The Groundsman

June 2015

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Visit for more information and digital editions TECHNICAL UPDATE 29 the Groundsman June 2015 This now brings into requirement for testing a wide range of amenity machinery to date not covered. If you are at all unsure about whether your equipment comes under this definition, contact NSTS - and act soon. Any recently purchased new equipment may have a certificate cover already, but you need to check. The official testing requirement does not apply to knapsack, hand-held or pedestrian-controlled machines but these should be inspected regularly by a competent operator. The results of the inspection should be properly recorded, along with the date of inspection and any repairs and rectifications carried out. So, what are the most common issues identified when inspecting equipment? Leaks and drips are the biggest problem from the tank and pipework, nozzles and pipe/hose joints. Leaks will cause a potential environmental and safety hazard. Other issues include inconsistent pressure through the boom system which can lead to inaccurate and uneven application, causing stripping and inconsistent results. Worn nozzles cause over-application and the change in droplet size can give inconsistent results. Hose condition becomes an operator safety issue and could lead to environmental issues. Having made sure you fulfil the law by November 2016, what is the position regarding re-inspections? NSTS would say that the inspection is annual, which would fit in with today's best practice advice. In terms of the legislation, SUD requires that machines must have a test by 26 November 2016; they will then require testing again by 26 November 2020 and thereafter every three years. However, if the machine has a boom width of 3m or less, the requirement reduces to a test every six years. Additionally SUD has some small print that says a new machine only needs a test from its fifth anniversary. Hopefully that all makes sense but, if in doubt, seek advice. The basics are that an annual NSTS inspection helps satisfy all the reasons above and will prove an excellent way of ensuring expensive pesticides are applied accurately and efficiently on target, another key focus of SUD. Yes, there will be a cost to having machines inspected, but that cost is easily recouped through less breakdowns and accurate pesticide application. That said, it is a legal requirement. l Commitment to the highest standards NSTS tests and inspects sprayers. An NSTS inspection confirms adherence to legal requirements and demonstrates commitment to the highest standards. The inspection is carried out by a qualified machine examiner and usually at the machine owner's premises. Items in the inspection include all guards and safety equipment as well as the delivery system of the sprayer to ensure it functions correctly with no leaks and equal pressure throughout. The output of the nozzles are checked to ensure they are within the required +/- 10 per cent of the nozzle manufacturer's output. All controls must function correctly and be within reach of the operator, and any additional devices, induction hoppers etc, need to be working correctly. At the end of the inspection and subject to the machine being up to standard, a uniquely numbered decal showing a PASS is fixed to the machine. The decal also includes the date of inspection. A copy of the Test Report Form is given to the machine owner and its details are entered onto the NSTS database. Should the machine not achieve the standard, then the examiner can usually offer a spares and repair service to bring the machine up to requirements. NSTS is commercial at the point of use, meaning you have a choice of who carries out the inspection. To find your nearest or preferred NSTS inspection centre, visit the NSTS website and enter your post code (where shown) to display the ten nearest NSTS Test Centres. All NSTS Test Centres have qualified inspectors who have the experience to not only to repair and rectify faults found but also to give advice on sprayers and application. NSTS is a member of the Amenity Forum, the industry-led voluntary initiative promoting best practice in all aspects of weed, pest and disease control. It is important that everyone involved in this area, at whatever level, fully supports the forum and demonstrates commitment if we are to stay in control of our destiny and still be able to operate as now. Remember, today's best practice will be tomorrow's norm. NSTS recommends annual machinery inspections

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