Following formal opposition by France, the harmonized safety standards regarding manually-loaded wood chippers (EN 13525:2005+A2:2009) which presumed compliance with the Essential Health and Safety Requirements (EHSR) required by the Machine Directive (Directive 2006/42/EC), have recently been withdrawn, and a new draft of the standard is currently under revision. In order to assess the potential impact of the expected future harmonized standards within the Italian context, this study has examined the main issues in implementing EHSRs on wood chippers already being used. Safety issues regarding wood chippers already in use were identified in an analysis of the draft standard, through the observation of a number of case studies, and qualitative analysis of the essential technical interventions. A number of agricultural and forestry operators and companies participated in the study, pointing out the technical and economic obstacle facing the safety features requested by the pending new standard. It emerged that the main safety issues concerned the implementation of the reverse function, the stop bar, and the protective devices, the infeed chute dimension, the emergency stop function, and the designated feeding area. The possibility of adopting such solutions mainly depends on technical feasibility and costs, but an important role is also played by the attitude towards safety and a lack of adequate information regarding safety obligations and procedures among users.
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