Risks to users from firewood processing machines

Health and Safety Executive - Safety alert

Department Name:
Agriculture and Food Sector

Bulletin No:
OPSTD 2-2011

Issue Date:
25 May 2011

Target Audience:
Users, manufacturers and suppliers of firewood processing machinery, arboriculture, forestry, agriculture.

Key Issues:
Recent accident investigations indicate that some firewood processing machines may be unsafe because the guards provided are too short or the other safety devices provided may be easily overcome.


In recent months HSE has investigated a number of serious accidents involving hands; including finger amputation, on some models of firewood processing machines. Initial conclusions suggest that these machines are not safe and are not fully compliant with the Machinery Directive (as implemented in the UK by the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008).


Action required:

Users should:

Delivery/assembly at site:

All parties should ensure that the machinery has been correctly assembled in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions, and all safety devices are functioning as intended.


HSE will be contacting relevant manufacturers to discuss safeguarding of these machines.

Relevant legal documents:


Further information:

Frances Hirst
Agriculture and Food Sector
900 Pavilion Drive
Northampton NN4 7RG
[email protected]

General note:

Please pass this information to a colleague who may have this product/equipment or operate this type of system/process.