European Machinery Directive: What it Means

January 25, 2010 - There has been significant discussion and speculation over the past few months regarding the status of EN 954-1:1996 and the superseding document EN ISO 13849-1:2006.

“The EN 954-1 standard has been in the marketplace for many years, and acquired broad, worldwide acceptance around the world as a guiding requirement for designing safety control systems commensurate with the risk of a given application. Many people are familiar with EN 954-1 through the Categories (B, 1, 2, 3, & 4) that safety professionals have talked about for years. This standard was superseded by a new standard EN ISO 13849-1:2006 and all conflicting national documents within the European Union (EU) were to be withdrawn no later than November 2009,” says Chris Soranno, Safety Compliance Manager, Omron STI.

For numerous reasons, the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) requested an extension allowing a presumption of conformity to the new European Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC that came into effect on December 29, 2009 in the EU by applying the older EN 954-1 requirements. Based on this request and extensive discussion among the European Machinery Working Group, an extension was announced that will allow this presumption for an additional period of two (2) years, ending December 31, 2011.

What it means
For the next two years, machine builders, users, and integrators can use either EN 954-1:1996, EN ISO 13849-1:2006, or EN ISO 13849-1:2008 to prove presumption of conformity with the Machinery Directive. However, after December 31, 2011, only EN ISO 13849-1:2008 may be used for this purpose.

Although many Type C (machine specific) standards exist in the EU that still reference EN 954-1, these standards are replacing the outdated citation with reference to the new EN ISO 13849-1. Also note that this extension has no effect on EN ISO 13849-1, which has been in effect since 2006, has been harmonized in Europe, and will be the primary standard used to show compliance with the Machinery Directive in Europe.

“The extension of EN 954-1 allows suppliers to legally sell products on the market that only comply with older requirements, even when newer harmonized standards provide stricter descriptions of ‘state of the art.’ Omron STI only sells products that meet the latest safety standards and are truly state of the art,” says Soranno.

About Omron STI
Omron Scientific Technologies, Inc. is a North American provider of automation safeguarding products and services. Omron STI safety products and integration services are used to protect workers around machinery, automated equipment and industrial robots in a wide variety of applications and markets, including semiconductor, automotive, medical, electronics manufacturing, packaging and consumer markets.
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