The HSA has provided the following tips in relation to Fire, Electricity & Chemicals.
- Hay, straw and other flammable materials should be stored well away from a dwelling house and other stock buildings.
- Store fuels and agrochemicals securely away from other combustible materials
- Good electrical and machinery maintenance reduces the risk of farm fires. Make sure that the electrical system is checked regularly by a competent electrician
- Regular maintenance minimises the risk of fire and makes equipment more efficient
- Examine your farm for potential fire traps. Ensure that there is an adequate means of escape from all work areas
- Consideration should be given to means of escape and also to the installation of fire detection and alarm systems. Use of naked flames must be tightly controlled
- To prevent injury from fire all workers must be instructed as to what should be done in the event of a fire.
- A fire extinguisher should only be used where there is no danger to the user and a clear escape route is available. Persons need to be trained in their operation, and they should only be used for small fires
- Water fire extinguishers are used for cloth, paper and wood fires only
- Dry powder fire extinguishers can be used on most fires including electrical fires
- Carbon dioxide fire extinguishers can be used on most fires including electrical fires
- Foam fire extinguishers can be used on oil, fuel fires only
Follow the HSA advice on land and forest fires.
- The fuse board should be regularly inspected by a competent electrician
- Regularly check for and replace immediately any frayed and damaged cables around the farmyard
- Place leads and cables in positions where they will be safe from damage
- Do not use domestic type sockets, plugs or switches in farm buildings
- Be aware of overhead lines. Contractors and other persons entering the farm should be made aware of overhead power lines. Check ground clearance before passing underneath lines. Keep away from any fallen lines, and report to E.S.B Networks immediately.
Fuses and Miniature Circuit-Breakers (MCBs)
- Use an MCB or a fuse to protect the circuit from fault or overload
- Use the correct type and rating
- Do not replace an MCB with one of a larger size
- Find out the cause of the fuse blowing or MCB tripping
- If you are unsure as to the adequacy of your fuse board, MCB assembly or any other part of your electrical installation, check with a competent electrician or electrical contractor
Portable Electrical Equipment and RCDs
- Fit residual current devices (RCDs) with a 30 mA fault setting on all 220V and 380V socket circuits
- Test RCDs monthly, by using the test-trip button
- Use 110V supply for smaller items of portable equipment (up to 2KVA) in wet areas
- Keep cables, plugs, sockets and cable couplers in good condition and replace where damaged
Plugs and Sockets
- Domestic-type plugs and sockets are not suitable for use on farms
- Plugs and sockets must be of sufficient capacity and appropriate to the voltage of the equipment used
- All exposed metal parts (normally non-current-carrying) must be earthed
- Protective conductors for earthing must be of sufficient size and properly installed, protected and maintained
- Protective conductors, if broken or disconnected, must be immediately restored
- Good earthing is essential if safety devices such as fuses and circuit breakers are to work properly
- Get your earthing circuits tested by a competent electrician
- These should be supplied from separate circuits
- Plugs and sockets should be of adequate capacity (32 amps)
- An RCD (30 mA fault setting) must be provided
- Exposed conductive parts of the welder must be bonded together and connected to the welder protective conductor at a common terminal
- The return conductor cable should be connected to the work piece using a proper clamp
- User's eyes must be protected by a suitable filter lens contained in a welding helmet or hand-held shield, which protects face and neck against heat radiation
- Hands and forearms should be protected by suitable gloves and by keeping sleeves pulled down
- ESB requires notification before an electric welder is installed
- Portable generators should have industrial-type sockets (IEC 309) located on the generator frame for connection
- Generators supplying permanent wired installations should have mechanically interlocked switching facilities between ESB and generator supplies (the switch should be clearly marked to show the ESB, generator on and off positions)
- The ESB requires notification when a standby generator is to be installed
- Do not operate or tip high machinery or equipment under or near power lines
- Check for adequate clearance before passing underneath
- Prevent danger by line diversion, use of barriers or 'goal posts'
- Do not build, stack materials or site-fill under power lines
- Do not burn stubble, bushes, etc, under or near power lines or support poles and masts
- Never raise metal irrigation pipes under or near power lines
- When spreading slurry, keep it away from power lines and poles
- Keep away and keep animals and other people away from fallen lines
- Don't run fences parallel to power lines because dangerous induced voltages might result
- Keep fence earth a minimum of 10 metres from main installation earth
- Never 'twitch' fence wires under power lines
- Never electrify barbed wire
- Maintain safe clearances from overhead wires.
- Handle material in accordance with the advice on the safety data sheet.
- Keep chemicals in original marked containers
- All chemical products on the farm should be stored in a designated and locked store
- All containers with chemical products should have a label. Read the label and follow recommendations for safe use
- Wear suitable gloves to protect the hands from contact with harmful substances
- Respiratory Equipment protects you from exposure to harmful substances
- Select the correct equipment as recommended by the manufacturer
- Wash your hands regularly and always before eating, drinking or smoking
- To avoid the ill- health effects from sheep dips farmers should consider using alternative products, isolate the handler from the sheep dip and use proper protective equipment and clothing
- The Irish Medicines Board provides a list of approved sheep dips.