Machinery guards service to satisfy Machinery Directive requirements launched

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Safety Systems Technology has set up a bespoke service to design, manufacture and install machinery/machine tool guarding, ensuring that machine manufacturers and users are compliant with the changes in the Machinery Directive that have recently come into force.

Guards are often treated surprisingly casually and continue to be the cause of many injuries and accidents that could have been prevented had appropriate and fit-for-purpose guards been in use, says the company. The new Machinery Safety Directive, 2006/42/EC, which came into force at the end of 2009, introduced a whole range of new requirements for guards, not the least of which is that they must carry CE marking. 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. The new version of the Machinery Directive now also requires that guards must protect against the ejection of falling materials and objects; 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. "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's certainly not a task that can be readily tackled with an ad-hoc design and the services of the local engineering company" says Gary Trewhitt of Safety Systems Technology. "CE marking, along with the design and manufacture of guards, now requires specialist expertise, which is why we have launched our new guarding service." See also Machinery feature here