With farm machinery becoming an increasingly important element in the business of farming today, particular care must be paid when buying farm machinery.
While this can be a significant financial investment, one should also be cautious to ensure that the machine you are buying will do the job you want without risks to health and safety.
To help with this, the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI) has offered some useful advice and guidance when looking at tractors, telehandlers, tankers, diet feeders, post drivers, mowers, harvesters and so on.
First off, one should check if the machine you're looking at is: safe when supplied for its use and maintenance; and free from obvious defects such as missing or damaged guards etc.
Of note, one should check that:
- Dangerous parts are adequately guarded;
- All round visibility to reduce blind spots;
- Suitable roll over protection;
- Safe working loads;
- Maximum operating height - avoid overhead lines;
- The need for an integrated man basket to work at heights;
- Ease of maintenance – routine, blockages, tyre changing.
Another key thing to look out for is if the machine has CE marking and a copy of the EC Declaration of Conformity. If not, ask the supplier if this is required.
Whilst the CE Mark (in use since 1993) indicates the machine is safe and complies with the Essential Health and Safety requirements, You should always check for yourself to see if the machine is safe, HSENI stresses.
It's also advised that you ensure the supplier has explained what the machinery is designed to be used for - and what it cannot be used for.
Make sure that an instruction manual (in English) is supplied which includes instructions for safe use, assembly, installation, commissioning, safe handling, adjustment and maintenance.
Finally, you should check:
- That the precautions you need to take to deal with remaining risks;
- What training you require;
- What routine servicing, inspection and thorough examination is required;
- Data on health risks such as noise and vibration levels, dust or fume emissions;
- That any warning signs are visible, in English and easy to understand.
For a custom-built machine, arrange for a trial run so you can be shown
the safety features and how they work, the authority adds.