Farmers, family members, workers, and visitors are urged to avoid any and all manure gases, especially from long- term storages or bedded packs where gypsum is mixed in with manure in any significant quantities. Note: for operations that daily haul manure and use gypsum for bedding, we expect little or no production of H2S, but care should be taken to minimize risks here too.
When cleaning out a barn’s bedded pack manure:
- Make sure no unnecessary people are near the pack, especially at the location where the pack is being removed.
- If hand clean-out is required using pitchforks, consider wearing a belt-mounted personal gas exposure alarm system to alert you if exposure is exceeding safe limits.
- Open all barn doors, windows, curtains and any other air inlets/outlets if the barn is naturally ventilated or turn on the mechanical ventilation system to full capacity before beginning the clean out process.
- Set up large fans and/or blowers around where operators will be working to mix air and dilute any gases.
In conditions where sufficient ventilation cannot be achieved, equipment operators properly trained on use of a respirator and who are wearing them should be the only ones working in the barn when clean out is occurring. In addition to the above, farmers should:
- Consider using other materials for bedding until this issue is better understood.
- Have an emergency plan in place.
Train all family members and employees in the dangers of manure gases.