ISO 13849-1 Machine Guarding Adoption, Part 4 - safety standard merger

Adopting EN ISO 13849-1 by Dec. 31, 2011 has been taking a lot of attention this year particularly for manufacturers of machinery and global end users. Guess what? The IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) world and the ISO (International Standardization Organization) world are voting to merge EN ISO 13849-1 and IEC 62061. Yikes – when will “Safety of Machinery – Safety Functions of Control Systems” settle down?


Adopting EN ISO 13849-1 by Dec. 31, 2011 has been taking a lot of attention this year particularly for manufacturers of machinery and global end users. Guess what? The IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) world and the ISO (International Standardization Organization) world are voting to merge EN ISO 13849-1 and IEC 62061. Yikes – when will “Safety of Machinery – Safety Functions of Control Systems” settle down?

   We been talking about a lot of new approaches, terminology, and considerations for industry faced with the compliance requirements integral to the adoption of ISO 13849-1 by Dec. 31, 2011. For many companies this will be a paradigm shift within their organizations but one that offers increased safety and fewer injuries for industry’s most valuable resource – the employee. We’re still fairly early in the learning and adoption curves for this full transition to designing in and compliance with these functional safety requirements. When will this potentially merged standard be completed and how will it affect Industry? This is the million dollar question!

   Have any of you heard about this? Do you have any ideas on how this might affect your responsibilities or your business? Please let us know by providing your comments below.

   Briefly, in my opinion, the potential merger of 13849-1 and 62061 could be another significant advancement in machine guarding and functional safety of control systems. The NWIP (New Work Item Proposal) submitted by France is out for vote within IEC and ISO. Once approved a joint working group is formed and their activities and time schedule is defined for completion. The amount of work for this kind of effort I believe is substantial and completion could take four years. The new EN ISO 13849-1 was originally given a two year transition to take the place of EN 954-1 but experienced two extensions. Possibly this merged standard will also be awarded a two year phase in also which could place the compliance date in six years or roughly 2018. If it happens is seven years enough time to get ready?

   As for the second question, I believe the affect on your responsibilities or your business could be slight and positive. In 30,000 foot language I believe this is because 62061 does a great job of covering the more complex components of the control system (like safety PLC’s, safe motion, etc.) and 13849-1 does a great job of addressing the less complex components of the control system (like safety interlock switches, safety relays, etc.). Both of these standards use mathematically derived safety circuit design methodologies to determine safety levels of compliance and hazard mitigation. Surely, by 2018, industry should have enough experience using these standards to achieve safety compliance that adoption of the merged standard should be straight forward. The gotcha is of course – innovation. For the past ten years we’ve been it a fast paced cycle of safety automation innovation.

   What new technologies will automation suppliers bring to the market adding a third dimension to this question over the next 10 years?

   Your comments or suggestion are always welcome so please let us know your thoughts. Submit your ideas, experiences, and challenges on this subject in the comments section below. Click on the following text if you don't see a comments box, then scroll down: ISO 13849-1 Machine Guarding Adoption, Part 4.

   Did you see the Safety Integration Webcast?

   Related articles:

ISO 13849-1 Machine Guarding Adoption, Part 1

ISO 13849-1 Machine Guarding Adoption, Part 2

ISO 13849-1 Machine Guarding Adoption, Part 3

EN ISO 13849-1; 2008 – Are We Ready By December 2011?

Cover story: Machine Safety Integration

Trouble Implementing ISO 13849-1; 2006 per the European Machinery Directive

Contact: for “Solutions for Machine Safety”.

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