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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ISO 13849-1 Machine Guarding adoption, Part 3

What is your plan to comply with the ISO 13849-1 Machine Guarding standard? By now you’ve attended seminars, read white papers and magazine articles, heard from colleagues, or even read some of these blogs on this subject. So what? We don’t legislate compliance in the US. Instead, we have consensus standards.

September 01, 2011


JB Titus, CFSEWhat is your plan to comply with ISO 13849-1 Machine Guarding standard? By now you’ve attended seminars, read white papers and magazine articles, heard from colleagues, or even read some of these blogs on this subject. So what? We don’t legislate compliance in the U.S. Instead, we have consensus standards.

What are the steps or measures you and your company will take to comply with ISO 13849-1 given the education you’ve experienced? Have you invested the time to analyze and investigate the requirements as an OEM, systems integrator, or end user?

Many believe compliance to ISO 13849-1 Machine Guarding standard in the U.S. is a paradigm shift in how industry approaches the design and build process for control systems including the design for related safety functions. A paradigm shift by definition is likely significant to a company’s organization.

Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and systems integrators usually are better equipped to effectively handle these changes with the technical staff on hand.

Machine safety pays, says machine safety blogger, J.B. Titus.End users, on the other hand, can be a mixed bag of capabilities. Smaller end user organizations generally do not have organizational depth in technical staff and, in my opinion, will seek other means to satisfy the compliance requirements of this new standard. Again, in my opinion, the smaller end users could benefit by including the compliance requirement in their purchase order for the supplier of new machines.

Retrofits of existing machines for these end users might be a different story. Some of my European colleagues who work on international standards committees offer that these small companies should contract OEMs or system integrators for their retrofits. Of course this strategy assumes the smaller end users have the available capital for this service. Many of us know that quite a few of these smaller end users operate on very small margins.

The discussion above is designed to motivate thoughts around various steps or measures for the compliance planning process. However, this assumes companies in the U.S. have reached the “tipping point” to adopt international consensus standards versus domestic consensus standards. So far I don’t believe any domestic consensus standards have adopted ISO 13849-1; 2008. On the other hand, many U.S. companies have adopted both domestic and international consensus standards and, therefore, are reaching their “tipping point.”

Has your company reached that “tipping point” to begin using and asking your suppliers to use ISO 13849-1 Machine Guarding standard?

I believe that many companies have, however, I’m not sure that many companies have developed their adoption migration plan.

Have you?

Your comments or suggestion are always welcome so please let us know your thoughts and where you are in the process. Submit your ideas, experiences, and challenges on this subject in the comments section below. Click on the following text if you don't see a comments box, then scroll down: ISO 13849-1 Machine Guarding Adoption, Part 3.

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Related articles:

ISO 13849-1 Machine Guarding adoption, Part 1

ISO 13849-1 Machine Guarding adoption, Part 2

EN ISO 13849-1; 2008 – Are We Ready By December 2011?

Cover story: Machine Safety Integration

Trouble Implementing ISO 13849-1; 2006 per the European Machinery Directive

Contact: www.jbtitus.com for “Solutions for Machine Safety”.



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.