Poultry, Swine Producers More Aware of Hydrogen Sulfide, Ammonia Risks

CANADA - Levitt Safety reports the level of awareness among swine producers related to the potential hazards posed by hydrogen sulfide and ammonia have improved tremendously over the past four years writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 27 December 2006
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Levitt Safety distributes occupational health and safety equipment and offers support services throughout Canada.

Clint Pinder, on hand for Manitoba Hog and Poultry Days in Winnipeg earlier this month, outlined what producers can do to reduce their levels of ammonia and H2S in barns, how to monitor the levels so they know how much they have and to determine the effect of any management changes.

In regards to H2S monitoring there's a few different things.

It's kind of a balance that you have to make, especially in the winter time, in the barns as far as your level of fresh air that you're bringing in to exhaust H2S out but also you're going to have to pay to heat that air.

So what farmers have to do is find that balance between not bringing to much fresh air in and spending a lot of money on energy versus what their levels of H2S are.

In the summertime it's usually not a problem because you've got the ventilation open.

H2S isn't a problem and the same with ammonia.

I'd say probably out of the major hog operations, like your Hyteks and so on, 75 percent of them have some form of monitoring in place strictly because they're legislated and they are a company, they have to be monitored and have a health and safety program in place.

For private barns it's getting better than it was.

I'd say about 45 to 50 percent, about half now, are monitoring just because they're starting to realize the hazards of H2S specifically.

You can be overcome by the gases and people have been killed by H2S.

Farmers should be monitoring or having someone come on site and monitor to see what their levels are.

If they are getting into the harmful range, that's when they have to starting looking at a bit more ventilation.

Pinder says, four years ago when Levitt started attending the hog and poultry show, people weren't aware of what gases to monitor for, how to monitor those gases or what the harmful levels are but now customers know more about the gases than he does and are outlining best management practices that he's able to pass on to other customers.

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