Farm Safety – Burning Trashdisposal of hazardous waste

Most farms or agricultural complexes will have a significant amount of materials, commonly referred to as trash, that will need to be disposed of.

Quite often this is done by way of burning it, as it is seen as the most affected and manageable way of disposal.

It is also a task that is often given to younger or more inexperienced employees on a farm. This is because it is seen as a relatively easy job to do and oversee.

It is also seen as giving good experience to more inexperienced farm workers in order to help them progress in their job career.

Whilst the burning trash can be relatively safe, but are a number of risks that need to be taken into account, that can affect both the employees performing the task as well as the broader environment, both land and air, both on the farm itself and the broader environment nearby.

Toxic materials

Burning trash needs to take into account the very specific nature of the material that is to be destroyed.

This is especially relevant to all types of toxic materials which include pesticide containers, chemical cleaners and very specifically tires.

All these types of material released extremely toxic fumes if burnt, and can potentially cause significant health problems to employees attending the process.

These fumes can also spread very quickly into the broader environment, causing potential health risks to other family members or people living or working nearby.

Anyone undertaking this work should check with their employer exactly what materials may be burnt and which may not be, before they start the process.

Burning times

There are likely to be local laws and regulations covering what times this burning process can happen, and quite often where it can happen.

There are likely to be limits on where the burning can take place, specifically in relation to public highways and railway lines.

This is irrespective of what is being burnt, as the smoke can carry very easily and cause potential risk to road users or railway operatives.

Disposal of fuel

The disposal of all types of liquids such as fuel, oil and lubrication can carry risks that need to be identified and isolated.

There are also likely to be local regulations concerning disposal that need to be understood and adhered to. the farmer also needs to be aware of any potential damage to their own land by way of pollution, and how this can affect their current and potential business practices.

Some main sources of fuel that need to be disposed of include used oil, oil filters, antifreeze, paint and solvents, air-conditioner refrigeration liquid, spilled or dumped fuel and empty containers that once held fuel oil or any type of lubricant.

If any type of material spillage happens, it is best to consult the container label which should contain detailed instructions as to the most appropriate method of cleanup.

It may also be necessary to contact any local or national state authorities in the event of a major spillage.

The disposal of any hazardous materials presents real challenges.

Most often the material will have a label connected to it which should contain information as to the best way to dispose of it.

There are also often local community disposal schemes, either run as cooperatives or by local authorities who can either advise on the most appropriate method, or may have their own collection schemes in place.

Tire, battery and garbage disposal

Most farms have a significant amount of leftover materials that include the above, that need to be disposed of, which can prove quite difficult.

Often the most appropriate way is to contact the manufacturer or distributor who likely to collect or remove the product themselves or by contractor.

They are likely to charge a fee for this, but it is often the safest way of disposal. Again the labels should carry specific instructions as to how best to dispose of these items.

Normal disposal methods often include some type of landfill, or potentially burial on some area of the farmland itself. This is not ideal but may be the only option depending upon the size of the farm.

With all types of disposal of any material, either solid or liquid, it is important to think it through before the disposal needs to take place, and have an appropriate plan in place of how best to dispose of it, and a plan to deal with any fallout either by way of spillage, leakage or accidental burning of prohibited items.

Comments are closed