Thermal hazards

Some parts of machines can become very hot and cause burns or start fires and explosions in flammable atmospheres.

Types of machinery

  • Engine exhausts, hydraulic pipes – burns and scalds from contact with hot surfaces and material.
  • Operator cabs and work platforms – health effects from heat or cold stress.
  • Combines, grain drying and handling equipment – fire and explosion due to overheating of parts or materials being processed.
  • Electrical control and switchgear – potential source of ignition.

Operator errors

  • Removal of cowls and covers over hot parts.
  • Lack of maintenance of cab structure and ventilation equipment.
  • Allowing build up of crop debris around engines and moving parts.

Design points

  • Ensure hot surfaces such as exhausts and hydraulic pipes are protected from unintentional contact.
  • Assess whether the machine will be used in a potentially explosive atmosphere and ensure ATEX compliance.
  • Provide cabs and enclosures with adequate ventilation.
  • Consider heating and air conditioning to improve operator efficiency and comfort.
  • Make sure surfaces around hot parts do not allow the build up of dust and flammable debris.
  • Provide emergency fire fighting equipment where residual risks remain.

Operator instructions and training

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

  • The need to keep covers over hot parts in place
  • Maintenance requirements for cab ventilation systems
  • Additional requirements for cleaning to control debris build-up.

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