Ontario Hog Barn Explosion Cause Unknown
By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com
Two farm workers were seriously injured after a swine barn exploded on Sunday around 12:30pm. The explosion occurred while the two men were pumping manure on a farm located on Bridge Road, east of Seaforth, Ontario. The two men who were injured Dann Eedy, 25, and Joshua Purdy, 15, were transferred by air ambulance to Victoria Hospital in London, Ontario. The official cause of the explosion remains unknown. However, officials with the Ontario Ontario’s Ministry of Labour and the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office have launched a full investigation to demine the cause of the explosion.
Farm operations should always proceed with caution when pumping manure from liquid pits. When pits that have a significant amount of foam covering, it impedes the release of methane from the pit facilities. Captured methane can be released quickly when foam is disturbed. When methane is released quickly and mixes with fresh air it can create an explosive mixture and if those mixture conditions come into contact with an ignition source it can cause an explosion or a flash fire.
Farm safety procedures when working around liquid manure pits:
- Review your on-farm emergency plan with all farm workers and have emergency contact numbers available on site.
- Prior to agitation or pumping liquid manure, turn off all electrical power to any non-ventilation equipment such as lights and feed motors, and extinguish any pilot lights or other ignition sources. Fully open all ventilation curtains/ ventilation pivot-doors and lock building doors to prevent human entry.
- Check to make sure that people are out of the building before agitation and pumping.
- Do not agitate manure until manure has been pumped and level is at least two feet below the slats.
- During the process of agitating manure, keep the jet of pressurized manure below the liquid surface. Don’t let the jet of manure strike walls or columns in the pit.
- Stop agitation when manure level does not allow agitation below the liquid surface.
- Provide maximum ventilation for at least 30 minutes to an hour after pumping has ended before re-entering the building.
- NEVER enter a building or manure storage structure when liquid manure is being agitated or pumped.