Anaerobic digestion systems and associated manure storage and handling present many safety hazards. A good designer and responsible digester owner will learn about and be concerned with safety from the very beginning of any digester project. A qualified digester designer, builder or equipment supplier should have excellent knowledge about and be sensitive to the safety needs of workers and visitors around a biogas system.
Areas of concern will likely include:
- Gas releases that are flammable, explosive or immediately toxic.
- Hydrogen Sulfide gas, which can accumulate in the bottom of tanks and pump sumps, can kill almost instantaneously.
- Carbon Monoxide gas can accumulate in engine and machine rooms from engine exhaust and poorly operating boilers.
- Biogas can accumulate under roofs and ceilings in explosive mixtures.M
- Confined spaces that may be immediately hazardous to life and should only be entered using appropriate procedures and equipment.
- Noise levels that require workers to wear hearing protection.
- Liquid tanks and ponds that may result in drowning.
- Pumps and other machinery that are entanglement hazards due to rotating shafts, pinch points and other moving parts.
- Biogas and manure liquids that cause rapid corrosion or failure of electrical equipment, gas handling piping and building components.
- Small children and unaware visitors who can wonder into areas of danger and become serious injured or drown.
- Ladders, platforms and roofs without guards, cages or other fall prevention measures.
- Dirty liquids and gases escaping under high pressure.