Belfast Telegraph

MLA issues warning as farmers are overcome by slurry fumes

Advice: Rosemary Barton
Advice: Rosemary Barton

By Staff Reporter

Two men had a lucky escape after they were overcome by slurry fumes yesterday.

It happened on a farm on Killylacky Road, near Magheraveely, Co Fermanagh.

The NI Fire and Rescue Service said: "A man in his 70s was overcome by slurry fumes while mixing slurry in a shed.

"The man had collapsed and he was rescued by another man in his 40s from the shed prior to the arrival of firefighters.

"Both men were treated at the scene by paramedics.

"Two cows in the shed were overcome by the fumes and died as a result.

"We'd like to remind the farming community to ensure that the mixing of slurry is carried out in well-ventilated spaces.

"Stay out of the shed for 30 minutes after starting mixing or after moving or re-directing the pump; try to mix on a windy day."

Neither men required hospital treatment.

Ulster Unionist MLA Rosemary Barton said farmers and contractors needed to be careful around slurry tanks.

"Slurry tanks unfortunately present both risks of drowning and or suffocation, as the gases generated by the decomposition are highly toxic, especially when the slurry is agitated and cannot be smelt," she said.

"Fortunately on this occasion there was no loss of human life but several animals died.

"I do however wish the local farmer a full recovery following the inhalation of the gases."

Warning of the dangers of working with slurry, Mrs Barton added: "It is advisable when working with slurry to not work alone. Always have at least a second person in the vicinity, make sure the area where the slurry is being agitated is well-ventilated and the work is carried out upward of the wind direction to avoid the highly toxic odourless gases.

"Children and pets must also be discouraged from being in the area of an open tank, because tragic accidents can happen as the result of a rescue operation."

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