With the closed period for spreading slurry coming to an end at midnight on 31th January (today), YFCU president James Speers is urging farmers to take extra care when working with slurry.
“I am urging all farmers to take the proper safety approach when mixing slurry. It can be a very dangerous job as slurry gas is released very quickly, and in large quantities, as soon as the mixing starts.
“Farmers should follow the slurry mixing code which is as follows: keep children away from the area at all times when working with slurry; if possible, mix on a windy day; open all doors; 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 and 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.
“I would also urge farmers to never rely on filter type facemasks; to never use gas monitors as a substitute for working safely; to never have naked flames near slurry, as slurry gas is flammable and to never stand close to the exhaust of a vacuum tanker when it is being filled.”
The YFCU president continued: “If you find someone has been overcome during slurry mixing, if possible, stop the pump and get the person to fresh air but do not put yourself at risk in the process.
“If breathing is weak or stopped, artificial respiration may be effective.
“Contact the emergency services and seek immediate medical attention.
“Farm safety is extremely important to the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster. We are a committed member of the Farm Safety Partnership and we understand the importance of delivering the farm safety message to our members, as they are the farmers of the future.
“We currently have a team of YFCU members who have been trained by HSENI as farm safety ambassadors to deliver farm safety talks to Young Farmers’ Clubs throughout Northern Ireland as well as other outside organisations.
“Recently we have enlisted another five members to become farm safety ambassadors who will soon be trained by HSENI to further deliver these important farm safety talks.
“The YFCU understands that we need to engage with people to make farms safer places to work and we’re encouraging all our members and the wider public to get involved in spreading the farm safety message.”