KANBrief

The KANBrief is a quarterly update concerning news and trends in the field of occupational safety and health and standardization. The print version is published in German, English and French. The electronic version is also available in Italian and Polish.

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ISSN (print) 2702-4024
ISSN (online) 2702-4032

Year of release

Lead topic of the next issue:

Additive manufacturing

Lead topic

The topics of occupational safety and health and product safety are now strongly influenced by European legislation. But what form exactly do the corresponding legislative procedures at EU level take, and how can interest groups contribute to them?

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The new EU Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work 2021-2027 is intended to help address risks to workers associated with the digital and green transitions.

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The article is a personal view based on conversations with key players and the author’s experience as former head of the HSE Safety Unit (UK market surveillance of work products, product safety policy) and former chairman of a number of EU wide bodies including the ICSMS System, the Machinery ADCO Group (EU market surveillance authorities) and the MACHEX Group (inspection policy concerning the use of work equipment). Philip Papard was also a member of the EU Commission’s editorial team drafting the Machinery Directive Guide.

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It is often not appreciated that the water jet even of a simple high-pressure washer with an operating pressure of approx. 100 bar can seriously injure a person. Injuries may be caused by the water jet itself and also by defective hose lines. The water, which is not sterile, may be injected deep into human tissue together with other minute particles, such as blasted off paint or varnish, and spread unchecked through the tissue and away from the point of injection.

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The outline for the China Standards 2035 plan has startled standardization experts around the world. Notwithstanding the fact that the plan is a research project and the Chinese government has not yet reached a decision, it has become clear that the People’s Republic has discovered standardization as an instrument of industrial, geostrategic and power politics. This has far-reaching consequences that also impact upon Europe.

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Many standards assume a weight of 75 kg for human beings, for example for the formulation of test methods or requirements to be met by products. However, a study by KAN has revealed a need for standards and EU legislation to be amended in this respect.

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A task for the standardization community

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Researchers have been tasked by the BGHW with studying the occupational safety and health issues that must be considered during the use of smart glasses.

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Under its KANPraxis brand, KAN provides occupational safety and health experts with the best possible support: the brand encompasses ergonomics tuition modules, and tools for searching for standards, applying anthropometric data and designing machinery ergonomically.

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Lead topic

Action by companies is particularly conducive to success when consideration is given to human factors. Standards governing ergonomics contain a wealth of guidance for companies. For 50 years, such standards have communicated fundamental principles of ergonomics, presented important concepts in the sphere of human factors, and created a recognized body of rules for the design of work and products.

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A good approach to safety and health at work is good for everyone: workers, companies and society as a whole. Such an approach requires a good culture of prevention. Specifically, employers and management personnel must commit to preventing health risks and actively promoting good employee health.

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Where the behaviour of systems cannot be predicted, defining requirements for them presents legislators with a challenge

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The occupational safety and health community aims for a standardized measurement procedure

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Transparent, practical, with greater participation

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Lead topic

Since the global lockdown triggered by the corona pandemic in the spring of 2020, community face coverings have become a familiar sight. They are among the hygiene measures taken to contain the virus. Community face coverings are available for purchase, but can also be made by users themselves. They are also termed “mouth and nose coverings” (MNCs), reflecting their function; the term intentionally does not imply a protective action.

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Personal protective equipment, community face coverings, an occupational safety and health standard: the coronavirus pandemic has raised many new questions concerning practices at the workplace. What measures and protective equipment can be used to protect employees? KAN has compiled a range of information obtained from numerous sources on the subject of corona and occupational safety and health.

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Following several fatal accidents on treatment tables with electrical height adjustment, KAN organized an expert discussion of the design of safe treatment tables at the beginning of 2019. The parties involved discussed their respective positions and launched efforts to reduce the hazard on existing and new treatment tables. The second KAN expert discussion, held in October 2020, showed that significant progress has been made but that much remains to be done.

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EN 17169, Tattooing – Safe and hygienic practice, was published in spring 2020. Its content includes guidelines for tattooists, and also hygiene requirements. In its comments on the draft standard, the occupational safety and health lobby had stated that the standard’s focus must lie on the quality of the service and the safety of the customer, and not on the safety of the tattooist.

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The argument made for open-plan office concepts is that they are transparent working environments conducive to communication. However, the planning and design of such offices is complex, for a number of reasons. The acoustics in particular pose enormous challenges. Methods for measurement and assessment relevant to the subject can be found in state regulations and standards.

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Atmospheric limit values for protecting human health against the adverse effects of hazardous substances at the workplace are generally set with reference to toxicological and occupational health data. However, consideration is often also given to technical feasibility and economic viability. What importance should be attached in prevention to cost-benefit considerations?

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Special

ISO TC 260, Human resource management, has developed a technical specification in which metrics for the incidence of occupational accidents are standardized internationally. At its meeting on 12 November 2019, the executive board of EUROGIP, the French occupational safety and health organisation, expressed strong reservations with respect to this project, and drew up a position paper, excerpts of which are reproduced here.

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Standardization projects in the field of human resources management are growing in number, particularly at international level. The benefits and drawbacks of such standardization, and how – indeed if – it can be applied to human resources issues, are discussed here by Harald Ackerschott, chairman of DIN's mirror committee on human resources management, Jan-Paul Giertz, head of the section responsible for codetermination and human resources management at the Hans Böckler Foundation, and Carsten Rogge-Strang, CEO of the employers’ federation of the private banking industry (AGV Banken) and member of KAN.

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Kai Schweppe became KAN’s new Chair in June 2020. The economic and ergonomic shaping of work has long been a focus of his activities. After completing his engineering degree, he initially worked in company and labour organization within the clothing sector. In 2000, he took up the position of engineer at the Südwestmetall employers’ association. He has headed the association’s department for labour policy since 2011 and has been its Managing Director since 2013.

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The need for suitable standards is undisputed in the skilled crafts sector of an economy based on the division of labour. However, notwithstanding the advantages, the skilled crafts sector also considers some developments in standardization to be problematic. In its position paper on the skilled crafts and standardization, published in May 2020, Germany’s National Federation of Skilled Crafts and Trades (ZDH) advocates for standardization to be reoriented to the needs of SMEs.

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Part 3 of EN 14175 describes a range of type test procedures for fume cupboards. The required test gas mixture contains sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). Although non-toxic, this gas is highly harmful to the climate, with a global warming potential some 30,000 times that of CO2. Since SF6 is already prohibited in many countries, an alternative is needed. Nitrous oxide (N2O) is being discussed as a possible substitute. This gas is however not without its problems for occupational safety and health.

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Electric kick scooters have become a common sight in many cities. Anyone who has tried riding such a vehicle will confirm the difficulty of negotiating uneven surfaces on the scooter’s small wheels, or signalling turns by hand. Electric kick scooters are also often ridden by two riders or on the pavement, despite this being prohibited. Further discussion is therefore needed of the safety of these vehicles in traffic.

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The current development from partially to highly and fully automated driving, and ultimately to autonomous driving, is expected to deliver huge improvements in road safety. For this development to be successful, it must be supported by a regulatory framework within which solutions can be found that are safe for drivers and, if at all possible, harmonized throughout Europe or indeed worldwide.

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The current spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus underscores the importance of good hygiene for the prevention of infections. In hospitals in particular, cleaning has an important function in reducing the number of microorganisms on surfaces and thus lowering the risk of infection for patients, workers and visitors. The new DIN 13063 standard governing hospital cleaning is intended to set uniform standards for the cleaning process.

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Do you have an idea or proposal for a standard? Would you like to amend an existing standard, for example to take account of developments in safety technology? You can! But how does the European standardization process actually work? This article describes the individual steps and shows you the points at which you can influence the procedure, and how.

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Personal protective equipment with integrated intelligent functions (smart PPE) holds the promise of enhanced protection. However, for smart PPE to be developed successfully and brought to market, users must be involved in the development process (user-centred design). A user survey conducted throughout Germany on smart PPE for use by the fire services has revealed valuable information.

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Potholes, cobblestones, speed bumps: uneven road surfaces like these are familiar to every cyclist. The extent to which vibration and shocks caused by such surfaces reach the rider depends, among other factors, upon the design of the bicycle. KAN is lobbying for this vibration to be covered by standards, since bicycles also serve in many areas as work equipment. Pedelecs account for a rising proportion of these bicycles.

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In 1995, Germany's Federal Highway Research Institute noted a significantly elevated accident risk for ambulances. Each year, an average of 3,500 traffic accidents, or one accident for every 2,000 operations, were recorded in the former West Germany. During journeys with sirens and flashing lights, a critical traffic situation arose on average once every 19 seconds. This was deemed sufficient reason to examine the design safety of ambulances and to improve EN 1789.

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On conventional high-visibility clothing to EN ISO 20471, retroreflective elements are intended to ensure 360° visibility of wearers in the dark. Such clothing is however largely ineffective when it is not illuminated by an extraneous light source. Luminous high-visibility clothing could be the solution. The Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the DGUV (IFA) has tested the effectiveness of such clothing and is submitting the results to development work on a pre-standard.

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2019 was a special year for KAN: it marked 25 years of successful advocacy for the inclusion of OSH concerns in standardization activity. On 4 December, 160 guests from eight countries met at the Berlin premises of the DGUV to celebrate the anniversary. They did not, however, only look back. The talks and discussions focused on how standardization and regulation can respond to the issues of digitalization, artificial intelligence and the increasingly rapid pace of technical development.

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Can standardization keep up with the increasingly rapid pace of change of innovations, and still contribute in future to safety and health at work to the same degree as it is currently doing? The track on which this race is being run is very complex. Developments are now taking place that differ from change in the past in being disruptive in nature. Things change within a short space of time, and owing to radically new philosophies, no longer fit neatly into the existing system.

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HCI International is among the major conferences in the field of human-computer interaction. “Computer” in this context increasingly covers any form of machine or device possessing a digital interface. Much of what is being discussed somewhat vaguely with the buzzwords Industry 4.0 and artificial intelligence (AI) comes into focus at this conference: smart glasses at work, exoskeletons and networked machines, AI and occupational safety and health, cybersecurity and data security.

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Automated decision-making is becoming increasingly accepted. Machine learning now allows management to make decisions about workers at a more granular level than ever before, based on comprehensive information preselected by algorithms. Given the cutting edge nature of the technologies used, it is important to look at the occupational safety and health issues arising as well as benefits posed for workers today.

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The impact of AI is likely to be great, since it permits a revolution in the workplace. In the long term, AI may indeed take on much of the effort that is currently performed by people, including professional work that requires special training and up to now has been beyond the ability of machines. In the short to medium term, though, AI tools will need to be taught to do the work that they will assume in the future.

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As digitalization progresses, the processing of growing volumes of data presents manufacturing companies with major challenges. Machine learning, a sub-domain of artificial intelligence, can be used to generate valuable knowledge from data. When applied in industry, this process – termed “industrial data science” – may translate into a major competitive advantage in the future.

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As in other scenarios, worker safety must be assured in the transformable machines and production facilities of Industry 4.0. Owing to the high level of networked integration, consideration must be given not only to functional safety, but also to a greater degree to security against external attack, and to the mutual influences of the two. It must also be considered to what extent existing risk assessment methods will be suitable for the transformable machines of the future.

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Transporting patients is a physically challenging task for personnel in the ambulance services, particularly when obstacles such as staircases must be overcome. According to the German Ordinance on health and safety requirements for the manual handling of loads at work excessive stress, particularly upon the lumbar spine, caused by lifting of heavy loads should be avoided. The question remains however how this can be achieved in practice. A study by the IFA makes important suggestions in this respect.

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Around 23% of employees in Germany are required to lift and carry heavy loads, 14% to adopt unfavourable body postures whilst working1. Exoskeletons, assistive systems worn on the body, are intended to make these tasks easier. Originally developed for military applications or medical rehabilitation, they are now also finding their way into the world of work. How do exoskeletons work? What opportunities and risks do they present?

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Faster, higher, stronger: the development of exoskeletons for military purposes began under the Olympic motto. Exoskeletons are now also set to revolutionize day-to-day industrial production, and to relieve the burden upon employees by means of supporting structures. But what are the legitimate reasons for their actual use? And how can new technology of this kind be introduced intelligently on the production line? What opportunities does it present for companies and their personnel – and what risks?

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The use of exoskeletons and other equipment in companies to support physical work has been growing for some time now. This equipment is intended to ease strenuous tasks and to support the wearer. The companies using exoskeletons hope that they will permit solutions by which musculoskeletal diseases can be avoided. This raises the question however to what extent exoskeletons are accepted by the workers themselves. A study conducted by the INRS has examined this aspect.

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The EUROSHNET conference is the venue at which experts, decision-makers in the fields of standardization, testing and certification, and people from the most diverse institutions, companies and countries in Europe can network. Around 120 OSH experts from 16 countries took advantage of the opportunity for intensive dialogue at the 6th EUROSHNET conference, which was held in Dresden from 12 to 14 June.

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Professor Dr Joachim Breuer was Director General of the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) from 2002 to 2019. Besides other functions, he is now President of the International Social Security Association (ISSA) and the Club de Genève – Global Social Future in Switzerland. At the 2019 EUROSHNET Conference in Dresden, he ventured a look at the future world of work in the age of 4.0 and globalization.

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Nanomaterials do not exhibit any particular new form of toxicity. The release of nano dusts may however lead to hazards at the workplace. A grouping approach supports the specification of effective protective measures. Particular attention must be paid to materials that release respirable, biopersistent fibrous particles in the course of their life cycle.

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This question was posed by KAN in conjunction with the DGUV at the Dresden Prevention Forum on 6 March 2019. In a discussion chaired by Dr Norbert Lehmann (ZDF), experts from industry and the research and occupational safety and health communities debated whether and how OSH-related research, standardization and regulation are able to keep pace with the strongly accelerated progress of technical development at office workplaces.

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In our digitalized world, developments are taking place at an ever increasing pace. This includes developments in VDU and office workstations. Co-working spaces, open spaces, agile working, Office 4.0: these are just some of the buzzwords used to describe the office of the future and the work performed there. But what about the occupational safety and health regulations in this area? Are they still fit for purpose, or have they long been rendered obsolete by the pace of development?

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Smart personal protective equipment (PPE) offers a wide range of novel applications and increased levels of protection. The same is true of smart personal protective systems (PPSs) and PPE ensembles . The development of smart technologies is on the rise; however, companies are still struggling to market the products in series production quantities. A joint initiative by research institutions and manufacturers’ federations aims to increase the efficiency of development and conformity assessment of smart PPE and PPSs.

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Sunshine is something very pleasant and is also very important for the human body. It can however also be dangerous, sunburn being the most obvious sign. Even without visible reddening of the skin, however, we add to our personal UV accounts each time we sunbathe, and our skin does not lose sight of the balance. Excessive exposure causes skin cancer, currently the most common form of cancer. Protection against solar radiation is therefore very important, especially at work.

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Wood pellets have become firmly established on the European market as a heating fuel. Until just a few years ago, it was not widely appreciated that dangerous concentrations of carbon monoxide (CO) may arise in pellet stores. KAN saw a need for action in this area, and since 2014 has either launched or provided expert support for a package of measures intended to increase occupational safety.

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The reasoning behind the development of a series of standards specifically addressing mental workload is partly that this workload is associated with consequences of strain (such as monotony) and means of measurement (such as interviews, observation, etc.) that differ from those for physical work requirements. The three parts of EN ISO 10075 provide orientation regarding key terms and principles for the design of work and for requirements concerning measurement methods.

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The "New Approach" adopted in the 1980s has characterized the European Single Market ever since. Much of European legislation covered by it sets out only essential requirements. This legislation leaves it to the standards organizations – private-sector bodies acting, until recently, largely under their own responsibility – to support these essential requirements with harmonized standards that could be updated more frequently, but are not binding. In recent years however, the EU has departed from this basic principle.

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Standards are of crucial importance for machine safety and make a key contribution to preventive activity. They can be used to design work equipment to be safe and ergonomic. Owing to their significance in this respect, the Commission for Occupational Health and Safety and Standardization (KAN) has conducted an analysis to determine whether harmonized standards governing machine safety are still up to date.

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Every year, over 700,000 children in Germany start school. When choosing a satchel, these 5 to 6-year-olds are motivated primarily by its colour and graphics. Parents should however ensure that the satchel is easily visible and complies with the DIN standard. This substantially enhances the safety of their children on the journey to and from school.

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The sixth European conference on standardization, testing and certification to be held from 12 to 14 June 2019, will be hosted by KAN and the DGUV in conjunction with their partners in EUROSHNET, the European network for occupational safety and health experts. Join us and other delegates from all over Europe to discuss the future of standardization, testing and certification in a digitalized world of work, under the heading "Be smart, stay safe together – Innovative products and workplaces".

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Treatment tables with electric height adjustment are in widespread use in physiotherapy practices and hospitals. Two workers were recently trapped beneath such tables, suffering fatal injuries. In January 2019, KAN convened a meeting of experts representing stakeholders for discussion of their respective positions and the complex situation. A number of projects were initiated with the aim of reducing the risk presented by new and legacy treatment tables.

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For some years, the Südwestmetall employers' association has organized study trips to Japan for interested parties. The aim of these trips is to open participants' horizons and to present the innovative corporate systems of leading Japanese companies. A member of staff from the KAN Secretariat joined such a trip, and now reports back with answers to questions such as: How does Japanese work culture differ from that in Germany? What importance is attached to occupational safety and health in Japan?

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In other countries, Japan generally has the reputation of being a pioneer in robotization. Not only does Japanese industry possess the greatest number of installed robots worldwide, robots are now also finding their way into many areas of everyday life. However, some of Japan's most successful companies have a more nuanced attitude to robots, notably the flagship company of Japanese industry, the Toyota Motor Corporation.

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DIN conducts activities in partnership with numerous standards organizations throughout the world. Close networking at European and international level is an important means of focussing experience and expertise and defending interests more effectively on global markets.

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Peer-Oliver Villwock (POV), head of the Occupational Safety and Health Directorate at the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS), and Dr Thomas Zielke (TZ), Head of the Technology transfer via standardisation and patents division at the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), explain with reference to examples what new challenges are currently facing occupational safety and health and standardization in a rapidly changing world.

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Personal protective equipment is often essential when needles are to be handled. As yet however, suitable test methods do not exist for the testing and assessment of products such as protective gloves for the handling of needles. A new material test method adds a realistic parameter to existing puncture tests, and was recently standardized in a DIN SPEC (PAS).

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Some years ago, a receptor type was discovered in the human eye that is particularly sensitive to radiation in the blue range of the visible light spectrum. Through this receptor – besides other non-visual channels – light influences the human biological clock, the circadian rhythm, sleep, important body functions and well-being.

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The EU Machinery Directive does not apply to rail vehicles, and they are also explicitly excluded from the scope of the German Ordinance on workplaces. However, rail vehicles constitute work equipment in the sense of the German ordinance on industrial safety and health. What role do standards play in railway legislation, and how can the workplaces of engine drivers be designed to be safe? These were among the questions raised at a discussion between experts, hosted by KAN, of railway legislation, standardization and occupational safety and health. more
EN 1789 serves as the basis for the design, manufacture, testing and equipping of ambulances in Europe. As a framework standard, it makes reference to further standards that are required for its application. A party wishing to manufacture, license and operate an ambulance is obliged to observe EN 1789, Medical vehicles and their equipment – Road ambulances, which is currently undergoing revision and Adaptation. more
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Together with KAN, the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts (ZDH) hosted an event on the subject of standardization for skilled craft businesses and medium-sized companies and the challenges of digitalization. The event addressed opportunities and challenges in standardization work. Karl-Sebastian Schulte, CEO of the ZDH, describes the current hot Topics. more
Dr Walter Eichendorf has been Deputy Director General of the German Social Accident Insurance and responsible for the VFA, KAN's sponsoring organization, since 1998. He has also been closely involved in standardization for many years as a member of the DIN Presidial Board. Before he retires in the autumn of 2018, Dr Eichendorf reveals his expectations of standardization in the future, and why it is as important as ever for the statutory accident insurance system. more
Noise harms workers and has hidden costs. The NOMAD (NOise and MAchinery Directive) Task Force group has produced guidance on how machinery manufacturers should declare noise from machines in order to fulfil the essential requirements on noise of the Machinery Directive. NOMAD is a joint project of the Member States and supports the Administrative ­Co-operation Group for Market Surveillance under the Machinery Directive (Machinery ADCO). more
In 2018, the layout of the KAN Praxis ergonomics lecture modules was given a fresh coat of paint, and almost all images were replaced. The new illustrations are from caricaturist Michael Hüter, who has now also presented certain aspects of ergonomics in cartoon form. The first version of the ergonomics lecture modules appeared in 2008 as the outcome of a KAN study. Since then, the modules have been continually extended and revised. more
Lead topic

A project conducted jointly by the European social partners in the construction sector and CECE, the European construction machinery manufacturers’ association, reveals new modes of communication and cooperation. Direct dialogue between manufacturers and consumers can inspire simple solutions even for quite complex issues, such as better ergonomics for work equipment or safety aspects, and can also support the process of European standardization.

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The accessing of construction machinery – in order to access the driver’s station, for refuelling or topping-up of other fluids, or for the performance of maintenance work – is a scenario in which occupational accidents frequently occur. In order to acquire a better understanding of the reasons for the accidents, the French National Federation of Public Works conducted ergonomic studies in a number of companies. These yielded a number of observations and strategies for solutions, aimed at both the operating personnel and the machinery manufacturers.

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ISO 45001 was published on 12 March 2018 by the International Standards Organization (ISO). In some quarters, the response to the standard’s appearance has been “a star is born”; other affected parties in industry and occupational safety and health have taken a more nuanced view. Opinions on the document now published differ widely. A common translation for Germany, Austria and Switzerland was published in June 2018.

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On 19 December 2017, the European Commission presented a proposal for an EU market surveillance regulation. Should this regulation be adopted, it will have a decisive influence upon the enforcement of market surveillance. The German regional governments are however of the opinion that certain aspects of the regulation require substantial improvement. The regulation imposes a high bureaucratic overhead upon the authorities, and the selection of the intended instruments also requires improvement.

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Light influences the human biological clock and a range of physiological processes. In January 2018, a workshop on such non-visual effects of light was organized for the second time by KAN. Numerous stakeholders are involved in the subject; they differ to some extent in their objectives, however. The KAN workshop promotes the exchange of information between all parties involved, and contributes to a strategy being found for future research, standardization and regulation.

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Emissions of wood or silica dust from new hand-held electric tools are measured with reference to standardized test methods. These methods have certain limits however, resulting in constraints upon their repeatibility. INRS, the French occupational safety and health institute1, proposes a different test method that would enable different machines to be classified for the same work process according to the level of the dust emissions.

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Special
The aim of the Work-by-inclusion project is to integrate persons with impaired hearing into warehousing logistics operations. In the project, the workers involved receive important information via smart glasses. The system also permits communication between employees with and without a hearing disability. more
Robots working in immediate proximity to human beings are regarded as a key step towards the networked, flexible factory of the future. Human-robot collaboration can relieve pressure upon production workers and enable companies to respond more quickly to the demands of the market. The robots' direct proximity to the human operative demands a high level of safety from the assistive systems; at the same time, it also offers potential for the inclusion of persons with disabilities. more
Inclusive work design is part of a wider approach to safeguarding fitness for work. Owing to demographic change, this objective is becoming increasingly important. Technical measures for workplace design and accessibility are key aspects of this activity. They are implemented with the close cooperation and involvement of affected individuals and the elected representatives of the employees with severe disabilities more
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Smart glasses at the workplace are no longer the stuff of science fiction. Hailed (or ridiculed) until quite recently as a futuristic project of the Californian tech scene, these devices have now found their way into warehousing workplaces and manufacturing and maintenance activities. Research into safe use of the devices is however lagging behind development of the technology itself, as is the body of regulations governing them and the associated requirements, which rely upon validated observations. more

Serious injuries frequently occur during the processing of firewood, owing to persons reaching into the sawing or splitting zone. In order to reduce the incidence and severity of accidents, the standards for wood splitting machines and circular saws used for this purpose have been revised. The revision work was based upon discussions held between experts and moderated by KAN, and accident investigations conducted by the Social insurance for agriculture, forestry and landscaping (SVLFG).

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Slinging equipment for logging applications, such as chains, ropes, pulleys or hooks, is used during cable skidding. It serves to connect the tree-trunk to the winch cable. It is important that slinging equipment selected for logging applications is suitable for the purpose and is sufficiently strong to withstand reliably the forces encountered. A standard dedicated to this subject has now been published.

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In the factory of the future, human beings and machines will be linked together by data networks. The "things" and systems will also communicate with each other: workpiece with tool, market with production, production with upstream supplier. However, networking of this kind within production processes and across company boundaries is possible only if standards and specifications are in place that apply throughout the world – and if a well qualified workforce is available. more
Everyone's talking about "Industry 4.0". But what exactly is meant by this "fourth industrial revolution", and what conditions must be in place for it to be brought about? Are completely new technologies really being developed, or is existing technology merely being repackaged? more
The growing availability of affordable communication technologies also puts the smart factory within reach of medium-sized companies. Manufacturers face the challenge of meeting the increasingly differentiated wishes of their customers whilst at the same time manufacturing their products in greater quantities, faster and at lower cost. This is their only way of keeping their businesses viable in the face of growing competition. more
Subjects
Operatives and technicians must frequently climb into pressure vessels in order to perform construction, maintenance, repair and inspection work. However, the access points through which they must pass for this purpose are often so small that although access is possible, rescuing these personnel in the event of an accident presents considerable difficulties. The Polytechnic University of Milan has conducted a number of studies into this issue in the course of two degree theses. more
Since 1993, the German health, retirement pensions and accident insurance institutions have worked closely together in the European Representation of the German Social Insurance (DSV) in Brussels, in order to present their interests jointly to EU institutions. For a number of issues, the European Representation is also an important partner for KAN. more
Companies should be gauged not only by their profits and productivity, but also by how well they meet their obligations to society and the environment. The world's seven largest industrial nations (the G7) have added a further aspect: that of human-centredness. How this can be implemented in companies is described by the new EN ISO 27500 standard. more
Special
EU Member States are at liberty to organize their healthcare systems as they themselves see fit. At the same time, numerous European and international standards currently seek to harmonize this area more closely. Will forms of medical treatment be determined in future less by the specifications of national social insurance agencies and medical associations, and more by standardized European healthcare? A fictitious case study illustrates one possible development. more
In the autumn of 2012, the European Commission launched a revision of the European legislative framework for medical and in-vitro diagnostic medical devices. In the spring of 2017, two new regulations in this area came into force that have resulted in certain changes and also necessitate amendments to national legislation. more
Coinciding conveniently with publication of the new Medical Devices Regulation (EU) 2017/745, KAN has made a further tuition module available online. The Powerpoint slides cover the essential aspects to be considered for the ergonomic design of medical devices. Medical devices range from highly complex equipment such as ventilators, through blood pressure gauges and infusion pumps, to wheelchairs, clinical thermometers and dressings. more
The design of an ambulance station must satisfy the requirements of a range of regulations. Besides the building regulations, these include the state body of OSH regulations, and the body of rules and regulations of the German Social Accident Insurance Institutions. The particular aspects associated with use of the building following its construction must also be considered. This may cause considerable difficulties during planning of the building, which must satisfy all these requirements. more
Subjects
Founded in 1856, the VDI (Association of German Engineers) currently has a membership of 155,000 individuals and has a long tradition in technical regulation. Every year, over 200 new or updated VDI standards are published. Together with other technical regulators, the VDI supports the objective of creating a coherent body of regulations covering all areas of technology. more
Special
Digitalization presents a range of new options for the shaping of work, and thus also new opportunities for occupational safety and health. This extends to all forms of work, whether primarily mental or physical. The challenge lies in exploiting the range of possibilities and in finding solutions that satisfy the needs of the company concerned. more
The use of autonomous technologies draws attention to the relationships between human beings and machines. How, though, should our "steel colleagues" look and behave in order for cooperation with them to be agreeable for workers? In order for human-robot collaborative workplaces to be successful, consideration must be given not only to the objective safety of workers, but also to their subjectively perceived safety. more
Industry 4.0 stands for the networking of human beings, machines and installations. Owing to the interaction between these communication partners, it is not sufficient for functional safety (such as the halting of a machine when a light barrier is penetrated) to be considered in order for human beings to be protected. Information security (such as the protection of a robot's programming against manipulation over the network) is equally important. more
The craft trade sector is characterized by human work much more strongly than industry. The complete automation and networking of all processes seen in Industry 4.0 will therefore rarely be possible. Nevertheless, digitalization also offers the craft trade sector numerous opportunities to extend services, automate tasks, and make work simpler and safer. more
Subjects
Nanomaterials occur in diverse forms and structures. The risks associated with them are also diverse, and have in many cases not yet been studied. These materials are nevertheless already in widespread use. In standardization, too, numerous questions have yet to be answered. What documents concerning nanomaterials are available? Do they include content of relevance to occupational safety and health? How do OSH experts maintain an overview? Answers can be found in a new KAN study. more
In toolmaking and machine construction, custom part manufacture and development, conditions repeatedly arise in which the operator must intervene manually in the machining process whilst guards are open. An additional operating mode that permits observation of the process under safe conditions can prevent dangerous defeating of guards. However, the use of such an operating mode is permissible only when no other technical solutions are possible. more
Special
On 23 June last year the UK held a referendum to decide whether it wished to remain in the European Union. The result was to leave – by a small but clear majority. Brexit will see the UK’s relationship with Europe, and the wider world, change. However, this does not mean isolation and in the independent European standards system BSI’s stakeholders are committed to continue to work directly with European partners. more
Products that are unsafe and fail to comply with EU legislation may not be placed on the market within the European Union. In order to prevent these products from reaching the market, the European Commission has set out a conformity assessment procedure involving testing by an independent body for certain cases. How, though, does this procedure work for manufacturers in countries outside the EU wishing to market their products in the EU? more
Subjects
Light in any form influences the physiology of human beings. As yet, the complexity of this influence has prevented occupational safety and health recommendations from being issued for the relatively new technology of artificial, biologically effective illumination. This form of illumination is already in use at some workplaces. In September 2016, KAN brought all stakeholders together in order to develop a strategy for safe use of the technology. more
Light is important, and not only for human vision. Modern lighting systems also exploit non-visual effects of light, for example its influence upon the circadian rhythm. In line with the Arnsberg Roadmap, regulators, employers, employees and planners should address the opportunities offered by the new technology at an early stage in order for artificial lighting to support human health at the workplace in the best possible way in the future. more
Aspects of the safety and health of workers at work are frequently addressed by standards. As a matter of principle, however, state rules and regulations and those of the accident insurance institutions take priority over standards. Since 2015, the interface between standardization and the rules and regulations has been governed by the Policy paper on the role of standardization in the safety and health of workers at work, which has now been supplemented by a more detailed process description. more
How can companies ascertain which of the numerous – and in some cases somewhat abstract – OSH rules and measures of the state and of the German Social Accident Insurance Institutions they are required to apply? The new prevention instrument of the Sectoral Rule is the answer to this question. Sectoral Rules compile the requirements and information from the various OSH regulations, and provide companies with a one-stop resource containing all the important information at a glance. more
Lead topic
Smart clothing is in vogue. There is no shortage of ideas, but implementation and standardization are still in their infancy. This presents an opportunity for the expectations, experiences and suggestions of the intended users to be surveyed and to be given consideration from the outset during development of standards. KAN has conducted a workshop with firefighters that is intended to do just that – and which can also serve as a blueprint for other topics. more
Are those who write the text of standards and set out the rules always sufficiently acquainted with the situation on the ground? In order to gain an impression of whether certain requirements for visibility on earthmoving machinery are even realistic and suitable for implementation, representatives from the market surveillance authorities and standards developers spent a day together in a company, where they examined a number of different machines. more
Subjects
Which parts of standards and similar documents are referred to in court rulings, and for what reasons, was the subject of a legal report produced on behalf of KAN and published in december 2016. One finding of the report was that the terms "normative" and "informative", which are precisely defined in the rules and structures of standardization, have a somewhat different meaning in court rulings. more
Vibration is a frequent hazard when work is performed with machinery. If employers are unable to determine observance of the statutory limits reliably, for example from manufacturers' data, measurements must be performed. Measurement is however not a trivial task, and the results depend among other things upon the skills of the personnel performing it. This raises the question of who is adequately skilled to perform measurements properly.
As a working environment, railway tracks are associated with a number of different hazards for the workers concerned. Particular attention must therefore be paid to the safeguarding measures. One European standard covering track works includes fitness examinations in these measures. From the German perspective, this presents problems, since rules governing the fitness of workers are the preserve of statutory legislation. more
Standardization is not immune to digitalization and other developments. Does it now need to be reinvented? The growing pace of change demands action from the parties involved. Occupational safety and health concerns must not be neglected in this process. At the 2016 IEC General Meeting, experts examined the new developments from a number of angles under the heading "Safety.Future.Standardization". more
Lead topic
Human-robot collaboration is of elementary importance for the further development of adaptable production installations in Industry 4.0. With the growing demand for innovative technologies, the desire for universally applicable safety concepts is also rising. Daimler AG has developed a strategy of this kind in modular form that can be applied to all collaborative robot projects in the company. more
The development of self-driving vehicles continues apace, but raises a number of questions. Who is liable in the event of an accident? Can and should self-driving vehicles take ethical decisions in order to avoid accidents? Standards developers are already strongly involved in this area and are setting out the technical terms of reference for the new developments. more
In sectors such as machine construction, medicine and the leisure industry, growing numbers of products are being manufactured by means of additive processes such as 3D printing. These processes are undergoing rapid continual development and are becoming more and more diverse. It is however not easy for the rules for dealing with the hazards associated with these processes to be developed at the same pace as the processes themselves. The legal situation also raises issues. more
Subjects
Machines such as palletizers, depalletizers, hood applicators and continuous handling equipment are used to package and transport goods in industrial manufacturing. These machines are closely integrated and present similar hazards. They are however governed by different standards containing different requirements for the openings in protective devices. Employers are faced with deciding what yardstick to apply for the purpose of risk assessment. more
Since its foundation in 1946, the International Standards Organization (ISO) has, by its own account, developed over 20,000 standards. The majority of these are technical in nature. In recent years however, the number of international standards projects on social and welfare topics has steadily increased. This trend is extremely controversial, for a number of reasons. more
In recent decades, occupational medical research has contributed considerably to minimizing occupational accidents, occupational diseases and work-related health hazards. The aim of the Institute for Prevention and Occupational Medicine of the DGUV (IPA) is the sustainable implementation of practice-oriented research to promote workplace safety and health effectively and for the long term. more
Lead topic
With ratification by Germany of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the topic of accessibility has received a new boost, and has now also entered the sphere of occupational safety and health. Workplaces should be designed such that ideally, anyone can work at them – whether with or without a disability. What occupational safety and health instruments exist by which these objectives can be reached? more
Within society and public policy, a paradigm shift has taken place with regard to equal rights to participation by persons with disabilities: away from well-meaning paternalism and towards the right to self-determination. One criterion for self-determined participation is an environment that is designed for accessibility. The DGUV's "Design of accessible workplaces" subcommittee aims to contribute to this process by providing companies, institutions and individuals with information and practical aids. more
In the field, two extreme positions are encountered on the subject of inclusion. At one extreme, calls are made for products to be usable by anyone, whether disabled or not. At the other extreme, the instructions for use of consumer products permit their use by persons with sensory, physical or cognitive impairments only under supervision, if at all. Is a compromise between these two extremes possible? more

With publication of Regulation (EU) 2016/425 on personal protective equipment (PPE) in the Official Journal of the EU, the revision over many years of the PPE legislation has been brought to its conclusion. The regulation is to be applied as of 21 April 2018, at which point the existing 89/686/EEC PPE Directive will be repealed. Manufacturers, test bodies and other affected parties should use the transition period to adjust to the new regulation.

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Subjects
Over 8,000 accidents involving fork-lift trucks occur in France every year. Of these accidents, around 560 result in permanent incapacity for work, and four to six – when trucks tip over to the side – are fatal. The figures for Germany are similar. The INRS and the BGHW have compared the stability gains delivered by driver assistance systems on fork-lift trucks with the requirements of EN 16203. more
The fourth International Strategy Conference on Occupational Safety and Health was held in Dresden from 21 to 24 March 2016. The interactive programme was devoted to the following five topics: Vision Zero, Demographic change, Human-centered prevention, Healthy work – healthy life, and Work in a digital world. KAN was responsible for organizing the last of these topics. Read on to learn the essential results. more
Lead topic

DIN and DKE are recognized standards organizations throughout the world. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs sets out the political and legal framework for their activity. Standardization has however become a controversial topic, and is often considered out of step with the times. This view however fails to recognize the huge contribution made by standardization to economic, industrial and innovation policy. Standards eliminate barriers to trade and pave the way for new products to enter the market.

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Progressive digitalization in all areas of life presents the entire standardization system with a major challenge. Reorientation is essential in the areas of technology, market orientation and public policy, with their conflicting priorities. With its "Standardization 2020" programme, the German Commission for Electrical, Electronic and Information Technologies of DIN and VDE (DKE) has taken the initiative and is developing new strategies for standardization in the future. more
In many areas, Germany's standardization system has a pioneering role and is seen by other countries as a model. The aim must be for the system to retain this status. In order for DIN to continue to meet the needs of industry as effectively as possible, its future course has been set with DNS 2020 – the German Standardization Strategy 2020. One of the first phases in this process is represented by the DIN Strategy 2016, which has six essential targets. more
Subjects
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is continuously being further developed to meet the needs of both professional and private users. One of the trends is towards ‘smart PPE’ or even ‘smart personal protective systems’ (PPS). Whereas the first such products are already commercially available, the market introduction of complex PPE primarily intended for professional use appears to face challenges that have yet to be overcome. more
Ensuring that children can be seen by road users on their journeys to and from school helps to prevent accidents. This in turn is in the interests of the German Social Accident Insurance Institutions for the public sector. Safety is enhanced by satchels with adequately large reflective and fluorescent areas as required by DIN 58124. These high-visibility areas are however evidently "uncool". Consequently, satchels are increasingly being sold that fail to meet the standard. more
The Secretariat of the Commission for Occupational Health and Safety and Standardization sees itself as a service provider for health and safety professionals working in standardization. In 2014, KAN created a new brand: KAN Praxis. The services provided by KAN (in German and English) that support you in your work are grouped under this brand. These services are described in brief below. more
Lead topic
EUROSHNET and INSHT, Spain's OSH institute, issued an invitation to come to Seville – and numerous guests from throughout Europe followed the invitation. At the 5th European Conference on Standardization, Testing and Certification in the Field of Occupational Safety and Health, 150 delegates met from 14 to 16 October 2015 to discuss how the quality of working life could be improved, and what challenges the occupational safety and health community will face in the coming years. more
The world of work is undergoing major change. This observation was made repeatedly in numerous lectures, workshops and discussions at the 5th EUROSHNET conference in Seville. Digitalization, automation, demographic change and globalization are just some of the buzzwords. We have picked out of the main thoughts for you. more
Besides the subject of changes in the world of work, the 5th EUROSHNET conference in Seville was marked by another key topic: the call for closer cooperation. Standardization, testing and certification, research, market surveillance and regulation are important instruments of occupational safety and health. However, they are effective and are able to keep pace with developments in the world of work only when used in combination. more
In the future, the Berlin regional administration will award public construction contracts only to companies using low-emission construction machinery. One means by which the required emission limits can be observed is by the retrofitting of diesel particulate filters to the machinery. This measure must not be allowed to compromise the existing safety level. In particular, the filters must not impair visibility from the driver's seat. more
The standardizing of services is currently in vogue, and standards governing health and social services are increasingly becoming an issue. It is to be feared that standards in this area will conflict with proven social systems enshrined in legislation. In the view of KAN and the statutory accident insurance institutions, standardization activity in this area must therefore be monitored and scrutinized closely. more
A trend is emerging for training and qualifications to be described in standards, against which the skills of persons can then be certified. These developments are a source of concern for the trade unions, since they jeopardize Germany's dual vocational training system, its contribution to safety and health, and the occupational safety and health system. more
Lead topic
Within standardization, ergonomics is a horizontal discipline. It concerns the design of systems, products and services in consideration of the characteristics, needs and abilities of human beings. Georg Krämer, until 2015 Chairman of the ISO/TC 159 Ergonomics technical committee, and his successor Peter Frener, describe the efforts currently being made in ergonomics standardization to lend greater visibility to ergonomics in all areas of application. more
Discussions with experts and managers and analyses of companies show the practical benefits of ergonomics standardization to be somewhat limited. This is a sobering fact and one that has led DIN's Ergonomics standards committee (NAErg) to develop a conscious strategic process with the following essential objective: that ergonomics standards should provide much greater assistance for designing the working environment than they have in the past. more
Since June 2014, Dr Dirk Watermann has headed the Secretariat of the Commission for OSH and Standardization (KAN) in Sankt Augustin. Watermann, a construction engineer by training, had previously held a number of different positions at the BG BAU, and was also the convenor of an international standards committee. In this interview, we ask him about the tasks and key issues that KAN is currently facing. more
When natural light is not available at the workplace, simulating it with artificial, biologically effective illumination would appear an obvious alternative. Since validated scientific findings on the effects of this technology, still in its infancy, are however lacking, the occupational safety and health lobby considers it too early for the technology to be used on a broad scale. KAN is also critical of its actual use being standardized, and has issued a position paper in order to raise awareness of the issue. more
Polyurethane-coated protective gloves may contain manufacturing residues of N,N-dimethylformamide (DMF). This substance is classified as a reprotoxin, and chronic exposure to it can also damage the liver. In order for unnecessary exposure to DMF to be avoided, protective gloves must contain no more than 10 mg of DMF per kilogramme of glove material. Monitoring of this preventive healthcare measure requires a sensitive analytical method. more
Professor Harri Vainio was Director General of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH) from 2003 until the end of July 2015. He has been very committed to the idea of European cooperation and has played an active part in the EUROSHNET network. In this interview, he draws attention to the challenges in occupational safety and health that Finland – and other countries – will face in the coming years. more
Special
Standards and similar documents are characterized in the first instance by their normative elements. The informative elements also contained in a standard however may not only considerably facilitate application and understanding of the document, but also enable the background to it to be presented, and its proper function within the body of standards, and where applicable also within the statutory framework, to be explained. more
The content of European standards is identical in all Member States of the EU. Means exist however for standards to be adapted nationally in order to address the particular circumstances of individual countries or to take account of contradictions with national legislation. Different instruments may be used for this purpose according to the situation. more
"Whatever shall be, shall be." But even in standards? In principle it is set out in black and white how binding a provision is when it states that the user of a standard "shall", "can" or "should" do something. But how do standards committees decide which form of provision is appropriate? It is important that the choice be made carefully, so as not to create unintended room for interpretation and consequently to give rise to uncertainty among users of a standard. more
Physical assistant robots, for which contact between a human being and the robot is intended, have now been joined by collaborative industrial robots that share the work space of the operating personnel. This raises the question of unintended contact with the latter, and the associated risks. The INRS discusses how these new areas of application can be brought into line with the 2006/42/EC Machinery Directive. more
As long ago as 2001, ISO called in ISO Guide 71 for accessibility aspects to be considered in standards. Support for this is available in the form of ISO/TR 22411, which provides ergonomic data and guidance on application of the ISO guide. This Technical Report, published in 2008, is now also available in German in the form of DIN SPEC 33421. more
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On 23 October 2014, a working group led by the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs agreed a new policy paper on the role of standardization in the safety and health of workers at work. The paper formulates the framework conditions applicable in Germany, contains provisions for the launching and monitoring of standardization projects, and provides information on the use of standards within the body of state regulations and those of the accident insurance institutions. more
A growing trend in recent years has been for standards bodies to address new topics markedly different from those of traditional technical products. What consequences does this trend have for occupational safety and health? Should everything be standardized that conceivably can be? Daniela Tieves-Sander and Eckhard Metze head the employees' and employers' liaison offices at the KAN Secretariat. Here, they explain the viewpoints of the trade unions and the employers respectively. more
Work equipment provided to employees must assure their protection against impermissible hazards. The requirements to be met for the CE conformity of many items of work equipment are supported by harmonized standards. The closer operators are involved in the development of standards, the more relevant the standards are to industrial practice and the more efficiently users are able to procure safe work equipment. more
Subjects
"Quality of working life" is a current buzzword. The EUROSHNET network of experts invites interested parties to its 5th European conference, to be held in Seville from 14 to 16 October, to discuss the challenges presented by the "quality of working life" for standardization, testing and certification in occupational safety and health. more
How can designers of machinery be encouraged to apply ergonomic findings, and how can standards be used for this purpose? How can purchasers be persuaded to order a machine that is better adapted to the needs of its users? KAN relies for this purpose upon examples of good practice, some of which are identified in a study it has commissioned. An Internet portal on which the examples are presented went live in March. more
The harmonization of statutory provisions, standards and conformity assessment procedures has proved effective in Europe. For negotiations of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) however, many appear to consider mutual recognition more appealing than harmonization. Nevertheless: close examination reveals problems with this approach. more
Lead topic
A warning will shortly be published in the EU Official Journal concerning the EN 474-1 standard governing the safety of earthmoving machinery. As a result, the standard will no longer give rise to a presumption of conformity with the requirements of the Machinery Directive concerning visibility from the operator's seat. At the same time, agreement has been reached to prepare an interim amendment to ISO 5006 (Earth-moving machinery – Operator's field of view) in response to a proposal by the European market surveillance authorities. more
Carbon monoxide (CO) emissions from vehicles and mobile machines may be lethal when the vehicles or machines are used in poorly ventilated environments. LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) engines typically emit less CO than those using petrol or diesel fuel. For CO exposure to be at a safe level, engines must however satisfy the state of the art in terms of their emissions. The state of the art has however yet to be formulated in standards. more
Numerous severe accidents occur every year on baling presses and compactors, mostly due to operators falling or reaching into the baling or compacting chamber. A number of fatal accidents have resulted from people being crushed by the moving compression plate or compacting part. Three ENs have been prepared to promote safe design of these machines for the European market and thus reduce the number of accidents. more
Since 1991, co-operation between ISO and CEN and between IEC and CENELEC has been governed by the Vienna and Dresden Agreements respectively. The objective of these agreements is for standards preferably to be developed at international level and adopted additionally at European level, if at all possible simultaneously, by way of parallel voting processes. This and the increasing time pressure, not least from governments, make it more difficult to find a consensus acceptable to all sides. more
Innovation creates a need for new standards. However, the associated topics cannot always be readily assigned to a category within the existing structure of standardization activity. In such cases, new standards committees must be created at ISO, CEN and DIN. It is important for the OSH lobby and other stakeholders to be involved and informed of the scope for exerting influence from the outset. Procedures – and obstacles – can be illustrated by the example of biotechnology. more
In August 2014, the XX World Congress for Safety and Health at Work was held in Frankfurt. 3,980 visitors from 143 countries, 600 speakers, 205 presentations, four keynote speeches, six Technical Sessions, 30 Symposia, over 200 presentations in the Forum for Prevention, over 250 posters, 290 contributions from 33 countries in the International Media Festival for Prevention (IMFP), an open-air exhibition and 18 Technical Tours: impressive statistics. more
Special
Within the EU, work equipment and consumer products do not generally have to be tested or licensed by the authorities before they can be placed on sale. Economic operators are trusted not to place products on the market that do not comply with the regulations. However, this European approach to the free movement of goods can work in the long term only if a functioning market surveillance system is in place. more
When work equipment bears the CE mark in accordance with an EU product directive or regulation, employees and employers should normally be able to rely upon it being of safe and ergonomic design. Sadly, this is not always the case. Year after year, unsafe work equipment and consumer products can be found on sale, and dozens of recalls and over a hundred reports to the authorities are noted. Checks are therefore absolutely essential.  more
Tests and conformity assessment procedures are a requirement set out in statutory provisions for numerous products. But who tests the testers? Within the scope of the German Product Safety Act (ProdSG), this task is assumed by the ZLS, the central body of the German regional authorities responsible for safety technology. In this interview, the ZLS's director, Hans- Georg Niedermeyer, will introduce us to his institution. more
Subjects
Human beings and robots will collaborate more closely in the future. The spatial separation between the human being and the robot, which in the past was normal for safety reasons, is to be eliminated in order to make work easier and more ergonomic. However, even cutting-edge control technology cannot prevent unwanted collisions between humans and robots sharing the same working space. In such cases, it must be ensured that any such collisions have only a negligible impact upon health.  more
One purpose of laboratory fume cupboards is to protect workers against dangerous substances at work. In certain situations however, the performance of some fume cupboards is unsatisfactory, even though they comply with the standards. Standardization must rectify this deficit. A ventilation situation typically encountered in a laboratory must not impair the safety of fume cupboards and other ventilation safety equipment. Human safety is the top priority here.  more
Following an international career in industry, Philippe Jandrot began working for the CNAMTS, the French employees' health insurance institution, in 1997. In 2000, he left to join the INRS, the French National Research and Safety Institute. Since 2003, he has been Director of Prevention at the INRS, and in this function has been responsible for all of the INRS's activities for implementing prevention findings and measures in the field. He retires on 1 October 2014. more
Special
Rarely have discussions been as heated as the negotiations of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). This is understandable, given that the issue is essentially the elimination of barriers to trade beyond tariffs, i.e. including the creation of common standards. The possible significance for occupational safety and health was one topic at the KAN strategy conference held at the Federal Art and Exhibition Hall in Bonn on the occasion of KAN's 20th anniversary.  more
Is social policy in Europe an unnecessary luxury at the expense of competitiveness? Or is a social balance absolutely essential for the promotion of growth in the interests of all citizens? What role does standardization play in a social Europe? Experts in social policy from the European Parliament, employers' and employees' representative bodies and the German government debated this topic on 26 March 2014 at the KAN conference under the heading "How much policy does standardization need?". more
On 25 March 2014 in Bonn, KAN joined the French OSH institutes EUROGIP and INRS in signing a common declaration on standardization policy in the field of occupational safety and health. The declaration sets out the signatory institutions' basic positions concerning current developments in standards policy which are to serve as guidance for their further joint efforts with regard to standardization. more
Subjects
The system of CEN/CENELEC Consultants has been suspended since the beginning of this year. The European standards organizations and the European Commission have as yet been unable to reach agreement on renewal of the framework agreement governing co-operation between them, which includes arrangements concerning the Consultants. An important pillar of the quality assurance of harmonized European standards is thus lacking.  more
Harmonized standards that give rise to a presumption of conformity are produced by the European standards organizations in response to requests from the European Commission. Such mandates are issued for the development of standards and similar documents. The procedure to be followed by the Commission in the issuing of these mandates is described in detail in EU Regulation 1025/2012. more
DIN's technical work is divided between over 70 standards committees, governing everything from A for acoustics, through I for information technology and M for mechanical engineering, to W for welding. What happens however when a standardization topic must be addressed that does not lie within the scope of an existing standards committee? Although this rarely happens, rules and procedures are in place for new standards committees to be formed should the scenario arise. more
Special
"Member States shall take the appropriate measures to enable the social partners to have an influence at national level on the process of preparing and monitoring the harmonised standards." Since 1989, this requirement has been formulated in the European Machinery Directive: one of the reasons, indeed arguably the reason for the formation of KAN on 11 February 1994. Karl-Josef Thielen, Director of the KAN Secretariat, spoke with representatives of the KAN stakeholders about the significance and role of KAN. more
When it was founded 20 years ago, KAN itself was unique: a body dedicated to increasing the influence of the social partners, whose representation in standardization work had traditionally been weak. To support the objective, employers and employees were given liaison offices within the KAN Secretariat. Since then, the employees' liaison office has been a contact point for trade unions and employees – one with a particular focus upon "occupational safety and health and standardization". more
KAN has revamped its website: www.kan.de now has a more up-to-date design and a new structure. Why? Because websites must also keep pace with the state of the art – just like standards. Our online content now arrives on your computer or smartphone in much more user-friendly form than before. more
Subjects
Depending upon the materials and processes used in its manufacture, personal protective equipment (PPE) may contain hazardous substances. The current 89/686/EEC Single Market Directive and the draft EU Regulation governing PPE to be published shortly stipulate that the raw materials from which PPE is manufactured and their possible decomposition products must not have any harmful effects. Under what conditions however is this freedom from harm assured? more
Biologically effective lighting is a form of artificial light that is modelled on natural light. It is intended to contribute to safe, healthy and productive workplaces. Variation of the colour temperature is a particular means by which this is achieved. OSH experts however still have their reservations when it comes to binding regulations governing the technology, since it may also be associated with risks, and results from long-term studies are not yet available. more
Jean Jacques has been the CEN Noise Consultant (Machinery Directive) since 2000. He can look back on 35 years of experience working for the INRS, France's OSH institute, initially in the sound laboratory and then in the area of standardization. In the course of his professional life, he has identified a number of areas in which improvements need to be made in order for products to be made safer and for greater weight to be given to occupational safety and health during standardization activity. more
Special

The European Committee for Standardization (CEN) is currently working on the comprehensive reor ganization of its st ructures. KAN welcomes CEN's efforts to optimize European st andardization and to make it more efficient

Subjects

European Community regulations concerned with OS&H are largely determined by two articles of the EC Treaty

What sources of information are currently available?

KAN has repeatedly emphasized in numerous objections to European standardization projects that the safety and health of workers at work should not be dealt with in European standards.

The scope of the „Machinery Directive" (89/392/EEC) and that of the „Low Voltage Directive" (73/23/EEC) is not clearly differentiated.

Following the international standardization of organizational processes in the quality and environment sectors (ISO 9000 ff, ISO 14000 ff), the question arose as to whether the management of the safety and health of workers at work should also be standardized.

The emerging European standards for biotechnology will also be extremely important for occupational health and safety. Future issues of the KANBrief will therefore report an the background and contents of this package of standards.

Special

Occupational health and safety institutions in EU Member States often refer to the fact that, in European safety standards, less consideration is given to health hazards such as noise, vibrations, radiation and hazardous substances than to the prevention of classic causes of accidents.

KAN has prepared a strategy paper for quantifying emissions in standards specific to machinery. Its contents are also supported by occupational health and safety in France.

Machinery Directive 89/392/EEC requires manufacturers to minimize health hazards caused by vibrations. Whole-body vibrations from mobile or stationary machines are especially dangerous for the lumbar vertebrae. When using vibrating hand-held equipment, the wrists and the circulation in the fingers are at risk from hand-arm vibrations.

The increasing globalization of markets is one of the predominant developments in the world today. In the field of standardization, it is therefore possible to observe how work is shifting its emphasis increasingly from European to international level.

Subjects

Interview with Jean-Paul Lacore, INRS

The term noise hazard refers to health risks such as hearing impairment caused by noise and an increased risk of accident, e.g. failure to hear warning signals.

KAN focuses the opinions of bodies responsible for occupational health and safety in Germany on all matters relating to the standardization of occupational health and safety. This enables it to exert an effective influence on European and international standards work.

Directives based on Article 100/100a and 118a of the EC Treaty and the way they are implemented at national level play an important role in the field of occupational health and safety. But how can further information be obtained?

for international and European draft standards before the European voting procedure.

Special

The task of ergonomics is to develop fundamental rules for adapting work to suit the worker. This is how ergonomics is understood in the German Occupational Health and Safety Act and included in work organisation.

At the request of the ergonomic standards committee DIN/FNErg, KAN is preparing a system of classifying standards relating to ergonomics. It proposes dividing them into three levels.

The CEN Rapporteur for machinery safety and General Manager of the German standards committee „machinery“, Mr. Riekeles, has compiled a list of standards prepared by CEN/TC 122 which he considers particulary helpful for the construction of machinery.

Subjects

The majority of standards on screen work are prepared at international level in ISO/TC 159 „Ergonomics“. The standards and draft standards in the ISO 9241 series „Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual display terminals“ are particularly important.

Interview with Mr. Wilfried Coenen, Head of the Prevention Division, HVBG

EC law law requires a high level of safety for products traded in the European single market. This defined objective is realised with the general safety requirements of the EC Single Market Directives for the products specified in the area of application and supplemented by the corresponding harmonised European standards.

One of the main tasks of the Commission for Occupational Health, Safety and Standardization (KAN) is to assist German occupational health and safety representatives active in European and international standardization (see KANBrief 2/98).

Special

Personal protective equipment (PPE) plays an important role in the safety and health of workers at work. Its task is to protect users against health risks during the course of their work. PPE is particularly important when employees are still exposed to a certain residual risk despite suitable technical and organizational measures, or when special activities have to be carried out which put stress on the employee despite the use of preventive measures.

If PPE is not used, this is often due to the fact that the wrong type has been selected. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in particular require guides which take account of the typical hazards and work conditions in specific sectors.

Standards containing requirements for PPE for the field of „risks of electricity“ are prepared by CENELEC/TC 78 in support of PPE product directive (89/686/ EEC). In this context, protection against electrical hazards includes the following:

Subjects

Regardless of its size, every company wishing to take advantage of the opportunities of the European single market must be familiar with the standards which apply to its products. These are mainly product standards with safety requirements, but also include standards on measuring procedures and test methods in the field of the safety and health of workers at work.

Anyone involved in standardization at European or international level will not be able to ignore the subject of foreign languages. Discussions have to be followed, reactions must be quick and comprehensible, draft standards and statements need translating. This issue presents a selection of generally applicable sources which may come in useful for your everyday standardization work.

The development of a European standard (EN) by CEN currently takes more than six years on average. CEN reacted to the request of market participants that standards of a high quality be prepared more quickly with comprehensive restructuring measures (see KANBrief 1/98). The aim of these measures is to optimise European standardization procedures and make them more efficient. This should help to reduce the development time for standards, for example, something which is particularly welcomed by KAN.

Special

In November 1997, the Danish government called for the efficiency of European standardization to be improved in order to realize the Single Market. This prompted an intensive discussion about the principles of European standardization policy at all political levels.

KAN has declared its position on the central aspects of the discussion at European level of standardization policy and formulated ten principles from the point of view of occupational health and safety. The full text is enclosed as a leaflet inside this KANBrief.

Interview with Mr. C. Brekelmans, Deputy Head of Unit „Standardization”

Subjects

In the wake of the discussion about increasing the efficiency of standardization, European and international standards organizations have developed new types of documents below the standards level (see table page 11). These are designed to satisfy the changed requirements of the market and contain technical specifications only. They are intended above all for areas such as information technology which are noted for very short product cycles.

Workplaces in waste management, agriculture, forestry and horticulture where germ-containing materials such as compost, hay or sawdust are used expose workers to health risks. In particular, various fungi and bacteria in the air can cause an allergic lung disease known as extrinsic allergic alveolitis (EAA). This is officially recognized as occupational disease 4201 in Germany.

The correct translation of modal auxiliary verbs is just as important as it is difficult. May, can, should, shall or must something be done; how is „shall” translated and what is the difference between the English „must” and the German „muss”? Does the French „peut" mean „may” or „can” or both? Different translations may be possible depending on the nature of the text and context.” 

The World Wide Web (WWW) is the part of the Internet in which large amounts of information are made accessible to the public. It is, however, also being used increasingly for the exchange of documents among members of precisely defined target groups.

Special

The Machinery Directive (98/37/EC) is without doubt one of the most important Directives within the scope of the „New Approach”. Its publication in 1989 formed the basis for the free movement of goods within the European single market in the machinery sector. According to this, manufacturers and their authorized representatives in the Community may only put those products into circulation whichcomply with the requirements of Annex I of the Directive.

DIN EN 1501-1 Refuse collection vehicles

Interview with Mr Riekeles

In order to be able to use international standards for the removal of technical barriers to trade in accordance with the WTO/TBT agreement, KAN has proposed the creation of international equivalents to the essential safety and health requirements of the EC Directives (see KANBrief 1/99).

Subjects

Extract from the speech by the Chairman of the Association for the Promotion of Occupational Safety in Europe, Mr. Kleinherne, at the Meeting of Members 1/99 on 27 May 1999 in Koblenz

In the agreement between the Federal Government and the German Standards Institute (DIN) of 5 June 1975, DIN undertook to take account of public interest in its standards work. DIN fulfils this obligation, for example, by conceding seats in steering committees, involving official bodies and giving preferential treatment to applications for standardization which are of public interest.

EN 441 is concerned with the technical requirements which refrigerated display cabinets must meet. These include chests, counters or cabinets from which chilled or frozen food is sold. According to manufacturers’ information, such cabinets should be classified as machinery and must therefore meet all the requirements of the Machinery Directive, i.e. ergonomic needs must also be considered.

Biological agents, such as living cells, cell constituents and genetically modified micro-organisms, are being used increasingly in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs and chemical products. Since these agents are not always without risk for humans and the environment, occupational health and safety measures are required.

Special

Since the first safety provision VDE 0100 was adopted over 100 years ago, the basic conditions of standardization have changed constantly. Its significance for occupational health and safety has continued to increase steadily. In the field of electrical engineering in particular, standards were referred to in laws, ordinances and accident prevention regulations at a very early stage. New basic conditions have now been defined for the interaction of occupational health and safety and standardization through EU legislation and the World Trade Organizations (WTO) „Agreement on technical barriers to trade” (TBT).

According to the Machinery Directive (98/37/EC; Art.1(5)), machines which mainly cause hazards on the basis of electricity come within the scope of the Low Voltage Directive (73/23/EEC). In order to decide whether the hazards brought about by the machine are primarily of an electrical nature, the manufacturer must, in accordance with the guide to the Low Voltage Directive (73/23/ EEC), carry out a risk assessment. Assistance is provided by the relevant harmonized product standard for which a risk assessment was carried out and significant hazards identified during its preparation by the Technical committee.

German Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs: Directorate III c „Technical Occupational Health and Safety”

Employers must provide their workers with safe work equipment. In accordance with the „New Approach”, product requirements are regulated by the Single Market Directives based on Art. 95 of the EC Treaty (previously Art. 100a of the EC Treaty) and national implementing measures in support of these.

An increasing number of people are developing an allergy to latex protein. This is based on a hypersensitive reaction of the human organism to proteins from the milk of the tropical rubber tree (natural rubber latex). However, other components of latex products, e.g. thiurams, can also cause allergic reactions.

Subjects

Occupational health and safety (OH&S) has no need for a management standard. This is still the position held by the KAN Management Board which discussed current developments in the field of OH&S management systems on 16 August 1999.

The systematization of standards for screen work (ISO 9241 series „Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual display terminals”) was discussed at international level at the last meetings of ISO/TC 159/SC 4 „Ergonomics of workersystem interaction”.

Special

Single Market Directives in accordance with Art. 94/95 of the EC Treaty (formerly Art. 100/100a) require manufacturers to ensure that their products offer a high level of protection for users. The necessary information on handling the product safely must be made available to the user by the manufacturer in the form of an instruction handbook.

The clause “information for use” of EN 869, excerpts of which are quoted below, provides the manufacturer/designer of metal diecasting units with specific instructions on how he can proceed when preparing the instruction handbook.

30 million tonnes of cement are processed in Germany each year. Most of the 1.3 million people employed in the construction industry work with cement. The handling of cement can cause a chronic skin disease, “bricklayer’s scabies”. Around 300 cases of bricklayer’s scabies a year are reported in Germany, generating approx. DM 70 million in costs for the statutory accident insurance institutions of the construction industry. Worker absence costs companies many times this amount in addition.

The future participation of German experts in European standardization projects in the field of personal protective equipment (PPE) is at risk due to lack of financing. Up to now, the cost of DIN’s work for the coordination of the European standards bodies in the field of PPE has been borne by manufacturers, statutory accident insurance institutions, users and EU funds. However, since EU funds are to run out before long, future financing is at risk.

Subjects

Interview with Mr Karsten, Chairman of the Laender High Joint Committee of Labour Inspection Services (LASI).

In KANBrief 2/99 we referred to the fact that the European draft standards prEN 1726-1 and prEN 1459 do not deal adequately with the static stability of industrial trucks when driving. Due to the safeguard action by the German, French and Italian delegation in the Standing Committee (according to Art. 6 of the Machinery Directive 98/37/EC), the Member States were called upon by CEN to draw up proposals for amendment.

In order to accelerate the international and European standardization process, it would at first glance appear practical to prepare draft standards in one language only and not in two (ISO / IEC) or even three (CEN / CENELEC). Standards could then presumably be introduced on the market rather more quickly, but what effects would this have on quality, comprehensibility and user friendliness?

If OH&S experts involved in standardization are of the opinion that a draft standard contravenes fundamental OH&S interests, then they should object to the document. We have already reported on the special significance of the “closed opinion of occupational health and safety” in this connection. If the national standards body does not take this vote into account, the person objecting can apply to the chairman of the relevant DIN standards committee within one month for conciliation.

Special

The Machinery Directive demands from manufacturers, amongst other things, that health risks from machinery emissions (noise, vibrations, radiation and hazardous substances) must be kept to a minimum. The fact that such hazards may be considerable is illustrated by the example of noise-induced hearing loss.

The basic standard for machinery EN 292 is currently being revised. In this process, there are plans to include the requirement that parameters for emissions classified as significant must be provided in machinery standards.

The KANBrief (1/99 and 2/99) has already dealt exhaustively with the discussion of the principles of European standardization policy from the point of view of OH&S. The main positions on OH&S have been formulated, and some of these have been included in the recently adopted Council Resolution, e.g.

In order to promote the removal of technical barriers to trade worldwide, it is important to adopt international standards directly and unchanged into the European set of standards. However, the special significance of European Standards for the single European market results in basic conditions which do not apply to international standards (see page 12).

The number of representatives delegated by German OH&S institutions to standardization bodies is currently on the decline. One of the main reasons for this trend is doubts whether the costs of participation are outweighed by the benefits to OH&S.

The English-language information system EISOSH (European Information System for Occupational Safety and Health) supplies free information on occupational health & safety specializing in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Special

Large companies often have the resources to operate their own departments devoted to the collection and interpretation of the relevant national, European and international standards. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), on the other hand, often lack an inexpensive and readily accessible standards information source tailored to their requirements.

SMEs often have trouble obtaining precise and up-to-date information on standards. A KAN survey (see page 3) has revealed that small and medium-sized enterprises in Germany often approach DIN directly with their standardization queries.

Interview with Ass. jur. Dipl.-Verwaltungswirt Jörg Hagedorn

There are no prospects of an ISO standard on occupational health & safety management systems (OSH-MS) in the foreseeable future. The latest thrust by the British Standards Institution (BSI) at the end of last year has failed – a big success for all those who don't want a standard in this field, including the German health & safety institutions under KAN's organizational umbrella. However, the advocates of such a standard are unlikely to be deterred.

On 8th November 2000, KAN will be joining forces with the Federal Agency for Occupational Health, Safety and Medicine (BAuA) and the DIN ergonomics standards committee in holding a workshop on standardization in the field of mental stress. The criticism provoked by the adoption of ISO standards as German standards is to be addressed at this event and converted into constructive proposals for amendments and formulations for the ongoing work on this series of standards.

Subjects

A review of European standards on agricultural machinery has shown that the requirements of the Machinery Directive concerning elements providing protection from moving transmission parts (e.g. v-belts and chain drives) are at present not always sufficiently complied with from the point of view of occupational health & safety.

Special

High- and low- frequency electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fields represent one of the two sub-categories of non-ionizing radiation, the other being optical radiation (see figure page 6). Whereas early protective regulations governing the various areas of ionizing radiation (such as X-rays) were introduced some time ago, the area of non-ionizing radiation has been unregulated for a relatively long period of time.

KAN Report 9, “Standardization in the field of non-ionizing radiation”, published in 1996, identified a substantial requirement for standards in the sub-area of electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fields. Preliminary results from an update of the study indicate that this need remains

European statutory framework

As markets become increasingly more global, countries outside Europe are signalling a growing interest in the fundamental machinery standards such as EN 292. Ten countries in Asia have already incorporated the majority of these European standards into their body of national standards. The reason for this is the great importance that the European standards structure in the area of machinery safety now enjoys for international machine construction.

Standards not only formulate technical requirements, but also define the associated terminology.

The KAN now also has a presence in Brussels under the roof of the Maison Européenne de la Protection Sociale. The office is located at:

KAN – Commission for Occupational Health and Safety and Standardization
Rue d’Arlon 50
Belgium – 1000 Brussels

Subjects

KAN will be exhibiting at the “Arbeitsschutz aktuell 2000” (Industrial Safety Latest 2000) trade fair (11 to 13 October 2000, at the New Munich Trade Fair Center) at Meeting Point Safety in the BG World (Hall B 0, see diagram).

Special

In connection with electromagnetic fields, KANBrief 3/00 mentioned the updating of KAN Report 9 “Standardization in the field of non-ionizing radiation” (11/96). Part 2 of the revised KAN report is concerned with standardization in the field of optical radiation.

The need for standardization for the measurement of exposure

Hazardous substances occur in almost all areas of the working environment. Laws and ordinances are passed to reduce the resultant health risks, and standards play an important role in this context as well.

Searching for standards relating to OH&S is often difficult in complex systems like the DITR database or PERINORM (the most extensive electronic database on standards with roughly 600,000 document references from 17 countries). OH&S-relevant standards are frequently only found if OH&S terms occur in the title and are thus indexed.

The French social security system is made up of categories in which different employee groups are insured. About 70% of employees are classified in the general category of wage and salary earners in industry and trade. Employees of the State, farmers, tradesmen and others belong to special categories. Within the general category, there are four sections: health insurance, pension insurance, family benefits, and occupational accidents and diseases.

Special

Structural changes in the world of work have been accompanied by changes in the stresses arising at the workplace. In many cases, heavy physical work or other physical stresses formerly typical of the work environment have been replaced by time pressure, overtaxing of personnel, and similar factors – in other words, mental stress.

The standards governing mental work-load must be made more user-friendly if they are to reach the group for which they are intended, namely persons responsible for work organization. This was the main conclusion of a workshop on the subject of standardization in the area of mental stress, held in November 2000 by KAN in conjunction with the German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) and the DIN “Ergonomics” standards committee.

Interview with Dipl.-Ing. Hartmut Müller

KAN held a colloquium on this subject in November 2000. Decision-makers in the public and private sectors had the opportunity to hear first-hand of current developments in international harmonization.

The central safety facility in a laboratory is the fume cupboard. Its applications are wide-ranging, its protective function extremely important. In addition to protection against explosions and fragments of flying glass, it must also provide reliable containment of vapours, gases, dusts and aerosols.

Increasing globalization makes the worldwide elimination of barriers to trade a pressing issue. The WTO/TBT agreement has focused attention upon the significance of international standardization as an effective instrument for the elimination of barriers to trade

Special

Regular repeat tests and the observance of regulations governing behaviour are essential to the further reduction of electrical accidents involving low-voltage systems. These measures should however be supplemented by additional engineered measures (see interview on page 6). A working group set up by KAN has analysed the issue and presented a number of recommendations.

The electrical shock hazards presented by the use of portable appliances such as electric tools or extension leads must be reduced further. In order to increase the level of protection, certain appliances should be distributed with portable residual current-operated protective devices (PRCDs), which disconnect the power supply at residual currents as low as 30 mA.

The manufacturer of a machine is obliged to perform a risk analysis for his product. The purpose of the risk analysis is to identify, evaluate and reduce the risks presented by the product during the various stages of its life cycle. Risks are minimized by a three-stage method:

Efforts have been underway for some time throughout Europe to reduce the noise of machinery and equipment operated outdoors. The EC directives governing lawnmowers and certain types of construction machinery, for example, have already been transposed into German law.

In the 61st full session of the Advisory Committee on Safety, Hygiene and Health Protection at Work, held in Luxembourg on 19 December 2000, the European Commission’s representative declared that revision of the draft Memorandum on the role of standardization in the area of safety and health of workers at work, which had been drawn up by the Directorates- General III and V, was no longer deemed necessary by the Commission. He substantiated this position by stating that the role of all parties concerned was now clearly regulated by relevant agreements.

Special

Presented a proposal for revision of the EC Machinery Directive. The revised Directive should, subject to the approval of the Parliament and Council of Ministers, be applied from 2006 onwards.

Interview with Paul Makin

The objective of guidelines is to assure clarity in the face of the abundance of standards. With this in mind, two guidance documents have been drawn up for the area of ergonomics, each of which is intended for a particular target group.

The WTO-TBT agreement on the elimination of technical barriers to trade is a major issue in the current debate of standardization policy by the Internal Market Council and the European Commission. The agreement will assign even greater importance to international standards than was previously the case.

Over 20 Single Market Directives make reference to the provision of harmonized European Standards for their support. The standards are drafted by private standards organizations; their use remains voluntary. At the same time, there is considerable public interest in the standards, as they result in a presumption of conformity with the respective directive, and thus present a de-facto yardstick for the technical safety level. This distribution of activity between legislator and standardization has often been hailed as a success story. The “democratic legitimacy” of standardization has however attracted occasional criticism. How can the OH&S groups, and in particular the government bodies, ensure that their interests are protected?

Special

Much remains to be done to improve European standards in the area of rail transport. The occupational health and safety aspects of standards governing railways and tramways are deficient in many areas.

Interview with Alfons Grösbrink and Andreas Mahr

As a result of a KAN initiative, a report has been produced on standardization in the area governed by the Pressure Equipment Directive (97/23/EC) which analyses the current state of standardization based upon the relevant documents and consultation of the parties involved.

European standard EN 12999 “Cranes – Loader cranes” contains safety requirements for the design, analysis and testing of loader cranes with hydraulic drives. After successfully passing the final vote with three abstentions (those of Germany, Portugal and Switzerland), the standard was ratified by CEN on 8 March 2001.

Community Directive (92/59/EEC) on General Product Safety has been in force at European level since 1992. It has been transposed in Germany by a number of acts, including the Product Safety Act and the Equipment Safety Act. The scope of the directive extends only to products used by private consumers. Its provisions apply only where specific provisions for the product in question do not exist in Single Market Directives such as the Machinery Directive.

Special

The conference was held on 11/12 October 2001 in the BG Academy for Occupational Health and Safety in Dresden. It was hosted by the French institutions EUROGIP and INRS and the German HVBG and KAN. The 150 participants came from 21 different European countries, including seven Eastern European countries wishing to join the European Union.

The European conference “Standardization, testing and certification – a contribution to occupational health and safety” saw the launch of a European network of OH&S experts active in standardization, testing and certification. The participants discussed, in six workshops, the network’s structure and mode of operation and subjects which the network should begin by addressing.

The flagship of European standardization in the area of machine safety is, as before, EN 292 “Safety of machinery – basic concepts and general principles for design”. The first issue of this two-part standard, which describes the strategy for risk reduction, was published in 1991. It is currently undergoing revision, one purpose of which is to transpose it into an international standard.
Germans with professional contacts abroad cannot always assume that interpreters will be provided. English is generally the language of choice at international events. But how can non-native speakers improve their proficiency effectively? ”Learning by doing” is certainly a successful method. The process can however be supported to good effect by purposeful training and by raising awareness of certain mechanisms.
Special

The study “Standardization in the field of personal protective equipment” (KAN Report 12) conducted in 1996/1997 established the progress of European standardization and analysed the level of safety attained. Four years on, KAN has once more commissioned a study for assessment of the standardization of PPE, the results of which are now available.

Interview with Eero Korhonen

EU Directive 89/686/EEC and its amendments 93/95/EEC and 96/58/EC form the basis for standardization of PPE, for its testing and certification, and thereby also for its CE marking. The question whether the basic requirements of the directive are fulfilled by standards with regard to the protection of health and safety is therefore relevant not only to the design of PPE by the manufacturer, but also to conformity assessment in the context of certification, and to market surveillance.

Cable reels (or cable drums) are frequently the subject of complaints by market surveillance bodies. Cable reels with a removable, flexible cable present particular problems, as they do not fall within the scope of EN 61242, and are frequently distributed with unacceptable safety technology.
The hands-on perspective of employees is often given insufficient consideration in the discussion of occupational health and safety. Although the Machinery Directive made inclusion of both sides of industry in standardization activity mandatory from the outset, many opportunities continue to be unexploited. An innovative project in Italy indicates alternative paths which may be followed.

The revised General Product Safety Directive came into force on 15 January 2002 and must be transposed by the Member States into national law by 15 January 2004 (reported in KANBrief 4/01). A working group has now agreed upon priorities for standards in support of the directive from the perspective of occupational health and safety.

Special

Market surveillance is an instrument for monitoring whether goods placed on the market comply with EC directives. In Germany, this task is performed by the federal states’ OH&S authorities. Since EC directives only contain very basic safety requirements, in line with the New Approach, harmonized European standards have a crucial role to play in market surveillance.

There is one thing which technical products for the European market must guarantee consumers and employees: safety, with no ifs and buts. The task of the market surveillance authorities is to monitor observance of the safety requirements. What is lacking, however, is a powerful system for the exchange of information throughout Europe between authorities conducting inspections.

Searching for specific standards relating to occupational health and safety is hard work because there are so many standards and no way of searching by OH&S aspects. NoRA is intended to solve this problem by providing an easy-to-handle way of selecting the documents required.

Mobile cranes are equipped with rated capacity limiters, which are intended to prevent the cranes from lifting and moving excessively heavy loads. Once the capacity limiter has tripped, the crane is prevented from executing movements which further reduce its stability. In practice, this feature is sometimes regarded as a nuisance, and the temptation simply to disable the safety function is great. The result may be that a crane weighing several tons tips, causing a major accident. Safety requirements in draft standard prEN 13000.

Directive 73/23/EEC was adopted in 1973 and the only change since then related to the CE mark and was brought about by Directive 93/68/EEC. Now the European Commission is seeking to revise it. The Commission’s foremost concern is not to tighten the regulations in the Directive but to make its provisions clearer and to settle the issue of the scope covered by the directive as opposed to that of other directives. An ad-hoc working group from the Standing Committee for the Low Voltage Directive presented a preliminary discussion paper on the subject at the beginning of July.

Special

A major trend in the world economy is the growth of the service sector, which according to the WTO already accounts for 60% of the gross world product. The international trade in services continues to lag this development, accounting for only 20% of total trade. In order to establish key conditions for international trade in services, the WTO therefore adopted the “General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)” in 1995. Special importance is attached in this agreement to global service standards.

As a consequence of European integration and increasing globalization of markets, the provision of services across international borders can be expected to increase. With the WTO-GATS Agreement, the World Trade Organization is pursuing the objective of facilitating free trade in services. Reference is made at several points in the agreement to “technical standards” and “international standards”. A KAN study is now to clarify the limits to which occupational health and safety aspects may be dealt with in service-sector standards.

At the beginning of 2003, the website of the network of European OH&S experts active in standardization, testing, certification or applied research, will become available. In addition to a public area providing information on EUROSHNET (European Occupational Safety and Health Network), the website includes a password-protected area in which subjects relevant to occupational health and safety may be discussed. The purpose of the communications platform is to facilitate contact and the exchange of information between OH&S experts.

A chief function of KAN’s activities is to co-ordinate opinion among groups responsible for occupational health and safety, and to introduce this opinion as a unanimous position in DIN standardization work at national, European and international level. Resolution 4/1996 of the DIN Presidial Board, which has been in force since 1996, is of major significance for KAN as a means to protect the interests of occupational health and safety. The resolution states that should, in exceptional cases, voting be required within a committee, a decision may not be taken which is contrary to the unanimous vote of a party with an essential interest in standardization. The resolution further requires the DIN Management Board to report regularly to the Presidial Board on its experience with practical implementation of this resolution.

Special

A major trend in the world economy is the growth of the service sector, which according to the WTO already accounts for 60% of the gross world product. The international trade in services continues to lag this development, accounting for only 20% of total trade. In order to establish key conditions for international trade in services, the WTO therefore adopted the “General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)” in 1995. Special importance is attached in this agreement to global service standards.

As a consequence of European integration and increasing globalization of markets, the provision of services across international borders can be expected to increase. With the WTO-GATS Agreement, the World Trade Organization is pursuing the objective of facilitating free trade in services. Reference is made at several points in the agreement to “technical standards” and “international standards”. A KAN study is now to clarify the limits to which occupational health and safety aspects may be dealt with in service-sector standards.

At the beginning of 2003, the website of the network of European OH&S experts active in standardization, testing, certification or applied research, will become available. In addition to a public area providing information on EUROSHNET (European Occupational Safety and Health Network), the website includes a password-protected area in which subjects relevant to occupational health and safety may be discussed. The purpose of the communications platform is to facilitate contact and the exchange of information between OH&S experts.

A chief function of KAN’s activities is to co-ordinate opinion among groups responsible for occupational health and safety, and to introduce this opinion as a unanimous position in DIN standardization work at national, European and international level. Resolution 4/1996 of the DIN Presidial Board, which has been in force since 1996, is of major significance for KAN as a means to protect the interests of occupational health and safety. The resolution states that should, in exceptional cases, voting be required within a committee, a decision may not be taken which is contrary to the unanimous vote of a party with an essential interest in standardization. The resolution further requires the DIN Management Board to report regularly to the Presidial Board on its experience with practical implementation of this resolution.

Special

Safety-related standardization in the nonharmonized domain remains significant under administrative law only within a narrow band between a large number of product-specific EC directives and the General Product Safety Directive. Within this band, the general requirements of the German Equipment Safety Act (GSG) apply in Germany. Owing to the particularly broad scope of, for example, European directives governing electrical appliances, machinery, or PPE, this segment was destined to be progressively consigned to history.

Harmonized standards represent an indispensable guide for manufacturers and market surveillance authorities. The presumption of conformity to which the application of suitable harmonized standards gives rise represents an essential element of the Single Market. In order for manufacturers and market surveillance authorities to be able to assume that the application of harmonized standards provides a certain legal security, certain conditions must be met.

At present, the standards organizations are discussing the European Commission’s recommendation for mandatory inclusion of a table of correspondence in harmonized European standards. The individual sections of a standard would be listed in such a table with the corresponding essential requirements of EC directives.

Ten new member states are expected to be welcomed into the European Union on 1 May 2004. Romania and Bulgaria are to follow in 2007. Prior to accession, the national legislation of these countries must be brought into line with current Community law. The PECA agreements reached between the candidate countries and the European Communities are a suitable instrument for sector-by-sector alignment within the area of the free movement of goods.

As in the EU countries, the area of OSH in Poland is governed by both legislation and standards. Legislation in this area has a very long tradition in Poland, the first regulations dating back to the 1920s. At present, the right to safe and healthy working conditions is enshrined in the constitution. Many detailed requirements have been specified in a large number of acts and decrees.

The subject of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is increasingly being debated at EU level, and lately also within ISO, the International Organization for Standardization. The subject relates to the socio-political and ecological contributions made by companies. From the perspective of OH&S, KAN rejects standardization of this area.

Special

It's not just products that have to meet essential requirements for the EU market. Europe-wide minimum criteria also apply to the bodies which test and certify those products. The “Global Approach to Certification and Testing” serves as the basis for mutual recognition of conformity assessments, without which the concept of free movement of goods cannot work.

Accreditation – a necessary but usually unpopular subject in the eyes of most testing and certification bodies. Why necessary? Only “authorised bodies” are allowed to award the voluntary GS mark as proof of tested safety and only “designated” or “notified bodies” are allowed to test and certify within the scope of EC directives.

The German federal government is currently considering reforming the German accreditation system. What are the reasons behind these plans?

Technical specifications, workshop agreements, publicly available specifications – the rapid development of modern technologies such as IT demands flexible products with short development cycles from the field of standardization too. Since the time it takes to draw up traditional standards with their extensive consensusbuilding procedures can only be shortened by a fraction, “quick” standardization products are becoming increasingly important.

When we hear about accidents involving medical devices, we tend to think that it’s the patient who’s been injured. In occupational health and safety, however, the focus is on the user’s health and safety when it comes to designing medical devices. A key aspect in this field is ergonomic product design. A set of guidelines developed on KAN’s initiative examines aspects which, from an ergonomic point of view, should be observed in addition to the common, obvious hazards (e.g. electrical hazards).

Germany’s federal states run their own testing bodies, referred to as equipmentinspection centres, to support their market- surveillance authorities. Standards play a pivotal role in market surveillance and, in particular, product-safety testing. KAN, in which all of Germany’s OH&S circles are represented, can help to ensure that the equipment-inspection centres’ findings are efficiently incorporated into standardization work.

Special

The European standards organizations CEN and CENELEC currently have 22 ordinary members. They include the national standards organizations of the EU and EFTA states, which have been members for many years, and some recently joined standards organizations from Central and Eastern European countries which will accede to the EU in the next few years. The most recent members are the Czech Republic, Malta, Hungary and Slovakia. Another 11 national standards organizations with affiliate status also belong to CEN and CENELEC.

When the European Union expands in May 2004, the number of EU citizens will rise from 380 to 450 million. Industry is already gearing up for the possibilities that will be offered by the larger single market by setting up branches, companies, joint ventures, etc. For the trade unions, the most important thing is to harmonize the working and living conditions of the workers in this huge economic area.

In 2001, the Czech Republic was the first candidate country for EU membership to sign a PECA protocol. The Czech CSNI was in turn the first standards organization of a candidate country to become a full member of both CEN (1996) and CENELEC (1997) and assumed the same duties as other members from then on.

Until the EC Machinery Directive came into force, safety requirements for cutting machines in the clothing industry were set forth in binding accident-prevention regulations. A standard for this field has been drafted on the initiative of Germany’s institutions for statutory accident insurance and prevention (“BGs”) and with KAN’s support. The work on the draft standard has already led to safety improvements in product design even before the standard is completed.

Hand-held, power-operated machines such as pavement breakers or drills can be either electric or non-electric. As a result, different institutes are involved in the standardization of such products: IEC and CENELEC are responsible for hand-held electric tools and ISO and CEN for nonelectric tools. This has meant that separate standards have been developed more or less independently of one another for machines of the same type but with different power sources.

On 7 May 2003, the EU Commission presented a communication on “Enhancing the Implementation of the New Approach Directives” to the Council and the European Parliament. The recommendations made in the communiqué are intended to help make the internal market even more efficient and increase European industry’s competitiveness with the aid of cost-effective measures. The EU Commission is also seeking to initiate a discussion regarding the formal structure of the directives.

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Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an increasingly important subject for companies worldwide. Numerous examples exist of how companies present those of their activities which are not directly of an economic nature, particularly in the social and environmental sphere. The ILO is now presented with the task of providing a framework for the multitude of different initiatives.

The KAN Special Event held at A+A 2003 and chaired by Marina Schröder (KAN Vice-Chair) revealed clearly the challenges facing new and existing Member States by EU enlargement to the south and east. In order for the interests of occupational health and safety to be represented effectively in the EU body of regulations, the individual positions in the respective countries must be consolidated within a European discussion process to form a consensus which can be carried by the greatest possible number of parties.

During plant visits, occupational health and safety experts frequently observe position switches on safety doors which have been bypassed, resulting in machinery being operated in an improper condition. Bypassing of this kind has repeatedly led to serious accidents, some of which sadly have been fatal. Generally, the party which bypassed the function is considered responsible. In the view of many OH&S experts, however, this definition of responsibility does not go far enough.

Evangelos Vardakas has been a Director at the “Enterprise” Directorate-General of the EU Commission since 1991. His area of responsibility encompasses standardization, conformity assessment and the New Approach. Mr Vardakas will leave the Commission at the end of 2003

The globalization of markets enhances the significance of international standards. In the Vienna and Dresden Agreements, the international and European standards organizations have undertaken to avoid duplication of effort and to employ international standards more frequently as a basis for European standards. This development has implications for occupational health and safety, as requirements placed upon the safe design of products are now increasingly being formulated in international standards. Attempts are also being made to include the health and safety of workers at work within this task.
In Spain, the right of citizens to effective protection against risks associated with gainful employment is set forth in Article 40.2 of the Constitution. The various mechanisms used to attain this objective are set out in further detail in Law 31/1995 governing occupational health and safety.
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Since its inception in 1994, KAN has become an established part of OH&S-related standardization. Its knowledge is respected, its advice sought, and its comments carry weight. Owing to KAN’s mandate and composition, Germany has in it a powerful institution whose reputation extends well beyond the country’s borders.

Interview with Dr.-Ing. Peter Kiehl

With the founding in 1994 of KAN, the Commission for Occupational Health and Safety and Standardization, the KAN Secretariat was also created. The Secretariat comprises the departments of ”Safety Technology” and ”Occupational Health and Ergonomics”, together with offices for employers’ and employees’ representatives.

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The Commission for Occupational Health and Safety and Standardization (KAN) , focuses the interests of German occupational health and safety experts in standardization. It exploits a range of instruments in the process, in order to co-ordinate positions between German national and regional authorities, employers, employees, and the BGs – the institutions for statutory accident insurance and prevention – and to present these positions in standardization activity.

The use of the formal objection in relation to New Approach standards is now sometimes being considered more critically, both by public bodies and by standards committees. KAN has gained a wealth of experience with this instrument.

Adopted in 1993, the German Consensus Statement (GDS) constitutes a fundamental point of reference for the work of KAN, which was founded in 1994. It details for Germany the EU framework conditions which shape the relationship between standardization and the health and safety of workers at work, and which were reaffirmed in 2003 in the Treaty of Nice. This means that for occupational health and safety, complete harmonization is not planned for the foreseeable future, and the GDS remains fully in force.

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In November 2012, the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology and DIN organised the second conference for SMEs, held in Berlin under the heading "Standardization as a success factor". The aim was to discuss how SMEs' application of standards and their participation in the standardization process could be simplified. The focus lay upon the new EU Standardisation Regulation, which explicitly seeks the standardization of services in addition to products. more
The European standardization package became applicable on 1 January 2013. With this package, the European Commission intends to make the system of standardization more efficient and to simplify participation by SMEs in the standardization process. Above all, stronger European standardization is to promote the Single Market for services. Jens-Uwe Hopf explains the position of the ZDH, the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts, on this subject. more
Service standards are in the ascendency, and are being lent strong support by the European Commission and standards organizations. The objective is for standards to make services even more easily comparable and to permit trade in them across national borders. Occupational safety and health is seldom a focus of such standards. As a criterion for the quality of a service, it is however frequently among the subjects addressed in standards, despite policy positions to the contrary. more
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Since October 2012 Dr. Stefan Nonneman has been head of the “Standards for boosting competitiveness” unit at the Enterprise and Industry Directorate-General of the European Commission. In this interview, he talks about the objectives and implications of the new EU regulation on standardisation. more
Where safety requirements are set out in product standards in the form of measurable values, methods suitable for their measurement must be adequately defined at the same time. KAN has presented a clear guidance document which is to assist standards committees in formulating measurement provisions in the most succinct and user-friendly way possible, yet at the same time in the necessary detail. more
The world of work is undergoing continual change: work is increasingly being performed in globally networked teams, automation and collaboration between human beings and robots is increasing, safety expectations are rising, ergonomics is becoming more important, people are working longer before retiring. Testing and certification must rise to the demands of these social, technical and political developments if it is to continue to be effective. more
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In the first lecture given at the KAN Colloquium on 16 March 2004, Evangelos Vardakas examined the role of the state and of employers’ and employees’ representatives in standardization activity, and ongoing development of the New Approach.
With the merging of markets, the significance of regional standards is on the decline. In the light of this development, the panel debate at the KAN Colloquium on 16 March 2004 discussed whether the existing structures in the enlarged Europe are suitable for ensuring the participation of occupational health and safety experts in standardization.
KAN has taken its tenth anniversary as an opportunity to review the foci of its activities. As a result, regular updating of safety-related standards and the increasing significance of international standardization will be accorded greater attention in future.
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On 30 June 2003, the transitional period expired for transposition of Directive 94/9/EC concerning equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. KAN Report 331 examines ”Standardization pursuant to Directive 94/9/EC (ATEX 95)”.
The EN 14175 series of European standards governing fume cupboards is currently in preparation. These standards will support skilled users in the selection and operation of fume cupboards by describing methods for inspecting the quality of such equipment.

Following Slovenia’s declaration of independence from the former Yugoslavia in June 1991, the country’s relations with the EU have developed at a good pace: a Co-operation Agreement was in force by September 1993, and EU membership negotiations began in March 1998. Despite its population of only 2 million, Slovenia has since made considerable efforts to implement the OSH-related parts of the acquis communautaire.

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Since 1 October 2004, CENELEC standards include an Annex ZZ, as was already the case with CEN standards (Annex ZA). These annexes reference the content of the standard to the directives concerned. Opinions differ regarding the arrangements for the annex. This subject will be discussed in the Special articles in the present issue.

The public may occasionally gain the impression that European standards governing the safety of machinery fail to meet the terms of the European Commission’s mandate to the European standards organizations. This perception can be countered by the fact that by April 2004, 475 standards under the Machinery Directive had been listed in the Official Journal of the EU, whereas only approximately 20 standards had been the subject of objections since the first listing in 1992.

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Standardization in the area of human physical strength is strongly influenced by the European EN 1005 series of standards. All parts of this series of standards are mandated under the Machinery Directive, and supplement existing Type B ergonomics standards governing the safety of machinery.
No structure comparable to the KAN exists in Italy. In many cases, however, employers’ and employees’ representatives and state and/or regional institutions co-operate effectively to improve standards in the interests of occupational health and safety. The parties chiefly responsible for occupational health and safety in Italy are presented below.
The example of workplace lighting shows that European standards can contribute to the detailing of requirements governing arrangements for in-plant workplaces only in a limited number of cases. Such cases include communication (terminology, definitions and symbols) and assurance of the comparability of a defined occupational health and safety standard (test and measurement procedures).

NORMAPME, the European Office of Crafts, Trades and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, was founded in 1996 at the instigation of UEAPME and a further four industry associations. NORMAPME represents the particular interests of SMEs in the European standardization process, and supports them in the application of European standards. NORMAPME represents 77 associations of SMEs in 31 European countries, whose membership in turn encompasses 20 million businesses and 50% of all employees in Europe.

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In the spring of 1989, seven technical committees began drafting PPE standards in support of Directive 89/686/EEC. The progress made to date has broadly been positive: in October 2004, 298 standards had already been adopted (without amendments or revisions), 57 drafts had reached the voting stage, and 15 standards were still being drafted. Were no further standards to be launched, the work would in theory be completed by 2008!

Notified bodies are testing and certification bodies notified to the European Commission by the EU Member States for assessment of conformity according to one or more European directives. The notified bodies are therefore in the first instance providers of services to manufacturers, for assessment of the latter’s products for compliance with the requirements of the directives concerned

Electrostatic materials in the particle filters of respiratory protective devices have the advantage of presenting low respiratory resistance and therefore being pleasant to wear. Their drawback however is that the filter efficiency may drop, both in use and, under certain conditions, during storage.

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On 1 May 2004, the German Equipment and Product Safety Act (GPSG) entered into force. One function of this act is to transpose the EC Directive on General Product Safety. Through the new act, the AtAV, the Committee for Technical Work Equipment and Consumer Products, is encharged with the task of identifying, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Labour (BMWA), national technical specifications which give rise to a presumption of conformity under the GPSG at national level.

On 1 May 2004, a further ten countries joined the European Union. This brought the total number of Member States to 25. The time has now come to open EUROSHNET, the European network for occupational health and safety experts involved in standardization, testing, certification, and/or related research, to OH&S institutions in all EU and EFTA Member States.

In the Netherlands, as in many other European countries, the social partners and the government deliberate on OH&S issues in the context of legislation and standardization. The Netherlands’ Standardization Institute (NEN), based in Delft, is the body responsible for the co-ordination of OH&S-related standardization.

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Should a European standard fail adequately to support the requirements of European Directives, the EU Member States may contest the presumption of conformity to which the standard gives rise by raising a formal objection. This procedure must be distinguished from the safeguard clause, which applies in the case of an unsafe product. The latter leads in turn to a formal objection only where the defect in the product is attributable to deficiencies in the standard.

The required safety level for the placing on the market of products in Germany is defined by the GPSG and a large number of standards. Similar regulations apply throughout the EU. Observance of these standards gives rise to a presumption of conformity with regard to the legality of distribution. In the event of damage or injury, no such presumption may be claimed during liability litigation; however, standards still play a key role in such cases.

Standardization: a key element for economic growth, social progress, and environmental protection; and consequently also for knowledge transfer and the opening of markets. In November 2004, following World Standards Day, the BDI presented its position paper, “9 Theses on the Significance of Standards for German Industry in the 21st Century“, which takes up the national standardization strategy of DIN. This article presents some of the concepts formulated within the position paper.

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A revised edition is about to be published of the German standard DIN 12980, “Laboratory furniture – Cabinets for handling cytotoxic drugs“. This standard describes the requirements placed upon safety cabinets used in particular by pharmacies to protect personnel against cytotoxic drugs.

Switzerland has adopted innovative approaches in recent years for the enhancement of health and safety protection. The associated process of implementation is still in progress, and is the factor shaping current occupational health and safety activity. EU provisions governing the placing on the market of equipment and devices have also been transposed in Switzerland.

In 2003/2004, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work made financial resources available for the promotion of workplace safety in small and medium-sized enterprises. The objective of a project concerning the safe use of forklift trucks was to gather practical experience gained on the ground in order for it to be given greater consideration in standardization.

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In April 2005, a German business magazine reported on the increasing popularity of Internet networks. Such networks link people with common interests and objectives. Conditions for entry guarantee a closed community which more readily facilitates the exchange of information and confidential discussions with like-minded people than do open networks with large numbers of users and a bewildering range of topics.
When a European standard (EN) is adopted, it must also be transposed unchanged at national level. Participation in the relevant national mirror committee constitutes an effective means of influencing the substance of European standards. The mirror committee sends delegate experts to the European standards committees, formulates comments at national level upon European draft standards, and monitors the standards creation process, which takes place at a number of levels. more

The EN 420 standard governing protective gloves has been available since 2003. As yet, however, it has not been added by the European Commission to the catalogue of harmonized standards pursuant to the PPE Directive, since the detection limit which it specifies for the chromate content of leather gloves is too high. Test methods for assured detection of lower concentrations must therefore be validated at the earliest opportunity.

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On 5 April 2005, the official language versions of the new Machinery Directive were adopted under the Luxembourg EU Presidency. Adoption was the culmination of a total of 39 sessions held by the Council’s ”Technical Harmonisation (Machinery)” working party in 2001-2004. Over four years of Council deliberations were thus brought to a successful conclusion.

Emergency safety showers in laboratories are an essential facility for the event of accidents involving fire or contamination with acids, alkalis and solvents. In expert circles in Germany, doubts are however being raised that the requirements of the European draft standard prEN 15154-1 governing efficient emergency safety showers are suitable for practical implementation and will enhance safety within laboratories.

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Moulders are frequently used for planing and moulding work on wood. The occupational health and safety technology department (Fulda) of the Kassel Regional Council measured very high noise emission values on a machine of this type. The high values were blamed upon the underlying standards. A KAN working group has compiled proposals for the action to be taken.
An accident in March 2004 involving a revolving door at Cologne-Bonn airport, in which a child died, triggered comprehensive action within specialist circles in Germany to improve the safety of automatic door systems. Work was halted on the European prestandard prEN 12650, which was considered highly unsatisfactory. Instead, DIN 18650 will be reissued in Germany in heavily revised form.

Should reasoned objections presented by OH&S experts concerning requirements in product standards be ignored, the formal objection is the final instrument available to ensure that, in the interests of user health and safety, the essential requirements of European Single Market directives are transposed. The example of „mobile cranes” demonstrates that the formal objection is a difficult, not to say lengthy process.

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Slipping accidents often arise through an unfavourable combination of factors: shoe soles, floor surfacing, and a friction- reducing medium such as water or oil. In order to facilitate the selection of suitable shoes and floor surfacing for the workplace, it is advantageous for their anti-slip properties to be classified, for example in standards. This task, already difficult, will be exacerbated in future by differences between the test concepts for shoes and floors in the European standards which are currently being drafted.
NoRA is a tool which can be used free of charge to search for standards of relevance to occupational health and safety. A further search option has now been added: ”ErgoNoRA” provides detailed search facilities for standards in the area of ergonomics.
The Central Institute for Labour Protection – National Research Institute (CIOP-PIB) is the main research institution in Poland comprehensively dealing with the problems of improving working conditions in accordance with human psychophysical abilities. One of its most important branches is the Department of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
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The enlargement of the European Union is now a reality; globalization continues, and the international standards organizations are gaining in importance. European OH&S institutions must therefore ensure that they possess the resources which they need in order to increase their effectiveness.

”An Enlarged Europe in a Globalized World”: three blocks of papers and two panel discussions provided the chairs of the various sessions with the opportunity to make their own statements on the topical issues. Excerpts from these statements are reported below.

In one of the series of papers presented at the conference, representatives from OH&S institutions in Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, and from the European Commission had the opportunity to describe their initial experiences with the enlarged Europe, and their expectations for the future.

Against a backdrop of rising costs and dwindling resources, closer co-operation is essential in the various fields such as standardization, testing, certification, and also research. The network structures already in place provide an outstanding basis for such co-operation. David Buchanan (HSL, United Kingdom) made this observation in his introduction to the first block of papers at the conference.

The conference was held in Paris on 20/21 October 2005 under the heading ”An Enlarged Europe in a Globalized World”, and was the successor to the 1st European Conference held in 2001 in Dresden. 127 delegates from 15 European countries attended the event. The conference was organized by the INRS (France) together with the CIOP-PIB (Poland), EUROGIP (France), the HVBG (Germany), the HSL (United Kingdom), the INSHT (Spain), and KAN.

55 EUROSHNET members from numerous eastern and western European countries met in Paris on 19 October 2005 in order to add a personal dimension to the contacts which they had already forged on EUROSHNET. A further purpose of the event was the sharing of experience in the use of this communications instrument, which was created for the European occupational health and safety community.

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Written and unwritten rules exist in standardization activity the observance of which is frequently crucial to participants' effective involvement. These principles have been summarized in KAN Report 34, "Possible influence of the OHS sector on ISO standardization". Selected examples will be described below.

The formal policy of both the European standards organizations and the European Commission is for European standards to be based where possible upon international standards, and for the latter preferably to be adopted verbatim. The development process for ISO standards is similar to that for EN standards, with certain exceptions.

In order to increase the efficiency of standardization at European and international level, CEN and CENELEC have reached agreements with their respective international partners ISO and IEC, setting out the rules governing co-operation. Closer examination reveals that despite having much in common, the two agreements (the "Vienna" and "Dresden" Agreements) also exhibit certain differences.

Identical standards throughout the world facilitate the opening of international markets. Where international standards are to be adopted as European standards, application of the concept of global relevance must not however compromise legal security in the context of the European New Approach directives.
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Completion of the European Single Market and protection of the population against unsafe products are principles of European policy. The ICSMS, the network of the European market surveillance authorities, is the perfect complement to these principles, and permits for the first time simultaneous and virtually immediate market intervention with full coverage.
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The new Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC was finally adopted on 25th April 2006, and was published in the Official Journal of the EU (L157) in June. Member States must implement the Directive by 29th June 2008, and it will be applicable from 29th December 2009. Until that date, the current Machinery Directive 98/37/EC will continue to apply.

Despite the contained scale of changes in the new Machinery Directive from the current version, 98/37/EC, the review and amendment of over 600 harmonized standards which are cited in the Official Journal of the EU and give rise to the presumption of conformity present a particular challenge which should not be underestimated for the Safety of Machinery Sector at the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and for the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC).

In the future, manufacturers of electrical machinery will no longer need to determine from the results of their risk assessment whether a machine falls under the Low-voltage Directive, 73/23/EEC, or the new Machinery Directive (2006/42/EG). An acceptable solution for clear differentiation between the scope of the two directives has been created in the form of the product list in Article 1 (2) of the new Machinery Directive.

In mid-2005, the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) published a study conducted by BIT into the use of standards for implementation of the requirements of the Machinery Directive amongst medium-sized machinery manufacturers. The study revealed limited familiarity with the structure and relevance of standards on the part of manufacturers, and that standards were consequently unable to fulfil their intended purpose satisfactorily.

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Two KAN workshops were held on 1 December 2005 and 7 March 2006 on the instruments available to OH&S representatives for influencing the ISO standards development process. At these workshops, some 60 OH&S experts discussed the consequences for occupational health and safety of the growing internationalization of standardization. The results of the workshop are now to be translated into concrete measures in conjunction with the affected groups.

Chromium VI in cement may trigger a chromate allergy (mason's itch). This relationship, which has long been known, resulted in 2003 in a European limit value being defined of 2 mg/kg for chromium VI in cement and preparations containing cement. In Germany, this limit value had already been in force since the late 1990s. A standardized measurement method is required to permit checking of whether the European limit value for chromium VI is observed.
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For historical reasons, Single Market directives which govern not only the essential requirements for products, but also aspects of market surveillance, marking, and the notification of certification bodies, exhibit substantial differences and present scope for improvement in certain areas. The European Commission has presented a draft for a European legal instrument which is intended to improve and reinforce certain essential aspects.
Interview with Jacques McMillan, Head of Unit “Legal aspects linked to internal market” at the DG Enterprise and Industry of the European Commission
The European Commission intends to retain the principles of European standardization within the area subject to harmonization in the future. In the course of revision of the New Approach, however, standard practice is now to be supported by a statutory framework. For this purpose, the Commission intends to set out a uniform definition of the terms "harmonized standard" and "presumption of conformity".
As a regulatory concept, the New Approach has become an indispensable instrument for realization of the European Single Market. Great importance is attached in this context to accreditation. It is therefore only logical that the pending revision of the New Approach should also extend to accreditation. The emerging form of the European Commission's considerations regarding accreditation will be described below.
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Within the efforts underway at international and European level to liberalize trade in services, standards governing them are considered an important element. Observance of an essential principle must however be ensured: requirements concerning protection of the health and safety of employees – in other words, the providers of the services – must be laid down outside standards.

The European Commission and the Member States are promoting improvements to market surveillance at a policy level. This development should be welcomed by the OH&S lobby. Experts from the ISSA Section Machine and System Safety have examined market surveillance structures in the area of machinery employed for commercial purposes. In the process, it has been established that market observation carried out by bodies other than the authorities is of decisive importance.
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Generic standards promote order and coherence within the body of standards. They enable an issue relevant to several areas of standardization to be governed at a higher level: in mathematical terms, to be placed outside the brackets. KAN Report 38 examined the relevance of generic standards, with machine safety serving as an example, and identified the benefits for the system of standardization. more
In contrast to the majority of New Approach directives, the directive governing construction products imposes no essential health and safety requirements for the use of products upon which occupational health and safety interests may be based. An important instrument is thus lacking in this area by which product safety aspects can be raised in standardization. The issue is examined in two successive KAN studies.
The service life and protective function of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as helmets and protective overalls are determined not only by the intensity of their use, but also by factors such as climatic influences and the cleaning and storage conditions. KAN has commissioned a study into whether, and if so how, a deterioration in the protective action due to age or use is addressed in standards.

KAN commissions studies and reports as one means of analyzing OH&S-related issues in standards. Three studies and projects which were launched recently will be presented in this article.

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In order for paper, board and film to be recycled efficiently, these materials are separated by type in recycling plants and pressed into bales for transport to the processing plant. A new standard is to assure safer working conditions on the channel baling presses employed for this purpose.

In Portugal, responsibility for occupational health and safety, the labour inspectorate, and standardization lies with different bodies. The Instituto para a Segurança, Higiene e Saúde no Trabalho (ISHST) is responsible for OH&S issues at national level. Through the Portuguese standards institute IPQ, it is also actively involved in the development of standards and technical specifications.

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SMEs are important to the European economy: they account for 99% of enterprises, 70% of jobs and 50% of value added. However, owing to constraints in terms of human resources and finance, the participation of SMEs in standardization is low. The European Commission has therefore commissioned a study aimed at identifying adequate policies across Europe and describing best practices for supporting the participation of SMEs in standardization.

Interview with Mr Hans-Werner Müller, President of the European Office of Crafts, Trades and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises for Standardisation (NORMAPME) and Secretary General of the European Union of Crafts, Trades and SMEs (UEAPME). Mr Müller’s term as UEAPME Secretary General will come to an end in summer 2007.

“Those who own the standards own the markets”. This comment by Otto Schlecht, former State Secretary of the German Ministry of Economics, demonstrates the importance of standards – both for large multinationals, and for the 900,000 small and medium-sized businesses in the German trade sector. Standardization assures the comparability of goods and services. This comparability is essential to the functioning of modern economies.
In a study launched by the European Commission, 23 best-practice examples for promotion of the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in European standardization activity were selected from over 400 proposed measures from 32 European countries. Those selected included two German examples: the KAN Reports of the Commission for Occupational Health and Safety and Standardization, and NAM, the standards committee responsible for mechanical engineering.
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Familiarity with the individual stages of standards development is advantageous if OH&S concerns are to be submitted in a timely manner and through the proper channels to the standardization process. KAN Report 34 contains important information in this respect with regard to ISO standardization. KAN Report 35 now describes the creation of CEN standards and the OH&S lobby's scope for influencing the standardization process.

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Although not always perfect, the harmonized European standards have made an essential contribution to progress in the safety of machines and other products placed on the European market. Improvements are however conceivable by which the standards may be made legally and technically more "robust".

Alain Mayer is an acknowledged expert on European standardization work in the area of personal protective equipment (PPE). Formerly a member of BTS 3, he has been Rapporteur of the CEN-BT for PPE since 1997. For 18 years, he led the test and certification department of INRS for PPE and machinery, and is therefore fully conversant with all aspects of the application of standards and European statutory regulations. Alain Mayer will retire at the end of 2007.

Within European standardization, Consultants are instrumental in ensuring that the specifications set out in harmonized European standards satisfy the requirements of the Single Market directives. The system of Consultants was evaluated in a study in 2006 with regard to its efficiency and to the satisfaction of the parties involved in standardization.

The number of formal objections or declarations of intent to submit formal objections to harmonized European standards is on the rise. Whereas, between 1998 and 2004, only a handful of such procedures were launched within the scope of the Machinery Directive, seven standards were under discussion in 2005 alone. In 2006, the number was nine, and by the end of March 2007, six standards were already being dealt with in the responsible Commission committees.
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The EUROSHNET OH&S network is a platform for the exchange of information between experts, and currently offers 12 fora with 180 subjects within a restricted area. The existing system has been extended by the creation of a public area which, as of May 2007, contains four new fora for topical OH&S issues in addition to the existing forum for OH&S management systems.

The need for research in the area of vibration is currently being discussed in EUROSHNET, the European network of OH&S experts. The discussion was prompted in part by problems in recent years in the development of standards supporting the EU Vibration Directive (2002/44/EC). These problems were caused by a lack of scientific principles required in the standards. A meeting of the EUROSHNET forum yielded the basis for a solution.

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The European conference "Innovation and Market Access through Standards" was held in Berlin on 27 March 2007 under the German Presidency of the Council of the EU. Over 350 delegates from 19 countries attended the event, which was organized by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) in conjunction with DIN. KAN was represented with a stand at the exhibition.

Research is essential to occupational health and safety: for the development of new protective equipment, for example; for extending knowledge of new risks; and for making practical solutions available, for example through standards. Whereas in the EU's sixth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (2002-2006), OH&S research was supported by only a small number of invitations to tender, the subject has become topical in the last two years.

Self-cleaning surfaces, glowing wallpaper, miniaturized data storage devices: the possibilities frequently described for nanotechnology read like a wish-list for life in the future. Research and development is in progress throughout the world by bodies aiming for a presence on this market. Potential risks to health must also be considered. Standardized measurement and assessment methods are of great importance in this context.
Scope for the use of radio-frequency technology for identification purposes (RFID) is also continuing to grow in the area of occupational health and safety. The University of Wuppertal (BUW) is currently developing a gate in which personal protective equipment can be inspected automatically. In the view of the statutory accident institutions and of businesses, RFID systems have the potential to improve occupational health and safety considerably.
Selecting the correct combination of shoes and floorings in order for slipping accidents to be avoided is frequently a difficult undertaking. In particular, the following issues must be clarified: How can slip-resistance properties be assessed reliably? Are the results from different measurement methods comparable? Can tests performed in a laboratory be extrapolated to practical application? Some answers to these questions have been provided by a dissertation produced at the University of Wuppertal (BUW).
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The Construction Products Directive, adopted in 1989, is unique among the New Approach directives, owing to differences in certain key aspects of fundamental procedural principles. The revision of the directive now launched by the European Commission should be exploited from an OH&S perspective as an opportunity for creation of a legal basis for the safety of construction products.

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The CE mark is not a safety mark which businesses can rely upon when selecting products. Conversely, the GS mark signifies that health and safety are assured by a neutral body. In the view of the German statutory accident insurance institutions, the European Commission's intention to abolish the GS mark without replacement by an equivalent mark constitutes a major retrograde step for prevention.

The European Commission's answer to this question appears to be a clear “yes”. In the course of revision of the New Approach, the Commission therefore intends to force the Member States to remove all national marks from their legislation. The theme of the proposal is the strengthening of CE marking. The general objective is clear, however: the measure is an attack on the German GS mark, and therefore damaging to consumer safety.

In the view of the Confederation of German Industries (BDI), a need for action exists regarding CE marking. The BDI described this need in September 2007 in a position paper concerning CE marking and the discussion of a EU safety mark.

Studies conducted by market surveillance authorities and businesses have found that considerable uncertainty still exists concerning the CE marking of machinery and plant. In collaboration with industry and universities, the Environment Ministry of the region of Baden-Württemberg is to lead the CE-coach initiative, the aim of which is a substantial improvement in knowledge of CE marking in accordance with the directives.

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Interview with Dr. Peter Kiehl, DIN Management Board

Dr. Peter Kiehl worked at DIN from 1975 to 2007, and from 2000 was a member of its management board, with responsibility for the area of standardization. From 1994 onwards, he represented the interests of DIN at KAN. The following interview provides a look back over his interesting work in the sometimes conflicted areas of standardization and occupational safety and health. Dr. Kiehl retired on 31 October 2007.

The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work in Bilbao called; representatives of eleven OSH networks answered that call. At the A+A 2007 in Düsseldorf, OSH experts from throughout the world took advantage of the opportunity to pool their experience and to intensify co-operation.

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The NoRA standards search facility has been extended with the addition of new functionality. Not only can users search, free of charge, for standards of relevance to occupational safety and health, they can now also search selectively for generic standards. In addition, they can ascertain under which European Directive a standard found by the search was mandated, and what standards are cited in it.

Requirements for product ergonomics set out in the relevant regulations continue to be inadequately addressed in design practice. One reason for this is the inadequate consideration given to the insights of human engineering in general, and ergonomics in particular, on degree courses in design. This deficit is to be corrected by ergonomics tuition modules recently produced within a KAN project.
Products which comply with harmonized European standards are also presumed to meet the requirements of the directives covered by the standards concerned. This "presumption of conformity" absolves the distributor of a product of the requirement for him to demonstrate its conformity. All parties involved are obliged to ensure for themselves at all times that the standards relevant to their purposes do in fact give rise to the presumption of conformity.
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Electrical appliances often become very hot. Certain parts of products, such as hotplates or the underside of electric irons, must become hot in order for the appliance to fulfil its function. Other parts are not intentionally hot, and present a burn risk to users if they can be touched accidentally. A new CENELEC guide provides information on evaluating this risk.

As of March 2008, EUROSHNET, the European network for OSH experts, features three new fora. In the public area, users can discuss efficient arrangements for testing/certification and the role of scientifically sound knowledge in standardization. In the restricted area, a forum for drafting the Cracow Memorandum has been created in preparation for the conference on the subject of "Safer products for competitive workplaces".

One of the aims of the Machinery Directive is to reduce noise emissions from machines. In order for the essential requirements formulated for this purpose to be implemented, the European Commission has, since November 1998, sponsored the work of independent "CEN/CENELEC Noise Consultants". The Consultants' task is that of reviewing the quality of the provisions governing noise in European standards developed pursuant to the Machinery Directive.

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The agricultural technology sector is booming: in 2007, revenues in Germany rose by 12% to 5.8 billion euro, and a further increase of 5% is expected for 2008. Over 2,000 companies exhibited their new products in 2007 at the world‘s largest trade fair for agricultural machinery in Hannover. The trend is towards high-tech: productivity and performance appear to be key issues. How can occupational safety and health be assured appropriate consideration?

The agricultural engineering standards group (NLA) of the Mechanical Engineering standards committee (NAM) at DIN is responsible for standardization in the area of tractors and agricultural machinery. Amongst its main activities are the definition of interfaces between tractors, equipment and management systems of agricultural enterprises, and technical requirements and test procedures in the areas of occupational safety, road safety and environmental protection.

With the enactment of the German Accident Insurance Code some 120 years ago, the safety of agricultural machinery became a key function for the German statutory accident insurance institutions in their mandate to prevent occupational accidents. The safety of agricultural machinery continues to be an area of activity for the agricultural accident insurance institutions. Today, this activity is conducted in the context of international standardization work.

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On 25 February 2008, the European Parliament adopted the “Internal Market Package“ at its first reading. The package contains an EU regulation on accreditation and market surveillance and a further regulation on mutual recognition between the Member States of non-harmonized products. In addition, a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council sets out how the Single Market is to be regulated more consistently in the future.

Business services and service sectors such as transport, energy, telecommunications, tourism and leisure account for some 70% of total employment in the EU. The European Commission has recently identified an increasing need for greater standardization of services, in order to support the full functioning of the Internal Market. In response to a mandate from the European Commission, CEN identified eleven priority fields for further action.

The Official Journal of the EU lists two standards for personal protective equipment (PPE) pursuant to the directive 89/686/ EEC which describe test procedures for ear muffs with sound level-dependent attenuation. Deletion of the reference to one of these from the Official Journal by means of a formal objection is desirable.

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KAN took the revision of the Machinery Directive as an opportunity to hold a European conference in Munich on 27/28 May, in conjunction with the DGUV. Delegates from the European Commission, the market surveillance authorities and associations representing the European social partners presented papers outlining their expectations of implementation of the revised directive. Legal experts also spoke on liability issues arising during the drafting and application of standards.

One component of the European conference held by KAN and the DGUV on the new Machinery Directive was a workshop on the subject of controls and protective devices. The workshop provided an opportunity for close pooling of information and exchange of opinion, and generated considerable interest among conference delegates. In lively discussions, they identifi ed areas of activity for standardization, and discussed approaches to the various issues.

“Ergonomic requirements must cease to be regarded as optional extras.“ At the workshop on ergonomic requirements, representatives of the European Commission, CEN, the social partners, researchers and specialists from the sphere of standardization were in agreement that ergonomic issues must be regarded by engineers as a natural part of the machine design process.

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At the conference under the heading “The new Machinery Directive – The expectations of prevention experts regarding standardization“, a workshop addressed risks presented by emissions of noise and hazardous substances from machinery. The discussion focussed upon the changes to the Machinery Directive concerning emissions, and the impact of these changes upon standards.

Telescopic loaders are used on construction sites, in agriculture and in industry for the lifting and transporting of loads. Drivers of such machines see room for improvement in a range of technical details. In their view, telescopic loaders should be made more stable, offer better visibility, and be designed more ergonomically. These observations should also be considered during standards development work.

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Channel baling presses are employed in recycling plants. They compress recyclable materials such as paper, board or fi lm into bales. European occupational safety and health experts have formulated a proposal for a standard which is to make working on these machines safer. Support is now being sought in order for the standardization project to be launched at European level.

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On 11 and 12 September 2008, 160 experts from 22 countries met in Cracow at the 3rd European Conference on standardization, testing and certification to discuss the subject of “Safer products for competitive workplaces“. Like the two preceding events, in Dresden (2001) and Paris (2005), this conference was organized by EUROSHNET.

CEN standardization and CE certification have proved exceptionally useful and have substantially raised the safety level of products distributed in the EU. Scope nevertheless exists for progress in order for the system to be improved further and the safety level of products bearing the CE mark to be maintained.

The 40 EUROSHNET experts who met in Cracow on 10 September 2008 to pool their experience were in accord: the system is well-engineered, and with over 100 OSH institutions and some 300 hits per day, constitutes an excellent basis for the uncomplicated exchange of information and effective collaboration in the sphere of occupational safety and health. The experts were however of the opinion that EUROSHNET must be used more systematically, and the support of more experts enlisted.

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Dr Joachim Lambert has been Head of the Secretariat of the Commission for OH&S and Standardization (KAN) since January 2000. He was particularly committed to strengthening Europe-wide co-operation between OSH groups within standardization. Prior to his retirement on 30 November 2008, he shared in an interview some of the impressions he had gained over the past years.

A DIN standards committee may not take any decision which is inconsistent with the block vote of a party with an essential interest in standardization. In order for such a veto to function, the stakeholder group to which an individual expert on a committee belongs must be clear. To bring the corresponding classifications up to date, the DIN standards committees are currently focusing on identifying the stakeholder groups represented within them and assigning their experts to their respective groups.

World Standards Day was marked on 21 October 2008 by a European conference in Paris under the heading “Standardisation and SMEs“. The event, which was broadcast live on the Internet, was devoted to the political strategies and specific measures by which the development and application of standards could be made easier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

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At the end of November 2008, the members of the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) gave the green light for the German public-sector accident insurers to have their interests in the area of standardization represented by KAN in the future, as is already the case for the BGs, the institutions for statutory accident insurance and prevention in the industrial sector. more
The public-sector accident insurers stand to benefi t considerably from becoming members of the VFA, the Association for the Promotion of Occupational Safety in Europe. KAN has already been involved in certain standards projects which concerned the public sector. Only with the extension of its scope of activity, however, is it now able to address standards projects in the key areas of education and the voluntary fi re services. more
In order to enhance storage capacity and/or storage density, channel storage systems employing shuttles are increasingly being used. Owing to the automatic pallet stocking and retrieval processes, these systems present hazards to persons. Possible measures for reduction of these hazards have been developed by the materials handling and warehousing technology committee of experts in conjunction with manufacturers and the market surveillance authorities. more
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In 2007, an international group of experts drew up a CEN document concerning biological risks in laboratories. This document, the CEN Workshop Agreement (CWA) 15793, “Laboratory Biorisk Management Standard“1, is not uncontroversial, since it contains occupational safety and health requirements which are already regulated at European or national level. It is also questionable whether CWAs are in fact suitable for addressing safety and health issues. more
In order to prevent unnecessary exposure of employees and other persons present at the workplace to hazardous substances, manufacturers are obliged to reduce the emissions from their machines at their origin if at all possible. This requirement is not always adequately observed on concrete smoothing machines, with the result that they frequently emit large quantities of harmful gases. EN 12649:2008, the standard governing these machines, urgently requires improvement in this respect. more
Between 1997 and 2000, nine European testing and research institutes and two industrial enterprises took part in the CEN/ STAR “STSARCES“ (Standards for Safety-Related Complex Electronic Systems) project, led by the French and sponsored by the EU, in order to support the standardization of safety-related parts of controls. The contribution made to the project by the BGIA, the occupational safety and health institute of the DGUV, served as a basis for the EN ISO 13849-1 standard. more
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The Construction Products Directive (CPD) adopted in 1989 may be replaced before the end of the year by a new EU regulation. From an OSH perspective, it is essential that this regulation also contain provisions governing the safety of construction products. An urgent need for action exists in this respect, as has been identifi ed by a KAN study into the safety of construction products which is to appear shortly. more
As a matter of principle, the health and safety of workers at work should not be governed by standards. This principle is set out in the German Consensus Statement on Standardization in the Field of the Health and Safety of Workers at Work1, which in turn is based upon essential provisions of European social policy (Article 137 of the EC Treaty). Since the German Consensus Statement has repeatedly been the subject of different interpretations, however, KAN has drawn up an explanatory document which is intended to describe the current limits of and scope for standardization in this area. Notwithstanding the general principle, standards are possible in this area under certain conditions. One example is where they are intended to promote understanding in day-to-day plant practice (symbols, defi nitions) or the comparability of measurement results by setting out uniform measurement methods (for example for exposure to workplace noise or vibration). Standardization is also tenable in certain cases for which it would normally be excluded by the German Consensus Statement: when a standards project is launched in defi ance of the German vote, or when KAN expressly consents to a standardization topic, OSH experts may participate in development of the standard with the involvement of KAN. In both cases, participation in standardization activity is intended to ensure that the national level of occupational safety and health is maintained. The interpretative document was adopted by KAN in March 2009, and is reproduced in full below. more
Anthropometric data are required in numerous areas, including that of the safe and healthy design of products. These data must therefore also be included in standards. The recent KAN Report 44 on the subject of “Anthropometric data in standards” provides information on how complete and up-to-date information can be added to the body of standards in the interests of occupational safety and health. more
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The website of DIN (www.din.de/en) offers anyone with an interest in standardization a wide range of information coupled with a comprehensive search function. The procedures for standards development and the scope for participation in them are described, as are legal aspects and issues relating to standards policy. A selection of pages which are particularly useful for standardization work are described below. more
Since April 2009, a range of DIN products have been grouped under the heading DIN SPEC. These products are created by means of procedures which do not necessarily require the full consensus of all parties with a vested interest; as a result, their development time is shorter than that of standards. In the view of the OSH lobby, these documents are however not suitable when they impact upon health and safety aspects. more
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Hearing protectors frequently attain lower sound-attenuation levels in industrial use than in the type test performed in accordance with the standard. This has been demonstrated by a study conducted by the BGIA Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the DGUV. Correction values for the sound-attenuation values measured in the laboratory are intended to support the user in the fi eld in selecting hearing protector products. Standards may also provide assistance in reducing the discrepancy between the laboratory and the field. more
Guided-type fall arresters with a rigid anchor line are employed for protection of persons against falls from a height, for example on ladders. Normally, it should be possible for them to be manufactured and placed on the market in Europe in accordance with EN 353-1. This standard, however, does not adequately address the fore more
During work on electrical installations, fault arcs may occur which release enormous quantities of energy within fractions of a second and present a risk of fatal injury for persons in the vicinity. In order for the tremendous dangers to be combated better in practice, a KAN working group has begun by formulating targets and requirements for research regarding measures for protection against fault arcs. more
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Occupational safety and health has a new advocate in the arena of European standardization. With SABOHS, CEN has created a “strategic advisory body for occupational health and safety“ which will advise the CEN Rapporteur Occupational Health and Safety and the Technical Committees on OSH issues. more
Methods and developments for the safe and environmentally responsible use of materials, the safe operation of technical systems and processes, and the safe handling of hazardous substances and goods, are indispensable under modern working conditions. The German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) conducts research, testing and consultancy in these areas, and ensures that the fi ndings obtained are incorporated into standardization activity. more
New standards governing industrial trucks (such as fork-lift and pallet trucks) are about to be published. What‘s special: since a consensus was not reached at international level, the basic standard and supplements are accompanied by two parts containing different arrangements applicable according to the region. The European part ensures that the provisions of the standard are not in contravention of the European directives. more
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What is the situation regarding access to standards and participation by stakeholders on standards committees? This was the key question at the colloquium organized by KAN to mark its 15th anniversary. Over 100 delegates met at DIN‘s premises in Berlin on 7 October to discuss the subject of the OSH lobby‘s participation in standardization work. Selected key topics from the event are presented below. more
The KAN colloquium provided OSH stakeholders with the opportunity to present their expectations of current and future standardization activity and the work of KAN. more
With around 1,500 European standards being drafted each year, the participation of all stakeholders is crucial if the standards are to meet with broad acceptance. In practice, however, this objective is not always attained. Two studies recently analysed the reasons for this and described possible measures for improvement. more
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The European and international standards organizations CEN, CENELEC, ISO and IEC provide a wealth of information on their websites. Join us for a brief virtual tour of the world of standardization.

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What does the abbreviation “GDS“ stand for? What exactly is a “formal objection“? Is the application of standards mandatory? Test your knowledge of standardization in our quiz. The solutions can be found under “In brief“ on Page 22. More detailed information is available on our website at www.kan.de/en ➔ Latest News. more
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The safety of machinery is a major occupational safety and health function. The subject is also dealt with comprehensively in standards. The task recently arose of adapting the body of standards to the new Machinery Directive. KANBrief discussed current developments with Christoph Preusse, the Chairman of technical committees CEN/TC 114 and ISO/TC 199, “Safety of machinery”. more
At the end of 2009, Germany submitted a proposal to ISO for a revision of EN ISO 4254-1, “Agricultural machinery – Safety – Part 1: General requirements”. It marked the beginning of a series of revisions to the standards governing agricultural machinery which were prompted by KAN Report 41, “Safety of agricultural machinery”, and which are now to be implemented successively. The efforts of the occupational safety and health lobby have borne fruit. more
Users of harmonized standards need to be fully aware of which provisions in directives are supported by the standards concerned, and which are not1. Users relying solely upon the normative parts of harmonized standards and assuming that they will thereby observe all requirements of the directives are on dangerous ground. It is therefore advisable to examine precisely how far the presumption of conformity actually extends. more
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Measurements of physical parameters repeatedly differ in their results. For this reason, a study commissioned by KAN was conducted in order to determine the extent to which the harmonized standards and draft standards pursuant to the Machinery and PPE Directives contain safety-related requirements that are described in terms of measurement variables, and whether suitable measurement methods are also set out where this is necessary. more
CEN has produced a draft guide which is intended to provide assistance in the creation of standards governing services. It is considered indicative of the direction to be taken by future service standards, and is intended for any party – not only those with experience in standardization – with an interest in standardizing their services. Some of the points stated in the guide are however not consistent with the German OSH position. more
Located in Düsseldorf, the Institute for Applied Occupational Ergonomics and Industrial Engineering (IfaA)1 is an institution active in the disciplines of occupational science and corporate organization, and connects research with application in the field. The IfaA’s work is geared to increasing productivity and thus to enhancing the competitiveness of German industry and the retention of jobs in Germany. more
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Safe driving and transporting – the topic of the 2010/2011 prevention campaign being run by the German statutory accident insurance institutions – is about more than just proper behaviour. The vehicles themselves must also be safe. Standards, and the requirements for properties formulated within them, are an important aspect in the prevention of accidents and health hazards in this area. more
The use of modern construction machinery is substantially responsible for construction work becoming increasingly more productive and also more ergonomic. The frequently close proximity of human workers and machinery on construction sites is not without hazards, however. Poor visibility is one of the aspects which repeatedly lead to accidents. BG BAU is tackling the problem by means of new provisions in standards and by the "Fight the Risk" campaign. more
Pedestrian-controlled industrial trucks are in everyday use in many companies. Accidents continue to occur, particularly when this heavy transport machinery is being manoeuvred. 50 percent of all accidents involve injuries to the feet. A newly developed bump strip for foot protection is able to prevent such accidents effectively. Should it prove equally effective in practice, it should be included in the relevant standards. more
Traditional standards are not the only documents describing the state of the art, for example with regard to the safety of products; over 1,800 national guidelines of the VDI (Association of German Engineers) are approved codes of practice which also affect occupational safety and health. DIN standards and VDI guidelines differ however both in how they are created, and in their status. These differences have implications for occupational safety and health. more
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On 1 January 2010, the DAkkS assumed its functions. With the formation of this national accreditation body, Germany has met the European requirement for harmonization of the accreditation system. This step begins a new chapter in German accreditation, and focuses the many years of experience and competence of what were formerly 20 separate institutions within a new structure. more
Among the preparations for its accession to the EU on 1 January 2007, Romania also adapted its occupational safety and health legislation to the European legislatory framework. Law 319/2006 on safety and health at work plays a key role in this context. It transposes the European OSH Framework Directive 89/391/EEC into Romanian law and governs the responsibilities of authorities, institutions and employers. more
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The European Commission and the Council are seeking to reform the European standardization system. The system should be better able in future to respond to innovative developments and to support the competitiveness of companies. For this purpose, the standards organizations should revise their business models and gear the system more closely to the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). more
Although the institutions of the EU endeavour to formulate directives comprehensively and clearly, questions repeatedly arise regarding their application in practice. Interpretation of the texts of New Approach directives is the task of European Commission services and of European bodies. The functions of these services and bodies will be described briefly below. more
In order to ensure that harmonized European standards adequately support the essential safety requirements of EU directives, CEN/CENELEC and the European Commission make use of a system of independent consultants. These consultants are contracted to CEN/CENELEC. Through their review of the standards – approximately 570 in the area of machinery alone – they make an important contribution to quality assurance of the standardization system. more
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EN ISO 8041 sets out requirements for vibration measuring instruments and describes their testing and calibration. The standard is required in the field, but cannot be applied in its current form at justifiable cost. For this reason, KAN has drawn up a position paper containing concrete proposals for improvements to be made during the revision of the standard. more
Owing to the high accident rate on channel baling presses, OSH representatives called in 2006 for a standard supporting the safety requirements of the Machinery Directive to be developed for these machines. Three standards, for different types of presses, are now being formulated in a project committee set up by CEN. The draft standard for horizontal baling presses will be presented shortly for public enquiry. more
With its 413,000 inhabitants, Malta is the smallest Member State of the European Union. Owing to the small size of the country, the different authorities involved in OH&S matters maintain particularly close links and collaborate intensively. more
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When human beings and robots work in close proximity at the same workplace, a risk of collision cannot be fully ruled out. It is important for employees not to be exposed to a serious risk of injury. Since the standards governing industrial robots do not currently contain adequate provisions in this area, the IFA and the FA MFS have drawn up a guide formulating comprehensive requirements. The contents of this guide are also being submitted within standardization activity. more
Government and industry bodies have made it their objective to put more electric vehicles on German roads. The current focus of research and development lies upon vehicle technology and upon the infrastructure that must accompany it. However, the new products also present a challenge for occupational safety and health, since their drivetrains make use of voltage at levels not commonly used in vehicles in the past. more
PEROSH, the Partnership for European Research in Occupational Safety and Health, is committed to empirical research and development activities for a healthier, longer and more productive working life. The partnership, founded in 2003, comprises 13 occupational safety and health (OSH) institutes affiliated to ministries and accident insurance systems and employing approximately 1,000 researchers and advisors. more
Over the past three years, the workload of European safety standardization work has been heavy, with the adaptation of over 600 harmonized standards to the new Machinery Directive. Thanks to the exceptional efforts of all involved, this challenge has been met successfully. Now that this phase has been completed, the CEN Technical Committees (TCs) face a series of further tasks. more
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CE marking provides technical products with a “passport” to the European market. In order to educate manufacturers on the importance of the CE mark and the associated obligations and liability risks, the Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Transport of Baden-Württemberg is providing basic information free of charge on the Internet in the form of the CE-coach learning application. more
Standards organizations and industry associations now provide a range of information and search tools and services which are geared specifically to the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Here, we present a selection of aids and tools that support SMEs in applying standards and participating in the standardization process. more
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The body of ergonomics standards is divided between European standards pursuant to the Machinery Directive, international standards with a closer focus upon principles, including principles for design, and the ergonomic provisions contained within a wide range of product standards. What has been lacking to date, by which these areas could be merged to form a harmonious whole, is described here by the Chairs of the ergonomics committees at DIN and ISO, Norbert Breutmann and Georg Krämer. more
Our working world would be more humane, employees healthier, and companies more efficient if ergonomic findings were more frequently put into practice. The participants at a workshop held in 2008 dealing with the ergonomics requirements of the new Machinery Directive found the essential difficulty to be not the new requirements themselves, but poor communication between the research community and the field. They therefore decided there and then to address this problem. more
In July 2010, KAN held a workshop on the subject of anthropometry in the field and crossing the gap between standards and designers. The workshop was prompted by recommendations made in KAN Report 44 concerning anthropometric data in standardization. The workshop participants discussed the current need for action and drew up a series of recommendations. These were approved by KAN at the end of 2010. The KAN Secretariat will therefore now promote their implementation. more
The philosophy of the standards governing mental stress at work has proved effective. Certain changes are planned however for the upcoming revision. DIN’s Ergonomics standards committee launched this review by selecting an instrument not usually employed in standardization: a workshop. In the workshop, numerous explicit proposals were made for further development of the standards. These will be exploited by the committee as a basis for its work. more
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The European Single Market and with it a substantial part of prevention activity are founded upon suitable procedures for the testing, certification and ongoing monitoring of product conformity. KAN has commissioned a review of whether an essential requirement for this procedure is met: are conformity assessment bodies themselves assessed and accredited against a complete, harmonized and inherently consistent body of standards and regulations? more
In March 2010, following a formal objection by the UK authorities, the European Commission deleted EN 353-1 governing guided-type fall arresters from the list of harmonized standards in the Official Journal of the EU. Standards committees and test and certification bodies are working on provisions to solve the ensuing problems for manufacturers, test bodies, users and market surveillance authorities. more
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Office work is the prevailing form of work in Germany. At present, approximately 17 million people in Germany have an office workplace, and the number is still rising. In this context, the “human factor” acquires crucial importance. No one aiming to create competitive office workplaces can afford to ignore occupational safety and health. more
Some 18 million VDU workplaces are to be found in Germany. Over 45% of the workers at these workplace report back or neck pain, or similar complaints. Only when workplaces are designed ergonomically can it be ensured that workers will be able to work at them for many years without suffering complaints. One aspect of this is that the workplaces should be free of distracting reflections. more
In contrast to the underlying ergonomic conditions in office workplaces, those in classrooms are often neglected, either out of ignorance or for cost reasons. Yet the classroom is the daily workplace of teachers and pupils. The high demands placed upon both pupils and teachers can be met more effectively in classrooms that are ergonomic, and therefore more conducive to health and learning. more
On 24 April 2011, the new EU Construction Products Regulation came into force. It takes effect immediately, but will not impose binding obligations upon manufacturers until 1 July 2013. From an occupational safety and health perspective, the regulation is a significant improvement over the former Construction Products Directive, since for the first time, it sets out requirements for the safety of construction products at European level. A legal loophole has thus been closed. more
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Over 100 interested individuals responded on 31 March 2011 to the invitation by KAN, the DGUV and the EBD to attend a panel discussion in Berlin concerning current developments in standardization. Chaired by Gregor Doepke (DGUV), the panel comprising Mariana Bode (BMWi), Michael Koll (BMAS) and Dr. Albert Hövel (DIN5) discussed topics including the EU’s initiatives for amendments to the standardization system. more
On 31 May 2010, Italy’s Superior Institute for Job Accident Prevention and Safety (ISPESL) and Insurance Institute for the Maritime Sector (IPSEMA) became part of the Italian Workers’ Compensation Authority (INAIL). The purpose of this step was to focus resources and to link insurance and research more closely together. more
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The European Commission plans to restructure the European standardization system. One reason for this is to address the fact that certain sectors of the economy are increasingly abandoning traditional, consensus-oriented standards committees in favour of other fora for development of the specifications that they need. This particularly applies to areas such as information and communications technology (ICT) and security. more
The Internal Market Package adopted in 2008 contains not only Regulation 765/2008/EC on accreditation and market surveillance, but also Decision 768/2008/EC. This decision sets out the agreed provisions governing how directives are to be formulated in the future in order for the Single Market to be regulated more uniformly and effectively. In the course of implementation of the New Legislative Framework3, the European Commission presented proposals for the alignment of ten directives. more
Besides pure product standardization, standardization of services is becoming increasingly important, and is therefore also a highly topical issue for occupational safety and health. Above all, it is important that the service standards do not conflict with statutory OSH provisions. Standards are not a suitable instrument for regulating the safety and health of the persons delivering the service. more
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Accidents, in some cases severe, have occurred in the past during work with large forestry machinery. This has prompted KAN to commission a study into whether, and if so, to what extent, certain essential requirements of the 2006/42/EC Machinery Directive are supported by the standards governing forestry machinery. The study revealed a need for various aspects of the existing standards to be revised and improved. more
Originating in the UK and now a board-approved project of UEPG, the European Aggregates Association, ‘Safer by Design’ comprises voluntary guidance addressing the design vacuum that exists between the manufacturers and users of mobile plant used in quarry extraction and processing. Complementing national, European and international standards, the core safety requirements identify and demonstrate the real ‘state of the art’ that should be reflected by the CE mark. more
It's an appealing concept: any worker wearing personal protective equipment is automatically scanned in a non-contact manner at the point at which they access a workplace. The personal protective equipment is checked for its suitability, serviceable condition, and the mutual compatibility of the individual items of PPE. This should enable the accident rates, days of sick leave and cases of occupational disease to be reduced to their lowest ever levels. more
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The division of functions between legislation and standardization as embodied in the New Approach has proved effective in many product areas. The result is a common body of technical regulations applicable throughout Europe which has been developed with a strong degree of commitment. However, growing internationalization, shorter innovation cycles, changes in statutory requirements and the availability of only limited resources for participation present standardization work with new challenges. more
The strategy committee for occupational safety and health of AFNOR, the French standards institute, has for some time been addressing how the quality of harmonized European standards can be improved further in the course of their revision. The most important proposals for improvements resulting from the discussions are presented below. more
A new trend is emerging: numerous CEN Workshop Agreements (CWAs) and other specifications are being developed on safety-related topics. In a position paper, KAN has described the procedures for the creation of CWAs and PAS and the particular issues that they present for occupational safety and health. The paper serves OSH experts as a guidance document for dealing with these specifications. more
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Since June 2009, a KAN working group comprising representatives of the German accident insurance institutions, regional authorities, test bodies, the research community and industry has been intensively addressing the issue of protection against the effects of fault arcs. The group's original aim was to discuss the parameters for the type-testing of clothing for protection against thermal hazards presented by fault arcs. Ultimately, however, the discussions extended beyond this original task. more
In Europe, a large number of players are involved in regulation, standardization, testing and certification in the area of occupational safety and health. In order to assure, over the long term, the safety of products used at workplaces, it is essential that all stakeholders co-operate actively and pool information and new findings. more
Trust is good, but supervision is better. Work equipment and other technical products such as machines, electric appliances, PPE or toys must be safe. Verifying this safety is the task of the market surveillance authorities. In order to facilitate the flow of information on hazardous products between manufacturers, consumers and the authorities, the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) has set up a comprehensive product safety portal. more
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On 31 August 2011, the institutions responsible for the Joint German OSH Strategy (GDA) and the social partners signed a new guideline paper. The paper has the purpose of optimizing the rules and regulations governing occupational safety and health. Duplicate regulations are to be avoided, the overhead for companies reduced, and the standard of occupational safety and health further enhanced. The guideline paper forms the basis for a comprehensible, clear and consistent body of rules and regulations. more
A core element of the Joint German OSH Strategy (GDA) is the statutory obligation to produce a coherent body of rules and regulations. The guiding principle is that state regulations and the body of regulations produced by state committees are primary instruments for the promotion of workplace safety and health. In view of this principle, what is the relevance of the body of rules and regulations produced by the German Social Accident Insurance institutions? more
If standardization results in attention being paid to safety and ergonomics whilst work equipment is still at the design stage, many risks can be averted from the outset. This not only saves considerable macroeconomic and business costs, but also reduces human suffering. The involvement by representatives of the accident insurance institutions in standardization therefore constitutes an important prevention instrument. more
Subjects
With a presidial decision taken in 1996, DIN moved to protect stakeholder groups in standardization activity at national level. The presidial decision was updated in 2007. It set out that should a consensus not be reached in a standards committee and a decision instead be put to a vote, the result could not override the block vote of a stakeholder in standardization. This important decision has now been further substantiated. more
On 1 December 2011, the German Equipment and Product Safety Act (GPSG) was replaced by the new Product Safety Act (ProdSG). The new name of the act and its considerable expansion (40 sections rather than the previous 21) would suggest that major changes have been made. Closer inspection shows however that despite numerous detail changes, the proven underlying structure of the GPSG has been retained. more
An interview with Klaus Yongden Tillmann. In January 2011, the former Managing Director of the Dortmund chamber of crafts assumed the function of Secretary General at the European Office of Crafts, Trades and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises for Standardisation (NORMAPME) in Brussels.