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Watch out for changes to familiar standards

03 December 2010

Laidler Associates has warned that changes will soon be made to some of the most fundamental and familiar standards relating to machine safety. Machine builders and OEMs would be well advised to start making preparations immediately to accommodate these changes.

Watch out for changes to familiar standards
Watch out for changes to familiar standards

The standards affected are EN ISO 12100-1:2003, Safety of machinery - Basic concepts, general principles for design - Basic terminology, methodology; EN ISO 12100-2:2003, Safety of machinery - Basic concepts, general principles for design - Part 2: Technical principles; and EN ISO 14121-1:2007, safety of machinery - Risk assessment - Part 1: Principles. These standards are being superseded and replaced by a new standard, which is designated ISO 12100:2010, Safety of machinery - General principles for design - Risk assessment and risk reduction. This is the latest standard to be updated and changes to other standards will follow.

All of the standards involved, old and new, are Type A standards and as such underpin the design of all machines that are intended to be supplied and used in Europe.

The essence of the change is that the requirements of the three existing standards are being consolidated into one new standard, with no changes to the requirements themselves. It has also been made clear that documentation for machines already in use, which refers to the existing standards, will not need to be revised. However, documentation for all machines supplied after the change has taken place must refer to the latest standard.

“Since the requirements themselves are not changing, it might seem that machine builders and OEMs don’t need to concern themselves about the introduction of ISO EN 12100:2010,” said Paul Laidler of Laidler Associates, “but that’s not quite true. Though the requirements won’t change, the numbering relating to them certainly will, which means that any documentation that refers to individual requirements will have to be revised accordingly, if it is to be supplied with new machines.”

“This will particularly affect companies with machines in series production, and companies that are currently designing machines that will not be supplied until after the new standard comes into force,” he continued. “We would strongly suggest that these companies take note of the impending changes now and prepare for them, rather than waiting till the last minute. And, of course, if assistance is needed in making the changes, Laidler Associates will be pleased to provide it.”

While no date has yet been announced for the publication of ISO EN 12100:2010 in the UK, the process is well underway. The ISO version of the new standard has been harmonised and it has been published in its ISO and EN forms. It is understood that BSI is currently is in the final stages of working on the UK version and that publication is therefore imminent.

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