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Journal Article


Nour MM, Field WE, Ni JQ, Cheng YH. J. Agromed. 2020; ePub(ePub): ePub.


(Copyright © 2020, Informa - Taylor and Francis Group)






OBJECTIVE: Manure storage, handling, and transport facilities and equipment have been associated with life threatening hazards on many livestock farms. These hazards have been documented in prior research as including 1) exposure to toxic manure gases or lack of adequate oxygen in enclosed structures, which can be fatal to both humans and livestock; 2) below and above ground liquid manure storage structures that have the potential risk for drowning and falling; and 3) mechanical hazards associated with manure handling and transport equipment, including entanglement, road collisions, runover, and equipment failure.

METHODS: Over the past 40 years, Purdue University's Agricultural Safety and Health Program (PUASHP) has collected, documented, and maintained data regarding agricultural-related injuries and fatalities associated with agricultural confined spaces in the United States. As part of ongoing surveillance, a total of 369 fatal and non-fatal cases relating to manure storage, handling and transport equipment, and facilities have been documented. Of these, 89 have involved children, youth, and young farm workers ages (birth-21) documented between 1975 and 2019. The purpose of this study was to summarize these 89 documented cases to better understand contributing factors and to develop recommendations for evidence-based strategies to reduce the frequency and severity of these incidents. Though recognized as not comprehensive for all incidents of this type, the data represent the largest data set known to exist, providing insight into previously unstudied hazards facing children and youth living and working on, and visiting farms as non-workers.

RESULTS: Findings in this study include: there has been an increase in the documented frequency of these incidents, which may be due, at least partially, to enhanced or more aggressive surveillance efforts; 57% of the cases were fatal; incidents involving underground or inground manure storage facilities were the most frequent type; incidents involving manure transport vehicles were higher than expected; 33% of the victims were five years of age and younger; and July was the month with the most documented incidents.

CONCLUSIONS: Recommendations for future injury prevention strategies include incorporation of information on manure-related hazards in curricula targeting children and youth, more aggressive enforcement of child labor laws that currently prohibit the employment of youth to work in manure storage structures or to be involved in their operations, and greater use of physical and administrative controls, including safety signage, fencing, gates, and covers to restrict access to manure storage structures.

Language: en


Children; youth; fatality; manure gas; manure pit; manure storage


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