Hytek Focuses on Safety in Addressing Potentially Dangerous Gases

CANADA - An occupational safety specialist with Hytek agrees its critical for all farmers to be aware of the dangers posed by the gases created when manure decomposes writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 28 December 2006
clock icon 3 minute read

A variety of gases, including methane, ammonia and hydrogen sulfide are naturally produced by the decomposition of manure.

Best management practices for monitoring and reducing the risk of exposure to these gases were among the topics examined earlier this month during Manitoba Hog and Poultry Days in Winnipeg.

Hytek assistant safety coordinator Christine Janzen says hydrogen sulfide is by far the most dangerous and can result in incapacitation at low levels and is potentially fatal at slightly higher levels compared to other gases which, even at high levels, usually only result in minor lung irritation.

Christine Janzen-Hytek

Our staff, anyone responsible for pulling pits is required to take the hydrogen sulfide awareness course.

We have a general workplace health and safety policy on how to pull pits safely in the barn, that it should be done in tandem, if somebody succumbs to hydrogen sulfide gas what is the best ways to help that person and we go through our barns periodically with a high level or a high quality H2S monitor and check the situations during various seasons and things like that in different areas of the barn.

We are trying very hard to be proactive and so far we've been successful.

There have been no reported incidences of hydrogen sulfide poisoning in our barns.

Janzen says its important for all farmers to be aware of the dangers posed by H2S.

She says, as difficult as it may be, the best course of action when someone is overcome is to call paramedics and leave the person there because anyone who enters the same area is also likely to be overcome.

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