The dangers of slurry spreading
Slurry is a mixture of water and manure and is used during the summer months as a natural fertiliser for crops. To ensure that the manure can be spread easily, it’s broken up and mixed with water in a large slurry tank. In farms throughout the UK, millions of tonnes of slurry are produced.
The dangers of slurry
While this is a natural solution to fertilise crops, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe. When slurry is produced, killer gases are released during its bacterial decomposition. These gases are both colourless and odourless, making them even more dangerous to those who aren’t aware of the risks. One of the most dangerous gases released during this process is hydrogen sulphide, an extremely poisonous gas which can cause death in even the smallest of concentrations. If even one breath is taken of this gas when its at high levels, it could cause instant death.
Another risk of slurry tanks is drowning. This usually happens if workers and sometimes children on the farm are affected by the high concentration of poisonous gases and historic cases have seen people fall into the tank.
Ensuring good spreading practices
While there are very real risks on a farm which implements slurry tanks, you can greatly reduce the chances of an incident with the correct safety measures in place.
Ensure you spread slurry at the permitted time of year and keep children and animals away when mixing and spreading. Ensure more than one person is present at all times. This way, if one does become overcome by gases, the other can help. It’s best to ensure mixing is conducted on a windy day and ensure that the building is well-ventilated by opening all the doors and windows in the building.
As well as posing a risk to life, spreading slurry can pollute the air and water. If slurry spills into the water, it can kill marine life and other wildlife. These incidents are taken incredibly seriously and can result in huge penalties of up to £50,000 issued by the Environmental Agency (EA).
For farmers worried about the risks associated with slurry spreading, you can be assured that specialist farming insurance can protect you in the event of associated liability claims.
This will cover you for the costs of investigating and defending a claim, clean-up and damages. Your employers’ liability cover will protect you if a member of staff is affected, while public liability will ensure you’re protected if a member of the public suffers due to a slurry-related incident.
To find out more, and to ensure your farm is properly protected, get in touch with Watkin Davies on 02920 626 226.