Harrow risk warning
POWER harrow operators could be put at risk if a new standard on machine guarding produced by the European Committee on Standardisation is adopted, says the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The standard is considered by the HSE to be deficient; it does not specify the minimum strength of the barriers in front of and behind the blades and, although the distance between these barriers and the blades is stated, there is no specification that it should be filled in.
The HSE points out that even with the more demanding guarding levels currently required in Britain, up to five serious injuries occur each year, some of which are fatal. Use of the new standard would result in an increase in accidents, it claims.
Objection to the standard has prompted David Mattey, HSEs chief agricultural inspector, to warn: "Unless guarding levels on power harrows are maintained, the HSE will not hesitate to take enforcement action to prohibit the supply of machines made to the bare minimum of this new standard."
And Mr Mattey is not alone in his campaign. He says the vast majority of EC member states also object to it and support an appeal currently lodged with the European Commission. *