Northern Irish farmers are being encouraged to take extra care when mixing slurry as the closed period for slurry spreading is soon due to commence.
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Farmers urged to take care when mixing slurry as deadline looms
Slurry is one of the four main causes of death and serious injury on Northern Ireland's farms (Photo: HSENI)

Mixing slurry, considered one of the most hazardous tasks in the industry, continues to remain a major attribute to death on Northern Irish farms.

Last year, the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) recorded one fatality involving slurry gas, but there were ‘countless near misses’.

Slurry gas contains poisonous hydrogen sulphide and releases very quickly in large volumes when mixing begins.

This is why slurry should only be mixed when doors and windows are open and when there are high winds, so fumes can be dispersed in the air.

In new advice directed at farmers in the province, the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) explained that mixing slurry was an extremely dangerous job.

The closed period for slurry spreading due to commence on 15 October 2022 at midnight

“The UFU is urging farmers to take extra care when mixing slurry and to follow the advice of the HSENI,” the union said.

“Mixing slurry can be a dangerous job as the gas is released very quickly and in large quantities as soon as the mixing starts.

“Slurry gas contains a mixture of gases including the extremely poisonous gas, hydrogen sulphide. A low concentration of hydrogen sulphide can affect your sense of smell so you will not know it is there.

“At higher concentrations, you will rapidly find it harder to breathe and become confused – and at certain concentrations, just one breath can kill.”

The UFU added: “Take extra care when mixing slurry. For more information about working safely with slurry contact the HSENI helpline on 0800 0320 121.”

The quality rating of domestic dairy products has remained above 99 percent for six consecutive years, experts said at a webinar.

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