Alert - Request for Assistance in Preventing Deaths of Farm Workers in Manure Pits


The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) requests assistance in preventing deaths of farm workers in manure pits. An urgent need exists to inform farm owners and workers about the dangers of entering such pits, where oxygen- deficient, toxic, and/or explosive atmospheres often result from fermentation of the wastes in confined areas. These hazards have been known for several years. However, recent NIOSH investigations conducted under the NIOSH Fatal Accident Circumstances and Epidemiology (FACE) Program suggest that farm workers are unaware of the danger, and many deaths continue to occur as a result of entry into manure pits.

This Alert describes seven deaths from asphyxiation (suffocation) that occurred during two incidents involving entry into manure pits. The recommendations included in the Alert should be followed by all farm owners and operators who have manure pits on their property. Editors of appropriate trade journals, agriculture extension agents, farm owners and operators, and those in the agricultural trades are requested to bring the recommendations in this Alert to the attention of all workers who are at risk.


SOURCE: Cincinnati, Ohio: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health; 1990. 7.


This document was extracted from the CDC-NIOSH Epidemiology of Farm Related Injuries: Bibliography With Abstracts, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

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