HBY: We’ve already discussed this briefly, but can you explain once more how products are classified? I sometimes see “Hazard class 8”, with such a logo next to it.
EH: Products are classified into groups. In this case, they are given a hazard classification, and we’ll make it easier by limiting ourselves to transport and storage. This classification then provides information about the type and level of hazard associated with the product. For example, a product might be able to burn skin, due to its caustic or corrosive properties. Very unpleasant if you come into direct contact with it. Another product might be bad for the environment, so we have to make sure it doesn’t end up in surface water. Depending on the hazard, these products are assigned certain codes.
HBY: But don’t you have to be an insider to understand all that? A lot of people I talk to don't really understand the first thing about it.
EH: I get that, which is why these hazards are indicated by what we call pictograms, a kind of image. If a product is corrosive, it’s labelled with an image of a burnt hand - burnt surface. Products that are harmful to the environment are labelled with an image of a dead fish and dead tree. The hazard classes are therefore displayed as images, which makes it easier for everyone to understand them.
HBY: And ..... a picture is worth a thousand words. I understand why this system is used. It reminds me of the pictograms on lots of household products. Various things in my home are marked with these symbols, such as the toilet cleaner and dishwasher tablets.
EH: Exactly; pictograms are also used for products in the home. In any case, it’s a quick and efficient way of informing both 'amateurs' and experts on how to handle such a product properly. It makes it clear from a distance what type of product you’re dealing with.
HBY: Some products used at Lely have no classification, such as udder care products, but we also use corrosive products, such as Lely Astri Lin and Lely Astri Cid. Why doesn’t Lely only use products without a hazard classification?
EH: With regard to udder care products, we obviously want to avoid products classified as hazardous, since these are used on the skin of a cow’s udders and teats. Because of this, we use udder care products that are not classified as hazardous. However, the products we use for cleaning and disinfection are classified as hazardous, because they have to do their job quickly and at a high temperature. Simply put, you can’t spend hours cleaning a robot. Powerful products, unfortunately classified as hazardous, are essential in these cases.
HBY: That sounds unavoidable.
EH: It is, in a certain sense. At the moment, there is still nothing available that allows us to use non-hazardous substances in our current milking technology. I should add that this applies not only to Lely, but also to our competitors.