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Machine safety during its period of use
In the previous article we focused on purchasing CE marked machinery. Once you selected and purchased a CE marked machine, it is your responsibility to keep it safe during its period of use.
During this time of use:
• The acceptable level of safety increases and the machine needs to be safe according to this acceptable level
• Technology improves and new risk reduction measures may become available
• Environment/intended use can change
Therefore you need to perform a risk assessment of the machine ‘when necessary’. A good rule of thumb is after approximately 5 years or after changes in the machine, its environment or intended use.
This risk assessment needs to cover the life phases of the machine that are applicable:
• Regular use
You should do this risk assessment according to an accepted method, e.g. the method described in NEN-EN-ISO 12100:2010. The priority of risk reduction is the same as when designing a new machine:
• Intrinsic measures to remove or reduce a risk
• Shielding measures to prevent access to a hazard zone
• Information measures to inform the operators for remaining risks
The risk reduction measures that need to be taken to reduce small risks will however mostly be ‘added safety’ instead of ‘intrinsic safety’, because you cannot be expected to completely modify an existing machine for a small risk reduction.
E.g. instead of modifying the machine to remove a risk, you can add shielding to prevent access to the hazard zone.
In case of very large risks however, you should either modify the machine to remove or reduce the risk or replace the machine with a safer machine.
The above method is also applicable for initial determination of the safety of existing machines with or without CE mark.
If you need assistance for determining the safety of existing machines, feel free to contact www.bkl.nl