The safe use of slashers in agriculture

September 8, 2015

Agricultural slashers are designed and used for slashing grass and other regrowth, as well as slashing crop residue once the main crop has been harvested from a field.

As with a great deal of machinery used for agricultural purposes, slashers pose distinct and very real risks for both the user and any bystanders during their operation.

Under the relevant Occupational Health and Safety legislation in each State and Territory of Australia, a range of obligations are placed on designers of agricultural machinery to ensure potential hazards are identified and the risks of manufacture and use of this machinery are minimised and controlled.

One primary area of concern is the guards on slashers.


Slashers need to be designed to prevent users and bystanders from being able to inadvertently come into contact with the blades or cutting elements of the slasher.

It is also required that slashers are designed and manufactured in a way that controls the risk of objects being flicked or thrown from the machine while it is being operated.

Guarding elements must be entirely appropriate for each different type of slasher. For example, where a slasher is used in a vineyards, the cuttings are regularly required to be directed in a particular way from the slasher back onto the field or in this case, the vineyard. This is acceptable, however the guard must be able to be returned to a safe position once this special application of the guard is completed.

Other protective guarding features include elements that enable the deflection of projectiles from slashers, such as chain curtains. Chain curtains can be attached at the areas of intake and discharge of the slasher. The role of these chain curtains is to deflect items towards the ground and away from any bystanders or users of the slasher, thereby minimising the risk of someone being struck by projectiles.

Leith Engineering is proud to design and manufacture slashers of high quality and workmanship right here in Australia, where safety of manufacture and use is paramount.