Build safety into design

Agriculture continues to be one of the more dangerous industries in Great Britain and agricultural machinery continues to be involved in most of its serious injuries. Fatal accidents are common and other accidents often result in operators being permanently disabled.

Manufacturers of machines can help prevent accidents by designing safety into machines and incorporating guards and other safety devices into their designs.

This page is written primarily for manufacturers and suppliers of agricultural machinery. The information and advice in it can also be used as a source of reference for educational establishments which train agricultural machinery designers and engineers, and for those machinery owners and agricultural engineers who maintain or modify agricultural machinery.

Design safety into machines

To design safety into machines, you need to:

Build in: Safeguards designed as fully integrated parts of machines are usually more robust, more reliable and easier to use than safeguards added later. You need to choose the appropriate safeguard for the working method, for example:

Assist machine operations: Think about all intended uses of the machine during design, so that you can design safeguards that assist machine operations. This encourages people to use them properly. For example, a side guard on a machine pick-up can guide material into the pick-up reel.

Build to last: If you design robust and reliable machines they are less likely to be misused and be damaged.

Prevent blockages: Mechanisms that help avoid blockages, for example reversible drives or manually operated mechanisms, can:

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