HSA Urges Farmers Not To Enter Slurry Tanks To Inspect Slats

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has urged farmers not to enter slurry tanks in order to inspect concrete slats in cattle sheds.

Pat Griffin, senior inspector with the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), told Agriland that farmers should check their slats “at least once or twice a year”.

“These slats generally have a lifespan of 20 to 25 years and obviously slurry is corrosive and if the slurry is allow to rise to the level of the slats, you’ll get more corrosion happening,” he said.


Griffin said that farmers should check the slats carefully for any sign of cracking on the concrete.

“If the cracking appears on the surface, it is very, very serious and you need to have them inspected by a professional,” he said.

“One of our concerns would be that farmers may be considering going into the tank to check the slats. That is absolutely a no-go area.

“Nobody should enter the tank to view the slats. They should ask professionals to come and have a look at them to assess their structure,” the HSA senior inspector added.

Pat Griffin said that corrosion of slats generally comes from the tank underneath the shed.

“Most slats I have seen that have deteriorated have deteriorated from underneath upwards and eventually exposing some of the metal.

“If you get an expert in to do it, they will have a camera that they can feed through the slat and look back up to the underside of them and inspect them that way to see the amount of spalling of concrete away from the slats.

“They will be able to assess whether the slats need replacing, but if the cracking comes through to the surface, it is very, very serious and I would advise them to be replaced,” he said.


The advice follows a close call in Co. Offaly yesterday morning (Tuesday, November 14) where a concrete slat gave way in a livestock shed.

The incident on Alan McDonald’s suckler and sheep farm in Tullamore led to two weaning heifers falling into the tank below.

The farmer managed to bring the animals to safety with the help of his neighbour’s digger.

The shed was built in the late 1980s and the farmer had recently replaced slats which he thought needed replacing and left the ones which he thought were still strong enough.

He is now planning to replace all of the slats in the shed before the cattle are put back in.

Alan told Agriland that his ordeal serves as a stark reminder for other farmers to check the structural soundness of the slats in their own sheds.

(Source – Agriland – Aisling O Brien – 15/11/2023)

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