Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Workplace Health and Safety Information—Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing

Manure Ventilation


Fatalities due to entry into on-farm confined space manure storage facilities occur each year. These relate to the oxygen-deficient atmosphere as well as toxic and/or explosive gases present. Most deaths occur to persons conducting repair or maintenance on equipment, or to those attempting to rescue another person in the storage facility. After years of engineering investigations, Northeast Center (NEC) researchers introduced a new International Engineering Standard (ANSI/ASABE S607), "Ventilating Manure Storages to Reduce Entry Risks" which has now been accepted. The standard provides ventilation rates, configurations, and air exchange rates required to reduce entry risk for 80-85% of manure storages. If the standard is adopted into new and existing storages, these will have a ventilation system capable of evacuating gases and replenishing oxygen to levels safe for human occupancy within five minutes for many systems.

Online Manure Ventilation Tool Now Available

The Confined-Space Manure Pit Ventilation Design Tool uses SolidWorks Flow Simulation and is now accessible. Once you access the site, by clicking the link, apply for a user account, wait for authorization, log-in, and begin using the tool.

One of the main goals of the Online Tool is to offer a web-based computer simulation program to assist in the custom development of ventilation systems for confined-space manure storage pits. Proper manure pit ventilation reduces the risk of entry into confined-space manure pits and decreases the potential for farm injuries and deaths.