Industry Partners

Prairie Swine Centre is an affiliate of the University of Saskatchewan

Prairie Swine Centre is grateful for the assistance of the George Morris Centre in developing the economics portion of Pork Insight.

Financial support for the Enterprise Model Project and Pork Insight has been provided by:

Author(s): Chenard, L., S. Lemay, and S. Christianson
Publication Date: January 1, 2002
Reference: Prairie Swine Centre Annual Research Report 2002, pp. 16
Country: Canada



The swine industry needs reliable and affordable tools to monitor the air quality in the barn to ensure that their workers are fully aware of unsafe conditions. Sixteen Draeger microPac hydrogen sulfide (H2S) monitors were followed over a year to determine the performance of the monitors. The monitors performed consistently under barn conditions with only a small drift in the accuracy.


Until recently systematic H2S monitoring was not performed in the swine industry. A few incidents involving the detrimental effects of H2S have increased the awareness of the possible hazards related to H2S and more intensive swine operators want to ensure that their workers are provided with a safe working environment. Monitors in swine buildings are subjected to a harsh environment where dust, humidity and gases may be present. Since workers wear monitors, the monitors may have accidental falls on the concrete or in the manure. As a result, the swine production conditions are likely to challenge the H2S monitor. The objective of this project was to evaluate the performance of the Draeger microPac unit for H2S monitoring in pig barns.

Experimental Procedures

Over the course of a year, four Draeger microPac monitors were used in office conditions, and 12 monitors were used in both the PSCI Floral and Elstow barns. The working conditions for each monitor was similar for all monitors, including power washing, pit pulling and exposure to outdoor conditions, except for the monitors used in the office. Eight of the monitors used in the barns were subjected to extreme tests after four and eight months of use; four monitors were dropped on concrete, and four monitors were dropped in the manure pits. A calibration gas was used to regularly check the accuracy drift of each of the monitors six times during the project.

Results and Discussion

The absolute average drift of all the monitors after 328 days was from 0.6 to 2.0 ppm, with an absolute maximum drift of 2.7 ppm. This maximum drift was much less than the maximum drift Draeger specified, which was 12 ppm after one year. There was a significant difference in the drift of the monitors after the first six months (p<0.05), but after six months, there was no significant drift of the monitor accuracy. There were also no significant differences between the monitors (p>0.05).


Use of the Draeger microPac monitors with regular calibrations has shown to be an effective tool to ensure worker safety in a swine environment to help prevent exposure to H2S. Any effects of repeated abuse on the monitors is unknown, but the monitors performed consistently under normal swine housing conditions and the accuracy drift of the monitor was acceptable to help ensure safe working conditions in the swine operation.

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