Machine Safety: Identify machine safety standards for your business

Why is it important in the United States to identify machine safety standards for your business? See 6 ways standards help with machine safety.


Why is it important in the United States to identify machine safety standards for your business?

Machine Safety compliance comparison, Europe vs. U.S. Courtesy: Control Engineering Machine Safety Blog, J.B. TitusI hear this question often, asked by company representatives within the U.S. or by internationally based representatives who might not fully understand U.S. machine safety compliance methodology. Without time for a full seminar response, I try to keep my answer to 15 minutes or less. Some highlights follow.

Understand that, unlike the EU for example, the U.S. does not have a Machinery Directive type of approach with listed standards called out in a regulatory manner mandating compliance. Compliance in the EU Machinery Directive approach is often considered a legal requirement because it takes consensus (voluntary) standards and makes them mandatory or legally binding. In so doing, a governmental body is laying out the legal compliance requirements and is establishing the high water mark for safety compliance across industry.

In the United States, safety experts mostly agree that the U.S. takes a different approach for machine safety. OSHA is considered the legal governing body of the U.S. government, and OSHA self declares that its regulations for machine safety are the minimums (low water mark) for safety compliance across industry. Therefore, the consensus standards are predominately voluntary across industry as additional measures for higher levels of machine safety. This picture sometimes is unclear because OSHA on occasion will reference a consensus standard, which then implies a legal requirement for compliance in addition to OSHA regulations. Sometimes this picture is further complicated by the U.S. court system because consensus standards can be used by lawyers to indicate a known safety measure for the purpose of assessing a liability.

Therefore, many safety experts will advise that businesses select machine safety standards for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Establishing a safer machine guarding environment, in addition to the OSHA regulations.
  • As a means of meeting or exceeding environment health and safety (EH&S) established goals.
  • To improve a company’s employee moral level by reducing the incidence of injuries.
  • To achieve a best-in-class attitude and culture within a company.
  • To improve bottom line performance (the cost of injuries goes directly to the bottom line).
  • Because it’s good business practice.

...and more.

As you can see, quite often the answer to this question requires more than 15 minutes. Any questions? Post them below, and we'll see if we can answer in future posts.

Browse other Machine Safety Blog posts.

Search related terms at Or see related topics linked at the bottom of this post.

Contact: for “Solutions for Machine Safety.”

No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Make Big Data and Industrial Internet of Things work for you, 2017 Engineers' Choice Finalists, Avoid control design pitfalls, Managing IIoT processes
Engineering Leaders Under 40; System integration improving packaging operation; Process sensing; PID velocity; Cybersecurity and functional safety
Mobile HMI; PID tuning tips; Mechatronics; Intelligent project management; Cybersecurity in Russia; Engineering education; Road to IANA
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Flexible offshore fire protection; Big Data's impact on operations; Bridging the skills gap; Identifying security risks
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
click me