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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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In our next issue, the focus will be on the Safety of vehicles.

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

Subjects

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

Special

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

Special

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

Special

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

Subjects

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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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

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