Industrial Machine Safety Standards After Brexit

Health and safety
Since 1988, industrial machinery safety standards in Britain have been certified by the Code of Practice for Machine Safety (BS 5304:1975). However, since the uncertainty of Brexit arrived, this standard is under review, although until such a review is complete and any amendments to the original standards are announced, all British industrial businesses should continue to abide by the standards detailed in the original Code of Practice.

The original documentation is still available in the archives of the British Standards Institution (BSI), under the title of Published Document PD 5304:2014.

New Temporary Euro Standards

In addition to the old British standards coming under review, the European Commission has temporarily instituted a set of legally-binding standards for suppliers of goods as well as the owners and operators of any large industrial machinery including those using gearboxes or geared motors. These EC standards will cover the period of uncertainty prior to and just after Brexit.

The EC standards will ensure there is a conformity of machinery safety guards and other health and safety devices. Sometimes called ‘Euronorms’, these standards represent the benchmark of expected machine safety procedure and generally incorporate most of the original principles laid out in Britain’s long-established safety standards that are currently under review.

The ‘Euronorm’ machine safety standards consist of three groups, Type A which are basic safety standards, Type B1 and Type B2 which are safety group standards, and Type C which are technical and machine-specific standards. Each of the standards are derived from experience and knowledge of machinery design and application, including all known risks.

Type A Standards

The first set of temporary standards apply to the essential concepts and design principles of all industrial machines. One example is the ISO 12100:2010 standard, which explains the basic terminology and principles required for complete safety during the planning and design phase of machinery manufacture.

Type A explains procedures for both identifying and eliminating dangers as well as risk estimation, evaluation and reduction during a machine’s operational lifespan, including machine components such as geared motors and gearboxes.

Type B1 and B2 Standards

The B1 standard is associated with the more general aspects of safety between machine and machine operators. The standards describe appropriate safety distances from dangerous areas, which eliminates the danger of limbs being caught or crushed. This Type B1 also explains the appropriate approach speed required to calculate the optimum safety distance for the likes of safety light curtains or even multiple light beam safety devices.

The Type B2 standard covers more technical and specialised protective devices. These will include the likes of light curtains, emergency stop buttons and safety door switches. Type B2 also explains how to safely design and test safety components, which must all be considered by machinery manufacturers as well as the machine’s design engineer.

Type C Standards

Type C standards are specifically written to cover specific dangers and risks and thus are always prioritised over Type A and Type B. The standards explain how to reduce risks of specialised machinery, though if Type C is not applicable then the designers, engineers and machine operators should still refer to either Type A or Type B.

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