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EN 954-1 extension may delay advancements in machine safety

08 September 2009

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>>STOP PRESS

8 December 2009: The EC Machinery Working group has agreed to extend the transition period for EN 954-1. This final decision enables EN 954-1 to provide a presumption of conformity to the (new) Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC, though there has been no announcement about for how long the transition period is being extended. Read more about the EN 954-1 extension.

>STOP PRESS

24 September 2009: An announcement from the EC has effectively reversed the decision described below, so EN 954-1 will cease to give presumption of conformity to the Machinery Directive at the end of 2009, as originally planned. However, that may not be the end of the matter. Read more here.

EN 954-1 extension may delay advancements in machine safety

The European Commission (EC) has announced that BS EN 954-1 can be used to support compliance to the European Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC for a further three years in spite of the introduction of new replacement standards (see confirmation from CEN). However, Schneider Electric is urging machine builders not to delay, but to start conforming to the new standards as soon as possible.

For many years EN 954-1 (BS EN 954-1 in the UK) has been followed for presumption of conformity to the Machinery Directive 98/37/EC. However, the two new standards – namely BS EN ISO 13849-1 and BS EN 62061 – were set to replace BS EN 954-1 on December 29 2009, and would have been the only control system standards accepted under the new European Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC. This change has been publicised for a long time and many machine builders and control system suppliers have invested time and money in preparing to follow the new standards.

However, some organisations have found it difficult to get ready for the change and, as a result, the deadline for withdrawal of the presumption of conformity for EN 954-1 has been extended to 2012. This means that machine builders can now continue using the old standard, EN 954-1, for another three years, which unfortunately has the potential to delay advancements in machine safety.

Switch to new standards

Peter Still, industry standards manager at Schneider Electric, comments: "BS EN 954-1 is well understood and is seen as simple to use, but is not really rigorous enough to ensure sufficient safety integrity in many modern and complex machines. Complying with the new standards may be more time-consuming, but it can achieve greater levels of safety throughout the machine's life.

"At Schneider Electric we are fully supportive of the new directive and have therefore invested in a product range that helps meet the new standards and have made our functional safety data visible to help with compliance. Despite the deadline extension, it is really important that machine builders start complying with the two new standards as soon as possible, to ensure they are working to the highest level of safety."

To help machine builders understand the new standards, Schneider Electric has published a Safe Machines Handbook – which it describes as an unbiased and concise guide explaining some aspects of the new directive. This handbook can be downloaded by visiting www.schneider-electric.co.uk.

For further information regarding Schneider Electric's range of products, telephone +44 (0)870 608 8 608.

 
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