Where to Start with Machine Safety Standards (Part Two)

machine safety standards

“Which machine safety standards should I follow?” I’m asked this common question a lot, and I can understand why: Standards can be daunting. But the answer isn’t as difficult as you may think.

The simple response is this: If your business operates strictly within the United States, then you’ll want to follow ANSI standards.

If you ship machines all over the world, or you have manufacturing plants in various parts of the globe, then we recommend following ISO standards.

Within ANSI and ISO, however, there are several specific standards that you should know about.

Standards that Apply to All Manufacturers

As a baseline, there are certain standards for manufacturers to follow no matter which types of machines are being used within the plant environment. These standards explain general rules for every piece of equipment.

Examples include:

1. ISO 13849: Safety of Machinery, Safety-Related Parts of Control Systems, Part 1: General Principles for Design

Even if your plant manufactures only within the United States and follows ANSI standards as a result, ISO 13849 defines performance levels (PLs), which measure Probability of Dangerous Failure per Hour (PFHd) – and are also referenced in ANSI standards. For example, ANSI/RIA R15.06, ANSI B11.19, and ANSI B11.0 all reference performance levels.

This standard is a tough read and rather technical, but it’s a necessary one. (We’ll cover performance levels in detail in an upcoming blog, so stay tuned!) Also note: ISO 13849 is set to have a new version published soon.

2. ANSI B11.19-2019: Performance Requirements for Risk Reduction Measures: Safeguarding and Other Means of Reducing Risk

Just updated and published in 2019, this standard covers the mechanical and electrical aspects of machine safety. It features mechanical tables (such as minimum gaps), reaching over a structure, and mechanical guarding requirements. It also addresses things like electronic safety devices and safe-distance calculations.

Historically, manufacturers needed to purchase several standards documents to gain access to all this information. Now it’s available in one location: B11.19-2019.

3. ANSI B11.0-2020: Safety of Machinery

Updated and published in 2020, this standard outlines in detail the risk assessment process. It specifies basic terminology, principles, and the methodology to follow to achieve acceptable risk when designing and using machinery.

Available at ANSI B11.0-2020.

Risk Assessment Standards

To determine which risk assessment standard to follow, you or your plant should first select a risk assessment methodology to follow. There are several standards that outline risk assessment methodologies; they all include tables that help you measure risk and rate the danger level of a hazard.

For example:

  • ANSI B11.0: Safety of Machinery (mentioned above)
  • ISO 10218: Robots and Robotic Devices, Safety Requirements for Industrial Robots, Part 1: Robots
  • ANSI/RIA TR R15.306: Task-Based Risk Assessment Methodology
  • ISO 13849: Safety of Machinery, Safety-Related Parts of Control Systems, Part 1: General Principles for Design (mentioned above)

Each of these standards includes a risk-scoring system, but the systems are all a little different.

Personally, I prefer to work with ANSI/RIA TR R15.306 because it contains a lookup table that converts risk levels to performance levels. It also includes good definitions of severity, exposure, and avoidance.

Standards for Machinery Types

Next, you’ll want to determine whether a standard exists for your specific type of machine (a press, packaging equipment, or robot, for example).

Below is a short list of machine types with their own standards (called “Type-C standards,” which provide detailed safety guidelines):

  • ANSI B11.1: Safety Requirements for Mechanical Power Presses
  • ANSI B11.2: Safety Requirements for Hydraulic and Pneumatic Power Presses
  • ANSI B11.3: Safety Requirements for Power Press Brakes
  • ANSI/RIA R15.06-2012: American National Standard for Industrial Robots and Robot Systems Safety Requirements
  • ANSI/RIA R15.08: Industrial Mobile Robot Safety
  • ANSI/PMMI B155.1-2016: Safety Requirements for Packaging Machinery and Packaging-Related Converting Machines
  • EN 1114-1: Plastics and Rubber Machines, Extruders and Extrusion Lines
  • ANSI B151.1: Plastics Machinery, Safety Requirements for Injection Molding Machines
A Standards Summary

To recap, I recommend that everyone begin by following these four standards:

  1. ANSI B11.0-2020
  2. ANSI B11.19-201
  3. ANSI/RIA TR R15.306
  4. ISO 13849

Then, if you’re working with a machine that’s covered by a specific Type-C standard, implement that standard as well.

Want to learn more about safety standards and risk assessments? Start with the first blog in our safety series: Balancing Ideal-World Machine Safety with Real Life.

And don’t hesitate to ask us questions along the way. We have many TUV-certified machine safety engineers and technicians who are happy to help. Stay tuned for more blogs soon to come in our safety series!

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