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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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The EU and standardization

Special

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

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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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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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