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Operator and Potential Exposure to Hydrogen Sulfide: A Study of the British Columbia Dairy Industry.

Authors
  • O'Leary, T1
  • Merkowsky, K2
  • Trask, C2
  • Bennett, W1
  • Kirychuk, S2
  • 1 AgSafe B.C., Langley, B.C., Canada. , (Canada)
  • 2 Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada. , (Canada)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of agromedicine
Publication Date
Oct 01, 2021
Volume
26
Issue
4
Pages
381–388
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1080/1059924X.2020.1795036
PMID: 32744179
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) is produced in manure storage facilities and released during manure agitation. Exposure to this gas presents health risks to workers at daily exposure of greater than 10 parts per million (ppm). Exposure levels on BC dairy farms are unknown. The aim of this study was to document peak H2S exposure levels to operators and bystanders during manure agitation on British Columbia dairy farms to determine if action levels were exceeded. Farms were evaluated at two time points during manure agitation. Both operator exposure and potential exposure sampling were undertaken. Peak hydrogen sulfide levels were measured and categorized as greater than or less than the ceiling level (10 ppm) and action level (5 ppm). Associations between H2S levels above the ceiling level and farm factors were assessed. Measures were recorded at 43 dairy farms with 91 total measures recorded. Action levels were exceeded in 30% of operator measures and 64% of potential exposure measures while 20% of operator and 53% of potential peak H2S measures exceeded 10 ppm. Manure storage facilities were evenly distributed between indoor and outdoor locations with under-barn (43%) and outdoor storage (47%) most common. Sawdust was the most prominent bedding type (65%). Tractor operated propeller was the most common type of agitation equipment (62%). Manure temperature remained a significant predictor in the multivariate model for operator peak exposure. Exposure to H2S above the action level commonly occurs on BC Dairy farms. Given that Worksafe BC requires exposure control plans for H2S levels above 5 ppm, and that on dairy farms, measures of operator and potential H2S exposures were recorded above these levels, best practices to reduce potential H2S exposure are necessary to reduce possible operator and bystander exposure.

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