Swine Producers Can Protect Themselves From Dust and Gases on the Farm

CANADA - The Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture says swine producers can protect themselves from the health hazards present on the farm, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 29 January 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

The Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture at the University of Saskatchewan is devoted to health issues in agriculture and delivers service, prevention, education and research activities to rural and remote communities throughout Canada.

Environmental and genetic determinants of lung dysfunction will be explored later this week during the 2007 Manitoba Swine Seminar.

Research, conducted when most swine farms were small family owned operations, showed people working with swine were more prone to respiratory effects than, for example, grain farmers and now scientists are gathering information on the larger more modern operations for comparison.

Professional research associate Shelley Kirychuk says there are steps farmers can take to protect themselves.

Shelley Kirychuk-University of Saskatchewan

What we found and what our research has born out is that there are hazards associated with any work environment.

We know that there's dust, gases and endotoxin present in the swine confinement unit that you're going to be exposed to an, if you're working in that environment for eight hours you're going to be exposed to it for eight hours so, like any other work environment, you want to do the best you can to protect yourself.

In this case ventilation is one of the options but it's not going to fully control that environment so, if a mask is something that you can wear at least during high exposures in that work environment, that's something we recommend.

Kirychuk says the industry is very proactive in ensuring workers are not be unduly exposed to harmful levels of dust and gases and is looking at several options including using automatic feeders to reduce exposure to dust and endotoxins in feed, self waterers and wet housekeeping practices rather than dry to reduce airborne emissions of dust.

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