Photo by Lea Kimley.

Farm worker drowns in manure pit

Late last week, the Ashland Source reported a tragedy north of Loudonville when a 22-year-old farm worker drowned after the skid steer he was driving went into a manure holding pit on a dairy farm.

The unfortunate incident in northeast Ohio serves as another grim reminder of the safety challenges in agriculture.

“Working around manure storage areas has so many potential hazards. There is a lot of emphasis on being aware of hazards involving manure gases, but you still have to be aware of equipment hazards and the dangers of operating equipment close to manure pits and lagoons,” said Kent McGuire, Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Safety and Health Coordinator. “Because of limited visibility and the density of manure in pits or lagoons, the chances of a rescue are usually very small. Unfortunately, it almost always ends up being a recovery of the victim.

“Tragedies like this show that we have more work to do to help farmers work safely with manure storage areas and train workers of the potential hazards.”

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