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UK warns that Euro norm will cut safety levels
Published:  01 August, 2002

UK warns that Euro norm will cut safety levels

The UK has complained to the European Commission that a European standard covering safety on hydraulic presses will lower existing safety levels in the UK and could lead to an increasing number of injuries and, possibly, deaths.

The Health and Safety Executive has lodged a formal objection with the EC over BS EN 693:2001, Machine tools - safety - hydraulic presses. The complaint has the support of industry organisations including the Engineering Employers` Federation, the Machine Tool Technologies Association, the Confederation of British Industry and the Safety Assessment Federation.

The standard allows, as an option, the use of two-hand control devices which will protect the person using the device, but not others with access to the press tools.

The HSE argues that two-hand controls used as the sole safeguard at the press operating position do not satisfy all of the relevant health and safety requirements of the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 1992 (as amended), which govern the manufacture and supply of all machinery, including hydraulic presses.

"The HSE believes that if two-hand controls are allowed as the sole means of guarding, the number of serious accidents will undoubtedly increase," warns Nick Hitchcott of the HSE`s Engineering and Utilities sector. "HSE is prepared to take enforcement action against suppliers if hydraulic presses are not adequately guarded."

The UK wants EN 693 to be amended to ensure that two-hand controls are used to guard presses only in conjunction with other safeguards that protect other workers as well as those operating the two-hand controls.

The HSE points out that hydraulic presses are dangerous machines which can cause serious injuries such as crushed and amputated limbs. The injuries can sometimes be fatal.

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