Safety Technology

CE-marking Mandatory CE-marking has been in effect since the start of 1995 in compliance with the Machinery Directive 89/392/EEC. It defines the fundamental demands regarding the safety of machinery and the health considerations for the operator and user.

The consolidated standard is now available under the designation 98/37/EC.
What is a "machine"?

"A machine for the purpose of this directive is an assembly of linked parts or components, at least one of which moves".
(Quote from the Machinery Directive)

It also includes appropriate actuators, control and power circuits which are interconnected for a specific purpose. (For example, for processing, treatment, moving or packaging of a material).

The directive includes the following as "Machines" in its scope:

  • Industrial machines
  • Stacker cranes
  • Fork lifts.

As the Machinery Directive only covers fundamental demands and there are many different types of machines in existence, the following must be asked: "How can I provide verification that my machine is safe?" In the European standards (EN standards) concrete demands can be tested and verification provided in this respect.

Safety Technology

Compliance to the Machinery Directive is a MUST in the European Economic Area (EEA). The use of the standards is not mandatory but has a decisive advantage: If standards are used which are published in the Official Journal of the European Communities for compliance to the Machinery Directive or compliance to national standards derived from the directive, an automatic presumption of conformity is assumed.

If an accident in the workplace with personal injuries occurs, it is assumed that the operator or machine manufacturer has fulfilled all machine safety-related demands. This can be of immense significance when attempting to clarify who is at fault.

Use of the European standards (EN standards) is imperative in order to implement the Machinery Directive.

The EN standards "Safety for machines" are subdivided into three main groups:
Type A: General design principles
Defines demands which can be applied to all machine types: Fundamental safety demands.
Type B: Group standards
These are "group standards". They deal with construction related aspects (type B1) such as minimum clearances, surface temperatures or functional aspects (type B2) such as Emergency-Stop or two-hand circuit.
They can be applied for various machine groups.
Type C: Product standards
Described as "Product standards" which involve the demands of the individual machine types. The C standard can be used to test and verify the machine safety.
The safety requirements of the machinery directive and the EN standards vary widely and depend on the corresponding accident risk. In most of the C standards the concrete risks involved for the machine type are usually considered. The safety requirements which apply are predefined at the correspondingly high or low level.

In particular if no relevant C standard exists, the machine constructer must estimate the level of hazard or risk involved with a risk assessment and implement, test and document suitable measures for reduction of the risk involved.

The Way to a Safe Machine

Design and risk assessment of the machine

EN ISO 12100-1 and -2
EN 1050/ ISO 14121 (type A)

Determination of the limits of the machine (what is the intended purpose of the machine?)
Identification of the hazards on the machine (exposing potential dangers)
Risk assessment
Risk estimation (damage extent x occurrence probability)
Risk evaluation (risk reduction necessary)
Decisions relating to the measures for risk reduction (through design measures, protective devices).

Function and safety-related demands for safety-relevant control

Definition of safety demands on the control and their implementation
The EN 954-1/prEN ISO 13849-1 or EN IEC 62061 are used (type B1 standards) to suit the technology, risk classification and design.
EN 954-1/prEN ISO 13849-1
Validation: EN ISO 13849-2
EN IEC 62061
Validation: EN ISO 13849-2
Applied field:
For non-complex programmable electronics as well as mechanical, hydraulic and pneumatic systems. Can only be used on a limited basis for complex electronic systems.
  Applied field:
For all electrical and electronic systems. Non-electrical systems are not covered.

Notes on the standards
prEN ISO 13849-1 is currently being revised and will replace EN 954-1 in the near future. Up until this point EN 954-1 will apply.

Application of the standards
Further safety-relevant B1 and B2 standards help with the implementation of the safety demands:

  • EN 418/ISO 13850 (Safety of machinery – Emergency stop)
  • EN 1088/ISO 14119 (Safety of machinery – Interlocking devices associated with guards)
  • EN 574 (Safety of machinery – Two-hand control devices)
  • EN IEC 61496 (Safety of machinery – Electro-sensitive protective equipment).

Electrical safety aspects
They are described in the EN IEC 60204-1 (type B1) standard.


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