Machine Safety

An ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis, operating efficiencies and cost savings, as well as all relevant safety standards, such as those from NFPA, ANSI, RIA, IEC, ISO and OSHA. About J.B. Titus.

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EN ISO 13849-1; 2006 - Are We Ready?

January 16, 2010


EN ISO 13849-1; 2006 is definitely on its way to US industry.  It’s also true that there have been several delays for required compliance caused by extensions in Europe that have slowed broad acceptance here in the US. Last week in this blog I talked about the various segments of industry and what drives behavior to adopt or comply with safety standards. For example, don’t hold your breath for OSHA to enforce compliance to this International Standard any time this century. Yet, compliance with this new standard does bring not only improved safety, but also provides opportunities to properly apply current technologies that improve machine performance, efficiency, and plant productivity without jeopardizing safety. It’s the implementation of these new requirements that require both investments as well justification. The internet is alive with “tools”, opinions, blogs, forum discussions, and live web training …to mention a few. This is a great educational advantage our European colleagues missed.

So, my question remains, ARE WE READY? My opinion is to first pay attention to the details. Ask yourself “where am I in the market segmentation of industry” and “does investing and applying the compliance requirements of EN ISO 13849-1; 2006 right now make good business sense for my company”? For example, if your company manufactures machinery but your market is only in the US you may not feel motivated to make the investment right now. On the other hand, if your company’s strategy is to expand your market to Europe, I would recommend starting to adopt the changes in your business to comply with EN ISO 13849-1; 2006 as soon as possible. Additionally, there could be absolute advantages for any company to comply as soon as possible as a “Competitive Advantage” over your competition.  The opportunities are very real to some companies and case studies have been published as testimonials.

So, IS US INDUSTRY READY - ACROSS THE BOARD? My answer is emphatically - NO! And so far the reasons are:

1.     We have no mandate (like the Machinery Directive in Europe) to drive behavior

2.      Our industry segments have different motivations and characteristics

3.     US consensus standards have not broadly adopted or required compliance to EN ISO 13849-1; 2006

4.     Individual companies have historically considered on their own whether to adopt compliance to an International Standard lacking any domestic mandate

5.     I’m sure there are many more………..

For now, across the board and in my opinion, it’s a business decision such as the “Competitive Advantage”! For some others, it’s a requirement of some type such as; import/export, purchase order, etc. Yet, some have decided to adopt EN ISO 13849-1; 2006 requirements because of improvements in operating efficiencies. So far - here in the US we are still free to choose. And, mostly that’s been an advantage!

Hint: I keep referring to EN ISO 13849-1; 2006 including the year designation. Not including the year in documentation is possibly a huge mistake. Heads up - if anyone fails to indicate the year of a standard in documentation, the legal interpretation is to default to the “current” issue of the document. That “ruling” may or may not agree with the “intent”!

Additional related information can be found:

https://siemens.webex.com - US Machine Safety Impacted by European Standards, JB Titus

http://www.linkedin.com/groupAnswers?viewQuestionAndAnswers&discussionID=10399199&gid=1950912&commentID=10092116&trk=view_disc

http://www.controleng.com/article/443069-European_safety_deadline_extended_but_don_t_wait_Rockwell_Automation.php

There will be a lot more said on this subject over the next several months!

For more on Machine Safety visit: www.jbtitus.com

Posted by J.B. Titus on January 16, 2010



For more than 30 years, J.B. Titus has advised a wide range of clients on machine functional safety solutions, including Johnson + Johnson, Siemens, General Motors, Disney, Rockwell Automation, Bridgestone Firestone, and Samsung Heavy Industries. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Oklahoma University in industrial management and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University in marketing and finance. He is a professional member of the American Society of Safety Engineers and is OSHA-certified in machine guarding. Titus is also TUV-certified as a Functional Safety Expert and serves on several American National Standards Institute, National Fire Protection Association, and National Electrical Manufacturers Association national safety and health standards committees. Reach him at jb(at)jbtitus.com and via www.jbtitus.com.