Cutting or severing hazards

Knives may still move for some time after power has been disconnected. Moving knives can cut or sever limbs, hands, feet or digits.

Types of machinery

  • Combine harvesters
  • Straw choppers
  • Agricultural and ride-on mowers
  • Forage harvesters

Operator errors

  • Knives may still move after the machine has been switched off
  • Poor handling when fitting, removing, or storing
  • Operators impatient to free blockages to save time

Design points

  • Provide devices on self-propelled machines to disconnect the power if the driver leaves the operator seat.
  • Fixed  or interlocked guards can prevent contact with moving knives when guards or other parts are opened to gain access to the inside of the machine, eg when removing blockages via an inspection hatch.
  • Provide large cutting knives with tools and a knife guard to aid safe removal, handling and storage.
  • Design discharge ends and inspection hatches with appropriate reach distances, or fit them with fixed  guards, so that operators cannot reach moving parts.
  • If operator can reach moving parts when discharge chutes, inspection hatches or similar features are opened or removed, either:
    • provide interlocks to isolate the power and bring the moving parts to a halt before they can be reached; or
    • fix covers to ensure that moving parts run down and are stationary by the time the cover is removed.
  • Provide an audible or visible indication of rotation for flywheels and cutters where guards are likely to be removed to clear blockages.

Operator instructions and training

Instructions for using this type of machinery must include clear guidance on:

  • 'Safe Stop' procedure before attempting to unblock the machine
  • Protecting blades while moving, fitting or storing
  • Regular maintenance
  • Relevant training, eg Lantra qualification and accreditation

Find out more

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