Warning as dogs have lucky escape from slurry gas

The dangers of working with slurry were put in focus this week on a Co Tyrone Farm.

Emmett Gildernew, from The Brantry between Dungannon and Aughnacloy, was mixing slurry with a pump system when he left to go back to a nearby farm house situated just 150 yards away.

One of the dogs which was overcome by slurry fumes.

One of the dogs which was overcome by slurry fumes.

When he returned a matter of minutes later he found both his dogs lying conscious but paralysed just inside the doors of the shed as a result of the slurry fumes.

“I had started to mix the slurry tank and had been mixing for ten minutes when I went back to house. I wasn’t away for more than two or three minutes, but when I returned I saw the two dogs lying just inside the doors of the shed.

“I knocked the pump off, brought them both out and left them on the ground. They were both lying there, breathing, but it took a bit of time for them to come round and get up.

“I know the dangers of slurry gas but until you see the effects of it like this you don’t really know anything,” he added.

Emmett said the experience was something he felt he had to share if it helped other people stay safe when working with slurry.

He took a short video of the two dogs which was shared on Facebook, with details explaining what had happened, which has been shared more than 1,500 times.

The footage shows both dogs initially on the ground but they gradually come around, although both look very groggy for the experience.

Emmett explained both animals had made a full recovery but accepts it could have been so much worse.

“I was there working on my own, as so many farmers are,” said Emmett.

“You simply can’t take any chances with slurry. I had both doors to the shed wide open and it was a breezy day, the sort of conditions that you would want for a job like this one.

“I have been mixing slurry for 30 years and that tank had been mixed five or six times this year already.

“We want as many people as possible to see what happened because it really highlights the dangers of working with slurry.”

The dangers posed by slurry gases are well known. Both the Ulster Farmers’ Union and Health and Safety Executive NI have extensive guidelines for the safe handling of slurry on their respective websites - www.ufuni.org and www.hseni.gov.uk

It also features as one of the key topics in the SAFE campaign.