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Laidler Associates, a UK industrial and safety compliance consultant, has welcomed the delay to the replacement of the EN 954-1 safety standard.

Nevertheless, Laidler has emphasised that the move does nothing to change the fact that EN 954-1 is deficient in many areas.

Expert guidance is, therefore, highly desirable when relying on this standard, particularly in relation to new designs.

A new standard, EN (ISO) 13849-1 ‘Safety of Machinery, Safety-Related Parts of Control Systems’, had been expected to replace EN 954-1 within the next few months.

However, machine and control-system builders expressed serious concerns about difficulties in applying the new standard in practice, particularly as it calls for component MTBF (mean time between failure) data, which, in many cases, is not currently available.

In response to these concerns, the Machinery Directive Working Group of the European Environmental and Technical Regulation Directorate recently announced that it was receptive to the idea that EN 954-1 could continue to be accepted for a limited period, while it is still referenced by harmonised standards.

It has been suggested that the extended period of acceptance is likely to be either three or five years.

Paul Laidler, managing director of Laidler Associates, said: ‘For most control system and machine builders, this is very good news, since it gives time for the work needed to underpin the new EN 13849-1 standard to be carried out carefully and thoroughly.

‘Nevertheless, retaining EN 954-1 does have its downside, as there are many areas that this standard doesn’t cover, including, for example, programmable safety equipment, which simply didn’t exist when it was formulated.

‘For this reason, control system and machine builders must be careful about placing too much reliance on EN 954-1 as a way of demonstrating that they have fully met their obligations in relation to control-system safety.

‘This is, in fact, a complex area where most companies will benefit from expert guidance.

‘At Laidler, we have used our wide experience in industrial safety and compliance to carefully analyse this complex situation and the issues it creates.

‘As a result, we are in a prime position to provide that guidance.’ Laidler’s focus in providing consultancy services for EN 954-1 and EN 18439-1 is to work with its clients to develop comprehensive and dependable solutions that are practical, convenient and cost effective.

Laidler Associates

As market leader in machinery safety, Laidler Associates provide advice and assistance for machinery safety legislation and risk assessments providing solutions on a worldwide basis. Laidler works with companies from around the world including USA, Japan, China and Ireland. Laidler Associates specialise in taking the stress out of conformity and can assume responsibility for assembling documentation such as PUWER reports or the Technical File and issuing the Declaration of Conformity for CE Marking projects.

Qualified Laidler engineers travel across the world saving clients time and money by providing up-to-date training and information to all business sectors that require conformity to the many CE Directives and European Standards. The wide range of services include CE Marking, risk assessment, PUWER assessments, EMC testing and training.

Laidler have recently launched a new software package which helps businesses through the CE Marking and PUWER assessment processes. Laidler Associates is the official partner of the PPMA (Process and Packaging Machinery Association) on regulatory affairs.

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