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Quality Digest

Standards

Protecting Machine Operators

Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2007 - 22:00

(ISO: Geneva, Switzerland) -- The new ISO 14121-1 standard on risk assessment for machinery will help designers and manufacturers reduce associated safety hazards.

The use of machinery is key to the development of any country. However, accidents do occur and can cause irreversible damage or even death to the affected person, not to mention significant economic loss to the company.

With ISO 14121-1—“Safety of machinery—Risk assessment—Part 1: Principles,” manufacturers will be able to identify risks during the design stage of production and hence prevent future accidents. The risk assessment guidelines provided in the standard are presented as a series of logical steps. These will help designers to systematically determine the limits of the machinery; identify risks of hazards such as radiation, burning or electrocution; and estimate potential dangers ranging from machine failure to human error.

The information obtained through this process will allow producers to determine whether a machine is adequately safe or not. In the eventual case that the machine isn’t found to be adequately safe, this information will be valuable for the subsequent risk reduction stage. The process would then be repeated until the machine is established as adequately safe for use. This new standard could save millions of dollars in compensation and lost production.

Moreover, there are currently a myriad of national safety legislations that oblige manufacturers to comply with a variety of diverging requirements. The widespread adoption of this international standard based on consensus could therefore facilitate international trade, while improving occupational health and safety.

ISO 14121-1 will also form a basis for the development of further standards dealing with specific safety aspects or safeguards, or for more detailed safety requirements in particular machines.

The second part of ISO 14121 is currently under preparation, ISO/PRF TR 14121-2—“Safety of machinery—Risk assessment—Part 2: Practical guidance and examples of methods.”

ISO 14121-1 was developed by ISO/TC 199—”Safety of machinery,” which works together with industry, health and safety bodies, authorities, unions, employer’s associations and international organizations such as the International Labor Organization and the World Health Organization to develop standards that reduce the risks of injury from machinery at home, work and during leisure activities.

For more information, visit: www.iso.org/iso/pressrelease.htm?refid=Ref1074

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