the blowers for at least 30 minutes
before entering a filled silo. Workers entering a silo should
wear an air supplied full face respirator and follow confined
space entry procedures.
- ensure that equipment such as gas heaters,
pressure washers and vehicles are functioning properly. When
working indoors ensure the building is well ventilated, especially
where internal combustion engines may be operating.
- Ammonia concentration can be reduced in poultry
barns by the use of peat for litter. Keep bedding dry to reduce
Ammonia levels, low-residue flooring, such as wire mesh or narrow
slats, keeps urine and faces from accumulating resulting in
less ammonia evaporation and pulverization of feed and fecal
To reduce ammonia levels in livestock buildings, prevent air
leakage through manure channels. Exhaust as much air as possible
through the manure channels. Use tight fitting hatches, water
traps or evacuation fans to eliminate air leakage.
To decrease hydrogen sulfide leaks, there should be a gas trap
between the confinement building and outside storage, airflow
should be directed towards the floor to keep dust and gases
from entering the breathing zone of the worker.
Manure should not sit in the pit for more than three weeks.
Do not enter manure pits during agitation.
If manure is beneath a slatted floor, plenty of water should
be used to keep manure solids submerged and the gases in solution.
Pesticides, fertilizers, and sanitizers are common farm chemicals
which produce harmful fumes.
Always follow label direction when handling these chemicals.
Regularly maintain spraying equipment to avoid rupture/leaking
valves crossing threading leaking valves and hose that may become
disconnected. Spray booms should be on the back of the vehicle
thus reducing the worker exposure to chemicals.
Personal protective equipment.
The selection of specific types of protective equipment depends
on the hazard present and the amount of filtering necessary.
There are two general types of air-purifying respirators: the
mechanical filter and the chemical cartridge.
protect against certain gases and
all but the most toxic vapours. Its primary function is to remove
organic vapours. Chemical cartridges that work in conjunction
with a specific mechanical filer should be used for protection
during spray painting or pesticide application.
Do not use chemical cartridge filters when working with gases
or vapors that cannot be effectively filtered out by the cartridge,
regardless of concentration.
A mechanical filter
respirator with toxic dust approval
should be used to protect against grain dust and molds. It should
be tightly sealed around the nose and mouth. Do not use a mechanical
filter for protection from chemicals or toxic gases.
Powered air purifiers can be a mechanical filter, a chemical
cartridge or both. They may be preferred for excessively high
concentration of dust or pesticides, but they cannot be used
in oxygen-limited environments. Gas masks are more effective
than chemical cartridge respirators against high concentrations
of toxic gases, but should not be used in oxygen-limited environments.
Air supplied respirators- two types of air supplied respirators
are approved for use in oxygen deficient areas, such as manure
pits, silos containing silo gas, air-tight silos or bins containing
high-moisture grain. They are hose mask with blower and emergency
air supply and the self-contained breathing apparatus.
These respirators all offer effective protection against toxic
dust. The primary differences are the quality of fit, the length
of time the protection will be provided and the cost.
Finally, let's take a moment to review some of the Do's and
Don'ts of respiratory hazards.
wet hay, grain or other crops.
a wet process when cleaning.
chemical cartridges for toxic organic vapours.
a silo or manure pit without an air-supplied full
a mechanical filter for protection from chemicals
or toxic gases.
The information and recommendations contained in this publication
are believed to be reliable and representative of contemporary
expert opinion on the subject material. The Farm Safety Association
Inc. does not guarantee absolute accuracy or sufficiency of
subject material, nor can it accept responsibility for health
and safety recommendations that may have been omitted due
to particular and exceptional conditions and circumstances.
Copyright © 2002
Farm Safety Association Inc.
22-340 Woodlawn Road West, Guelph, Ontario N1H 7K6 (519) 823-5600.
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.