Eur Ing Keith J. Hawken 2017-04-27 01:57:51
Editor’s note: A version of this article also appears in the publications archives, copyright 2016, of ISTE Ltd, London, U.K. Mowed fields and trimmed hedgerows are vital for planting, growing, and harvesting crops and for keeping our roads clear of encroaching vegetation. Crop gathering and storage are just as important, and our responsibility as standards developers is to provide safe machines with ergonomic designs. Consideration must therefore be given to: • Global standards and legislative requirements. • The safety aspects of complex machinery. • The long-term challenges of conservation and sustainability. ISO standards development Standards take time to develop and years to publish. The ISO/TC 23/SC 7 group that I was privileged to steer from 2008 through 2016 has diligently worked to produce a suite of standards that will enhance the safety of new machinery. By testing in several countries, thrown-object hazards, material behavior, guarding strength and longevity, and cycle times have all been explored in the production of several standards. The main challenges for mowers have been to (1) increase blade quality, (2) reach global parity for thrown-object testing, and (3) encompass the various sizes of machinery while taking into account the many different agricultural situations all over the world. Thrown-object testing criteria have also been applied to the road-edge mowing and highway maintenance sector. A series of ISO standards has now reached publication (see sidebar). For pick-up balers, it was time to reduce hazards and increase safe working practices. As different bale sizes emerge and as the risk of unauthorized use appeared to be increasing, a gap in the series of requirements became obvious, and a new standard, published in 2016, was developed for bale wrapping. Management and team building To address the issue of thrown objects with mowers, it was necessary to pull together specific global expertise. The problem affects machines used in all countries, with many different-size machines and varied landscapes. Even the experts had little experience with standards and were typically company-oriented. Fortunately, over a period of time, the specialists came together and undertook the challenge of combining machine and safety expertise for the creation and publication of standards. We involved testing facilities at several manufacturing bases in the U.S., Italy, Germany, and the U.K. to examine the evolving test criteria. A series of tests was conducted to replicate varying local conditions. We encouraged manufacturers to buy into the process with support for engineers, test rigs, and research. The manufacturers responded by implementing sponsorships and providing meeting facilities. Mutual enhancement of safety was the overarching goal. Following up the mower successes, the baler issues were tackled through a similar process, but with different experts. The management of testing and research was undertaken—this time in the Netherlands and Germany, as well as in Italy, the U.K., and the U.S. again. Smaller adhoc groups were given research tasks for issues such as emergency stops, bale chamber guarding, and remote tractor stopping controls. A series of requirements aligned to essential health and safety legislation emerged from the work. It was encouraging to watch the team grow. Confidence was the driver, ensuring that the team jelled, and this was enhanced through mutual respect and understanding. Because the equipment is large and appropriate locations are hard to come by, logistics were definitely a difficulty. Fortunately, management of the process was simplified by the group’s dedicated focus on the life-important issues. The enthusiasm of the participants has been remarkable. Today, the mower and baler groups are both continuing to work on further safety improvements. Standards for mowers Several mower fatalities had been recorded in North America, South America, Asia, and in the European community, so it was important to identify causes after gathering many statistics. A thrown-object test was needed so that new designs and innovations could include protection of the tractor operator as well as bystanders. Objects thrown at a velocity of more than 200 kph were identified as the main cause of fatalities. Development of better containment was entrusted to working groups. They developed a test for blade breakup under duress, and another for thrown objects. Approval of the European version of the standard required four independent consultant assessments for machinery and one for noise. Each consultant wanted something different as they all tried to bring the standards into line with the varying European directives. More robust mechanical testing to validate the practical requirements managed to overcome these pressures. Semi-parallel committees, ISO/TC 23/SC 13 for domestic mowers and CEN/TC 151 for road maintenance machines, are now using the basis of the thrown-object test in their respective standards. Standards for balers Several issues were identified with balers when accident statistics were examined. The technical aspects included entanglement with bales of different sizes and shapes, and clearing of blockages. After a fatality occurred on a satellite arm bale wrapper, a U.K. court ordered the development of a standard that would deter a similar death from occurring again. Therefore, our team developed a new standard. Machines were identified, and it was clear that everyone had matters to solve. Although balers are specific to harvesting and conservation, it was appropriate to introduce some tractor experts to help with the interface associated with the baler and wrapper. Testing for the development of machine safety included enhanced guarding for the feeding elements, automatic starting, feeding of twine, changing of blades, and integral pick-up. Tests were also developed for the rotating wrapping satellite arms. Although traveling at a modest 30 rpm, these were seen to cause head injuries to operators. The results so far Success may be seen from the reduction in fatalities and accident statistics recorded since the introduction of the more stringent safety measures listed in the sidebar. With the newly designed machines (on the market progressively since 2012), mower and baler related fatalities have dropped significantly, from around 20 per year to only one known. We await quantitative statistics from various global bodies, but preliminary indicators are promising. For example, before 2012, the U.K. recorded an average of four fatalities a year that were attributed to the machines in question, but only one fatality has been recorded in the last three years. We continuously strive to reduce accidents. Challenges remain, but with good research, communication, and project management, the goal to provide safe machines for operators and bystanders is being achieved. Another major success, in addition to the reduction in fatalities, is new awareness in the farming community of the need for education and training. When new products and methods emerge, some countries are now actively encouraging workshops that alert their farming communities to health and safety issues. Manufacturers are providing more information at the point of sale. New machines, based on new standards, are making a difference and ergonomically supporting productivity. Over the last few years, the following safety standards have been introduced by the various working groups within ISO/TC 23/SC 7: • EN ISO 4254-12:2012: Agricultural machinery – Safety – Rotary disc and drum mowers and flail mowers. • ISO 4254-13:2012: Agricultural machinery – Safety – Large rotary mowers. • ISO 5718:2013: Harvesting equipment – Blades for agricultural rotary mowers – Requirements. • ISO 17101-1:2012: Agricultural machinery – Thrown-object test and acceptance criteria – Part 1: Rotary mowers. • ISO 17101-2:2012: Agricultural machinery – Thrown-object test and acceptance criteria – Part 2: Flail mowers. • ISO 17103:2009: Agricultural machinery – Rotary disc mowers, rotary drum mowers and flail mowers – Test methods and acceptance criteria for protective skirts. • EN ISO 4254-11:2010: Agricultural machinery – Safety – Pick-up balers. • EN ISO 4254-14:2016: Agricultural machinery – Safety – Baler wrappers. Upcoming safety standard: • Draft ISO 4254-15:201?: Agricultural machinery – Safety – Large flail mowers. ASABE member Eur Ing Keith J. Hawken, Technical and Standards Director, Agricultural Engineers Association, Hampton, Peterborough, U.K., firstname.lastname@example.org. This work has been funded by the agricultural industry in conjunction with the Agricultural Engineers Association in the U.K. The author wishes to acknowledge the International Standards Organization and the British Standards Institute for their support, and in particular ASABE member John R. Fisher from the Alamo Group, Seguin, Tex., USA. As a group, we also wish to express our gratitude and appreciation to all the project partners for their contributions during the development of the various ideas and concepts presented here.
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