19 September 1998

REDUCING THE RISK

Tia Rund examines the latest devices designed to protect you around the farm.

RECENT European legislation on personal protective equipment (PPE) is a minefield. Lurmark provides a chart which helps to cut through the complexity. It gives a guide to the correct selection of PPE taking into account the hazard indicated by the chemical manufacturer, the form of the chemical and the method of application. The companys Defender range (illustrated below) includes durable spraywear, plus gloves, aprons and masks as well as a disposable chemical half cartridge mask for respiratory protection: all are produced to CE standards.

&#8226 Lurmark, Longstanton, Cambs, CB4 5DS (01954 260097).

STAY in touch with a mobile phone or CB radio while youre away from base is one of the safety messages put across by HSE in its Fatal Traction video. South Midlands Communications make and supply hand-held and mobile 2-way radio systems for purchase, hire or lease. Hiring or leasing saves tying up capital and means equipment is immediately replaced should it go wrong. Calls are, of course, free.

The 16-channel SHP-55 is a slimline, lightweight portable with a high capacity battery . It costs £279 to buy or £6 a day to hire.

&#8226 SMC, SM House, School Close, Chandlers Ford Industrial Estate, Eastleigh, Hants (01703 255111).

A PTO guard is an obvious safety precaution, and an inexpensive one. The price of the Totalguard has been reduced by 40% to £99. The guard, which has a one-year guarantee, fits the vast majority of tractors and implements on UK farms. It consists of a heavy duty, neoprene, convoluted tube capable of stretching to 2m. The material is designed to resist diesel, fertiliser and chemicals. Quick release lug attachments give easy access to the pto shaft for routine greasing. Otherwise the moving parts are completely enclosed.

&#8226 Spaldings (UK), Sadler Road, Lincoln LN6 3XJ (01522 500600).

EXHALATION valves in disposable respirators not only make it easier to breathe when carrying out more arduous jobs, but also prevent misting of goggles or safety spectacles when theyre worn.

Meeting and exceeding the EU standard EN149, the Martindale Flatmate range offers P1, P2 and P3 protection against dust, particles, and solid or liquid aerosols. Light, close-fitting and designed for clear all-round vision, they fold flat and can be stored in hygienic re-sealable bags.

&#8226 Centurion Safety Products, Howlett Way, Thetford, Norfolk IP24 1HZ (01842 754266).

Stayin alive

&#8226 Since 1986, 51 people in the agricultural sector have died from accidents involving electricity; two-thirds involved contact with overhead power lines. Taller machines and longer spray booms increase the risk. The Farm Energy Centres safety handbook Safe Use of Electricity in Farming and Horticulture spells out the hazards . Phone 01203 696512 for a copy, £3.50.

&#8226 Sunshine may not have been a feature of this summer; nonetheless it brings the risk of skin cancer, warns the Health Education Authority. Contrary to popular belief, years of working outdoors does not give a degree of protection. Managers should treat sun exposure as a health and safety issue and train staff to keep their shirts on, wear hats and use sunscreen, it says. Information and training material is available from Marstons Book Services on 01235 465565.

&#8226 Combine fires are the worst kind of bad luck, but you can protect yourself from total harvest disruption. Firetrace is a self-activating extinguisher which will limit the damage to the source of the fire. Flexible tubing routed around the machine first detects the fire hot spot and then delivers extinguishing medium through the breach in the tubing caused by heat. Simultaneously, it will trigger an alarm or shutdown the equipment. You should also be able to negotiate a discount on your insurance premium when one is installed. Contact Sieve Services on 01400 281506.

&#8226 All-Terrain Vehicles cause their fair share of grief, including two fatalities last year. The HSE has produced two information sheets which spell out basic safety advice. Sheet 11 gives advice on how to use ATVs safely with towed and mounted equipment, while sheet 10 deals with the special conditions which apply where spray equipment is fitted. HSEs InfoLine is 0541 545500.