Livestock workers are involved in a variety of tasks, such as caring for animals, maintaining the breeding facilities, cleaning, and manure handling, and are exposed to health and safety risks. Hydrogen sulfide is considered the most toxic by-product of the manure handling process at livestock facilities. Except for several reports in developed countries, the statistics and cause of asphyxiation incidents in farms have not been collected and reported systematically, although the number of these incidents is expected to increase in developing and underdeveloped countries. In this study, the authors compiled the cases of work-related asphyxiation incidents at livestock manure storage facilities and analyzed the main causes. In this survey, a total of 17 incidents were identified through newspapers or online searches and public reports. Thirty workers died and eight were injured due to work-related tasks and rescue attempts from 1998 to 2013 in Korea. Of the 30 fatalities, 18 occurred during manure handling/maintenance tasks and 12 during rescue attempts. All incidents except for one case occurred during the warm season from the late spring (April) to early autumn (September) when manure is likely to decompose rapidly. It is important to train employees involved in the operation of the facilities (i.e., owners, managers, employees) regarding the appropriate prevention strategies for confined space management, such as hazard identification before entry, periodical facility inspection, restriction of unnecessary access, proper ventilation, and health and safety. Sharing information or case reports on previous incidents could also help prevent similar cases from occurring and reduce the number of fatalities and injuries.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health