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Costs and Issues Associated With Implementing Industrial Confined Space Standards in Manure Storage Facilities

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health. 1(2): 83-91. (doi: 10.13031/2013.19456) @1995
Authors:   J. M. Shutske, M. A. Purschwitz, L. D. Jacobson, K. A. Janni
Keywords:   Farm safety, Livestock,Waste,Manure, Confined space, Cost

Toxic atmospheres are encountered frequently in livestock manure storage facilities. At least 16 U.S. agricultural production workers died from 1980 to 1985 attempting to enter and perform work in manure storage facilities. In other industries, labor regulations and standards specify safe confined space entry procedures, but production agriculture has been excluded from most legal requirements. The cost of compliance is believed to be one reason for agricultures exemption from regulatory requirements.

This research examined the cost that would be associated with livestock producers partial compliance with a new industrial confined space entry standard promulgated by OSHA. Cost data from 25 manufacturers were analyzed to determine the minimum cost of appropriate monitoring, rescue and ventilation equipment. An initial investment of over $3,100 would be required, with annual costs ranging from $429 to $833. The article concludes with recommendations for ways to make needed equipment more accessible to livestock producers.

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