Bespoke machine guards comply with Machinery Directive

15 June 2011

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Bespoke machine guards comply with Machinery DirectiveSafety Systems Technology (now incorporated within TÜV SÜD Product Service Ltd) has established a service to design, manufacture and install bespoke machinery guarding to help customers comply with the changes introduced when the new Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC and corresponding harmonised standards came into effect.

According to Safety Systems Technology, guards are often treated surprisingly casually and are the cause of many injuries and accidents that could have been prevented had appropriate and fit-for-purpose guards been in use.

With this in mind, it is not surprising that current safety legislation gives a lot of attention to guards and, as a result, a great many individuals and companies are breaking health and safety laws without being aware that they are doing so. The new Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC, which came into force at the end of 2009, introduced a new requirements for guards, not least of which is that they must be CE marked when supplied as safety components.

Applicable standards

To carry CE marking a product must comply with all applicable EU standards and there are a great many standards that apply to guards. Just a few examples are EN 953 Safety of Machinery – Guards – General Requirements; EN ISO 13857 Safety of Machinery – Safety distances to prevent hazard zones being reached by upper and lower limbs; and EN 349 Safety of Machinery – Minimum gaps to avoid crushing of parts of the human body. There are many others, including many Type C standards that apply specifically to particular types of machine.

Gary Trewhitt of Safety Systems Technology comments: "Clearly, achieving full standards compliance for a guard, which is necessary if it is to carry the CE marking, is no trivial task. And it is certainly not a task that can be readily tackled with an ad-hoc design and the services of the local engineering company. CE marking, along with the design and manufacture of guards, now requires specialist expertise - which is why we have launched our new guarding service."

This need for expertise is further reinforced when the other changes to guarding requirements brought in by the new Machinery Directive are considered. Section 1.4.1 of the Essential Health and Safety Requirements (ESHRs) requires that guards must protect against the ejection of falling materials and objects. Section has added requirements that for fixed guards, the fixing systems must remain attached to the guards when removed, and also that, where possible, guards must be incapable of remaining in position without their fixings.

In some cases these new requirements may be easy to satisfy, but in many they will not - and in every case a considerable level of expertise will be needed to ensure that guards satisfy all regulatory requirements. In these cases, specialist guarding design, assessment and manufacturing services, of the type offered by Safety Systems Technology's guarding service, can prove convenient, affordable and dependable.

Contact the company for more information about its machine guarding services.

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