Slurry ban lift launches NI safety review
Following the lifting of the slurry ban, the Farm Safety Partnership (FSP) is focusing on the health and safety of farmers using it to fertilise their land.
As it releases dangerous levels of potentially fatal hydrogen sulphide gas, staying safe with slurry remains a constant concern for the industry.
The use of gas monitors is essential when slurry is being processed, while those working with the material need to ensure they are wearing adequate, well-maintained and proven personal protective equipment (PPE).
However, work to make the use of slurry completely safe for farmers and farm hands is ongoing. Recent developments have introduced neutralising additives to the slurry mix for example, but this has thus far proved far from the complete answer.
As such, the FSP says that PPE, gas monitors and additives should all be used together.
Gas monitors cannot provide the perfect solution, even if kept in excellent condition, as they cannot pick up a spike in gases quickly enough for a site to be evacuated.
Where the devices really come into their own is in monitoring a slurry room during the mixing process, allowing staff to know when a building is safe to re-enter.
As well as advising on how and when PPE and other safety measures should be used, the FSP is also urging farms to ensure they have good ventilation in place.
A high level of communication between slurry workers is also being demanded from the FSP, who have created a Slurry Working Group, to review present operational practices in Northern Ireland.