To safely remove manure from storage in hog production facilities requires careful attention to detail to ensure the utmost safety for humans and pigs.

The National Pork Board’s fact sheet on Safe Manure Removal Policies outlines the basic steps in a checklist to achieve improved safety:

Remove all workers from buildings before beginning manure agitation. Never permit workers to remain in buildings or manure storage when agitating manure.

Place warning signs at all entrances to buildings and manure-storage areas where manure agitation is being done to keep people out. Warning signs can be ordered at no charge from the Pork Store on the Pork Checkoff Web site at www.porkstore.pork.org/producer and click on pork production resources, then pork safety.

Remove all animals from buildings before starting manure agitation, if possible.

If animal removal is not possible, start pit agitation of manure slowly and gradually increase pump speed while observing animals from outside the building. If signs of animal distress are observed, then immediately stop manure agitation.

Avoid entering the building until at least 30 minutes after complete ventilation of the building has occurred, while maintaining full ventilation or wearing a properly fitting self-contained breathing unit that you are trained to use.

Never enter a building or manure storage to rescue a distressed animal or person without wearing a properly fitting self-contained breathing unit that you are trained to use.

Never enter a manure storage or tank unless it is absolutely necessary. Only enter a well-ventilated facility wearing a properly fitting self-contained breathing unit that you are trained to use, wearing a properly fitted harness and lifeline and having at least two other people to rescue you in the event of a problem.

The fact sheet also contains details on the importance of proper ventilation to avoid unnecessary risks associated with vigorous agitation of manure due to manure-related gases. Additional information explains in detail the types of manure-related gases.

For more information on safety practices, visit the Worker Safety pages located on the Pork Checkoff Web site at www.pork.org/PorkScience/WorkerSafety.

For ways to control emissions, visit the Pork Checkoff-funded Air Management Practices Assessment Tool at www.extension.iastate.edu/airquality/practices/homepage.html.