Electrical current passing through the body can cause severe burns and kill. Electrical shorts can cause unexpected movements and control failure.

Types of machinery

  • Conveyors, potato sorting and cleaning lines, automatic feeders, poultry stunners – contact with live parts that are energised during normal or fault conditions
  • Combines, sprayer booms, bale stackers – contact with high-voltage overhead power lines
  • Low voltage sensing and electronic control systems – shorts causing unexpected operation.

Operator errors

  • Inappropriate or lack of, circuit and personal protection devices
  • Failure to repair damage to insulation
  • Folding booms and driving tall equipment under power lines.
  • Failure to de-energise control systems before maintenance

Design points

  • Machinery with an electrical power supply must be designed and constructed to prevent electrical hazards arising from the foreseeable conditions of use.
  • Generally machinery should be designed in accordance with the Low Voltage Directive.
  • The minimum height of 11,000 volt power lines across farmland in the UK is 5.2 metres.
  • Design folding or extending parts so that they can be used safely.
  • Ensure additional safeguards and warnings are provided for machinery capable of approaching or touching high voltage overhead cables.
  • Provide covers for exposed terminals on low voltage systems.
  • Locate electronics in suitably protected areas or enclosures.

Operator instructions and training

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

  • The need to ensure correct installation and maintenance
  • The risks from working on energised machinery and control systems
  • Information about the height of the machine.

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