Heatwave increases risk of machinery disasters – FCI

Projected temperature highs of 30° will have haymakers nationwide raring to go this week.

However, the Association of Farm & Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI) is warning contractors to be mindful of potential fire hazards.

In a recent Facebook post on the FCI homepage, the association highlighted the potential risks of overheating machinery.

FCI officials advise operators to avoid a build-up of flammable material on machinery – including common hazardous materials such as: crops; chaff; twine; and net-wrap.

Special care must be shown around areas close to bearings, at the ends of baler rollers, and around the slip-clutch, according to the FCI.

To counteract the dry conditions operators are being advised to air hose balers at the end of each working day.

In very dry conditions it may be necessary to air hose the machine during the day. 

“Avoid high-pressure power-washing in the areas adjacent to the bearings, on ends of baler rolls, to prevent damaging seals,” officials recommend.

Image source: Shane Casey

Operators are also being urged to check machinery continuously for “early signs of failure”.

Warning against the use of naked flames, the FCI added:

“If you do need to use a welder, cutting-torch, or grinder on the baler, be especially careful. Do not smoke when working around a baler in these very hot conditions.”

Personal safety

The FCI reminds contractors that their own safety must be the first priority.

If the fire gets out of hand do not attempt to control it; personal safety must always come first.

“Tractor drivers have been burned trying to deal with a baler fire. Baler fires, once started, will quickly ignite and inflame the entire machine.” 

The FCI advises operators to always carry a dry-chemical fire extinguisher – not just a water-fire extinguisher – on the tractor.