Assessing Self-reported Occupational Hazards of Manure Applicators in the Upper Midwest

Devon Charlier, Melissa L Wilson, Chryseis Modderman, Erin Cortus, Kevin Janni, Carol Peterson, Megan Schossow, Bruce H. Alexander, Jeff B Bender

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Manure management on farms presents potential risks to human health and safety, including infectious, chemical, and physical exposures that may result in injury or fatality. Toxic gases and confined spaces are among the most common hazards. These hazards are especially salient for the Upper Midwest of the United States. This study characterizes the occupational health and safety practices and experiences of manure applicators in Minnesota. This cross-sectional study surveyed 162 commercial manure applicators about their work characteristics, safety practices, and health and safety experiences. Respondents reported an average of 17 hours per day applying manure during the busy season, which typically occurs several weeks each year. One hundred and thirty-one (90%) of 145 respondents did not regularly use gas monitors during application. Thirty-three (37%) of 90 respondents reported at least one symptom of gas exposure during manure application work. Those that worked with swine manure were more likely to report symptoms of gas exposure than those who did not work with swine (OR 9.5; CI: 2.0, 89.0). Those that had entered confined spaces were more likely to report symptoms of gas exposure than those who had not entered confined spaces (OR 4.4; CI: 0.1, 1.1). Fourteen (9%) of 150 respondents reported being injured when applying manure. Manure work can be hazardous and may be associated with injury and gas exposure. These findings offer a starting point for future research and intervention to protect and improve the health and safety of applicators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)230-238
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of agromedicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Manure management
  • animal agriculture
  • manure applicators
  • occupational health
  • occupational safety

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural


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