EU enlargement threatens sprayer safety standards

An increasing number of sprayers are entering the market that do not meet basic safety standards, warns the Health and Safety Executive and the Agricultural Engineers Association.

European Union enlargement has given equipment manufacturers in central and eastern Europe easier access to the western market.

Consequently, a number of suppliers are now offering their products for sale in the UK, some of which do not conform to basic health and safety requirements, especially smaller mounted machines.

Sprayers must meet certain standards to comply with European and British standards.

These include a dedicated, low-level filling device or induction hopper. Alternatively, a filler cap that is no more than 1.5m (5ft) from the ground or operator platform and is a maximum of 300mm (1ft) horizontal reach.

In addition sprayers must have a 15-litre handwash tank and protective clothing locker.

Duty

“These requirements apply to all sprayers on the market and it is the duty of suppliers to offer products that meet these needs,” points out the HSE’s Alan Plom.

“It is not for the end user to decide if these particular items of safety equipment are required. There is no choice – they must be supplied with the machine.”

By purchasing a unit not conforming to the required standards, farmers risk prosecution by the HSE should an incident occur.

The HSE confirms that all application machinery produced in an accession country after 1 May 2004 should be CE marked to show that it complies with the relevant regulations. Potential purchasers should be aware of this requirement when considering a new sprayer.