Increasing numbers of machinery dealers and hydraulic specialists are refusing to repair used hydraulic hoses, following concerns over prosecution in the event of accidents.
Guidelines published in the European Machinery Directive – Standard EN982, forbid the reuse of hoses that have previously been employed as part of an assembly. Only new hoses can be used to undertake a repair.
According to the British Fluid Power Association (BFPA), although these standards are not mandatory in law, they must be adhered to, to ensure compliance with health and safety requirements.
Indeed, the dealership and its workshop staff are liable for any accident that takes place as a result of a repaired hose failing. Similarly, if a farmer persists in having worn hoses repaired, they may well be open to prosecution in the event of staff injury or environmental pollution as a result of hydraulic failure.
“These regulations are not at all well publicised, I first learnt about them scanning through a crimping machine safety manual,” says Kevin Hemp, service manager at Norfolk New Holland dealer Ernest Doe and Sons.
“I’ve since done a bit of research and found that the buck stops with me if a hose fails after we’ve repaired it.
“It’s a risk we simply can’t take and, although some customers baulked at our refusal to re-end and joint existing pipes, they now see how important it is, especially when undertaking their own risk assessments.”
But it is not all about health and safety rules, warns the BFPA.
Insurance companies are now reported to be on the lookout for evidence of repaired – rather than replaced – hoses when they undertake post-accident investigations.
Farms that refit jointed hydraulic lines could now risk invalidating their insurance cover.