Semi-automatic quick hitches deemed non-compliant with Machinery Directive

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has advised that it now deems the supply and use of semi-automatic quick hitches not to be in compliance with the Machinery Directive.

The change is related to the requirements of the Machinery Directive, introduced under the 2008 European Communities (Machinery) Regulations.

Following a revision to the standard in 2013, EN 474-1 [Earth-moving machinery-safety-part 1: General requirements] explicitly rules out the use of semi –automatic quick hitches because this design is seen as to fail the essential health and safety requirements of the Directive.

It was widely observed that the locking pin was not being used and there had there been a number of fatalities linked to this poor practice.

The legal obligations of a Directive require compliance with its essential health and safety requirements. Compliance with a harmonised standard permits presumption of conformity with a Directive.

The “Use of Work equipment” Directive (2007) obliges employers to provide equipment that complies with any relevant Directive.

Also there are further obligations under Section 8(2)(h) of the 2005 Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act and the associated Schedule 3 which requires employers to take account of changing circumstances; item 6 of Schedule 3 refers to “the replacement of dangerous articles, substances and systems by safe or less dangerous articles, substances or systems of work”.

Consequently semi-automatic quick hitches must not be supplied for sale because they are now considered to be non-compliant with the Machinery Directive.

Arrangements need to be made to remove semi-automatics from service.

For further information, please see hsa.ie

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