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EN 954-1 gets a two-year extension … but confusion continues

16 December, 2009

The European Commission’s Machinery Working Group has decided to give the EN 954-1 standard a two-year stay of execution, extending the period during which it can be used to provide a presumption of conformity to the new Machinery Directive until the end of 2012. Originally, the standard was due to phased out when the new Directive came into force at the end of December but, following a period of confusion, the working group decided in early December to extend the transition period because most EU member states were in favour of an extension.

But a new source of confusion has now emerged after the EC published a list of standards harmonised under the new Directive, which omits some crucial standards – including EN 954-1. Other standards missing from the list include EN 60204-1, EN 61496-1 and EN 60947-5-5.

According to Peter Still, industry standards manager at Schneider Electric in the UK (above), the omission of these standards “leaves machine-builders, as well as those that have to enforce the Directive, in a state of confusion.

“With regards to EN 954-1 continuing into 2010,” he adds, “this wasn’t an ideal time to make this decision. Regardless of the rights or wrongs of prolonging its use, the announcement needed to be made several months ago, to allow machine-builders some certainty about which standards could be used under the new Machinery Directive.”
He advises machine-builders to use the old standards as guidance, but to check carefully the wording of the health and safety requirements of the Directive to make sure they conform. “With these vital standards missing from the list, machine-builders need to know that their declaration of conformity is based on their own judgement.”

During the extended transition period, machine-builders can chose to use either EN 954-1 or its more modern successors, EN ISO 13849-1 and EN/IEC 62061. Some experts, such as Pilz Automation, are recommending using the newer standards as soon as possible.

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