Manure Pit Gas Hazards

Staying safe in confined spaces

Manure pits, like other confined spaces, present extreme safety hazards for agricultural workers. In fact, according to the National Safety Council (NSC), confined spaces claim the lives of many workers before they even realize that manure gas is dangerous.

Types of Gas:

There are four main gases present in manure pits that are toxic and can have adverse effects on your health.

  • Hydrogen Sulfide:
    -Gas is heavier than air and causes dizziness, unconsciousness and even death.
    -At low concentrations, it smells like rotten eggs. At high concentrations, your sense of smell is deadened so no odor is detected.
  • Carbon Dioxide:
    -Gas is odorless, tasteless and heavier than air.
    -Causes unconsciousness and death quickly upon exposure.
  • Ammonia:
    -Gas is lighter than air and has a pungent smell, which can irritate the eyes and respiratory tract.
  • Methane:
    -Gas is lighter than air and creates an explosive atmosphere.

Manure Pit Precautions:

To reduce your risk of injury while working in and around a manure pit, consider the following safety recommendations:

  • NEVER enter a manure pit unless absolutely necessary and only when proper safeguards have been taken!
  • Never enter a manure pit by yourself. Always have a coworker standing by as a spotter.
  • Wear a self-contained breathing mask when entering a manure storage area.