Using machinery and equipment

Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Using machinery and equipment

Machinery is commonplace in rural areas. However, using machinery unsafely or failing to maintain machinery can increase the risk of starting a fire.

 

Using machinery

  • Check the fire weather in your area before using machinery. Avoid operating equipment during times of very high or extreme fire danger.
  • Be very careful when using machinery during dry conditions. Fires can start from the smallest spark.
  • Wet down the area you're working in and have firefighting equipment handy if the conditions are dry.
  • Be aware of exhaust heat and spark emission when driving through, or parking in, stubble or long dry grass. Be particularly cautious on high, very high and extreme fire danger days.
  • Carry appropriate fire extinguishers, shovels, or knapsack sprayers.
  • Stop using welders, chainsaws, slashers, and some tractor operations, on extreme fire danger days.
  • Do welding and angle grinding only in clear areas.
  • When operating a machine be aware of what could be happening outside your cab.
  • If carting hay using a diesel truck that has vertical exhausts higher than the cab, cover the hay load or fix a spark-arrester shield to the exhaust.

Storing fuel and other chemicals 

  • Store petrol, diesel fuels and chemicals in clearly-labelled, approved containers and in single-purpose locations away from other farm buildings.
  • Keep areas clean of rubbish, oily rags, firewood and other fuel sources.

Maintaining machinery

  • get rid of birds’ nests from in or around motors.
  • Check all machinery is free of mechanical defects that could start a fire and has approved exhaust systems and spark arresters.
  • Pay special attention to checking your machinery’s bearings and moving parts.
  • Clean all machinery regularly to ensure belly pans and spaces around motors are free of oil, dust, grease, grass and straw.

Farm maintenance

  • Fit suitable fire extinguishers in farm buildings and on machinery.
  • Keep trees and branches at least 3 metres clear of power lines. Contact your local power authority to have branches cleared.
  • Keep paddocks around farm buildings and yards well grazed to reduce the fire hazard during dry conditions.
  • Dry hay before baling and stacking to prevent spontaneous combustion.

Hot work

  • Hot work is any job that involves using tools that could start a fire. On rural properties, this might include welding, grinding or cutting.
  • Don't do hot work outdoors during prohibited fire seasons unless you have a special permit.
  • Where possible, perform hot work indoors at a designated safe location, like a welding bay. If you this isn't possible, make sure you move any fire hazards or flammable materials out of the area before starting.
  • 30 minutes after you've finished the hot work, do a final check for any hot spots that might cause a fire.
  • Have firefighting equipment on hand, and know how to use it, in case a fire starts.
  • Have firefighting equipment on hand, and know how to use it, in case a fire starts.