Working Safely with Slurry

Before working with or near slurry take a moment to STOP and THINK!

Tragically, over the past few years, incidents involving slurry have claimed the lives of a number of people in Northern Ireland, including a child. Many serious incidents have also taken place as a result of farmers being overcome by gas released from slurry during mixing. Hundreds of animals have been killed in similar circumstances. Drowning has also occurred where people, exposed to the fumes, have fallen through openings into tanks.

Don’t let it happen on your farm!

Think about keeping animals and children well away when working with slurry.

Think about the job you are going to do and make preparations to do the entire task safely.

Think about vital preparations: check that the tractor and tanker are in good repair, brakes and tyres are in good condition and if they have to be positioned above the tank, make sure the slats can take the weight, particularly if using new, heavier machinery.

Think about ensuring all openings are covered to prevent a fall into the slurry tank.

Remember slurry gas is heavier than air and during mixing will settle in a cloud over the top of the slurry.  Bending down into the gas cloud for even a few moments can cause unconsciousness. Covered openings save lives.

Remember the risk is variable and difficult to predict. You may not have noticed any problems until now but the gas is always there during mixing. A combination of conditions can easily result in you and your animals suddenly being in serious danger.

Ulster Farmers Union
Follow the slurry mixing code to stay out of trouble
  • Keep children away from the area at all times when working with slurry
  • If possible, mix on a windy day
  • Open all doors and windows
  • Take all animals out of the building before starting to mix slurry
  • Use outside mixing points first
  • If slats are removed, cover exposed areas of the tank beside the pump/mixer to stop anything falling in
  • Start the pump/mixer – then get out and stay out of the building for as long as possible – at least 30 minutes
  • Any time you have to go into the building try to make sure that another adult knows what you are doing and can get help if necessary
  • If you have to re-enter to move the pump or change the direction of the pump, leave the building as soon as this is done. Do not go back in for as long as possible – at least another 30 minutes
  • Rely on filter type facemasks
  • Use gas monitors as a substitute for working safely
  • Have naked flames near slurry, as slurry gas mixture is flammable
  • Stand close to the exhaust of a vacuum tanker when it is being filled

Farm safety checklist