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Manure Pits

Manure pit systems are often used to store large amounts of raw manure under animal confinement buildings. Manure pits make cleanup easier for farm employees; however, these pits may contain hazardous atmospheres.
Due to the nature of these pits, workers should always treat manure pits as confined spaces.

Manure pits may contain one or more of the following gases in dangerous concentrations:

  • Methane
  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Ammonia

Within the confined space of a manure pit, these gases can create an oxygen deficient, toxic, and/or explosive atmosphere. Treat manure pits like any other type of confined space. For example:

  • Ensure that manure pits are properly ventilated.
  • Test the pit atmosphere before entering the pit.
  • Have a safety attend ant ready to lift workers within the manure pit to safety, if necessary.
  • Always wear a safety belt or harness with a lifeline when working within a manure pit.

Please refer to the Confined Space chapter for more information.

May 2011
Reviewed November 2014