Fresh warning over slurry pit dangers after recent incidents

Mixing slurry
Mixing slurry

Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) along with the Health & Safety Executive for Northern Ireland are warning of the dangers of slurry pits to the local farming community and animals.

Farmers are being urged to take care in the maintenance and storage of slurry on farms. In particular, those with livestock near to slurry pits are being asked to check the safety of the pit.

To date this year, there have been four incidents across Northern Ireland where animals have fallen into uncovered slurry pits or slurry pits with badly fitted or maintained mixing point covers. Last year saw 20 incidents and in 2014 there were 15 incidents.

The presence of toxic gases emitted from the slurry means that the consequences can be devastating to not only livestock but also pose a significant risk to famers, farm workers and their families.

Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) Group Commander and Farm Safety Lead Fergal Leonard said: “Firefighters have attended 4 incidents of animals falling into slurry pits this year. Whilst it is encouraging to see a decrease of this type of incident across Northern Ireland, famers need to be vigilant to keep the farming community safe and livestock safe.

“For Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service, public safety is our priority and the best course of action is through prevention. We would appeal for farmers to be vigilant in ensuring the access hatches into slurry pits are secure and well maintained. At this time of year, slurry is being removed from the pits and used as fertiliser on the fields. This can be hazardous if the slurry pit is not properly ventilated during mixing operations.