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Enhanced Functional Safety in Machine Design: Navigating ISO and IEC Standards

safety interlock industrial machinery

Enhanced Functional Safety in Machine Design: Navigating ISO and IEC Standards


In the rapidly evolving landscape of industrial automation, the importance of functional safety in machinery can't be overstated. This comprehensive guide delves into crucial safety standards like ISO 14119, ISO 14120, and others, shedding light on their roles in safeguarding against industrial hazards.

Understanding ISO 14119: Safety with Interlocking Devices

ISO 14119 focuses on the safety aspects of machinery-guarding interlocks. These interlocks are designed to prevent machinery from operating until their guards are securely closed. For example, imagine a heavy press machine; it should only operate once its safety guard is securely locked, preventing accidental injury.

Key Takeaways:

  • Interlocks should not initiate machinery operation; a separate start mechanism is safer.
  • The standard ensures that safety systems can't be easily defeated or bypassed.

ISO 14120: Design and Construction of Machine Guards

Replacing earlier standards, ISO 14120 sets forth requirements for fixed and movable guards. These guards play a vital role in protecting operators from mechanical hazards and other risks like noise and flying debris.

In Practice:

Consider a conveyor belt with moving parts; ISO 14120 ensures that the guards around this belt not only protect the operator from moving parts but also reduce the noise levels and the risk of projectiles.

Exploring Additional Relevant Standards

EC 60947 - Low-Voltage Switchgear and Controlgear

This standard applies to the safe use of low-voltage electrical components, ensuring that devices like circuit breakers meet safety requirements.

IEC 60204-1 - Electrical Equipment of Industrial Machines

Updated recently, this standard focuses on the safe integration of electrical components in industrial machines. It aligns electrical safety with overall machinery safety.

IEC 61508 - Universal Safety-Related Systems

This overarching standard supports uniform safety designs across various machinery, moving beyond just component failure modes to emphasize overall system performance and reliability.

IEC 62061 - Functional Safety of Control Systems

Derived from IEC 61508, this standard is tailored for machinery with programmable controls and complex safety architectures. It's instrumental in ensuring sophisticated machinery meets high safety standards.

BS EN 614-1 and ANSI B11.0 - Ergonomics and General Safety

These standards address ergonomic design principles and general safety requirements, ensuring machines are both safe and comfortable for operators.


Navigating the world of functional safety standards in machine design is akin to assembling a complex puzzle. Each standard, from ISO 14119’s focus on interlocking devices to IEC 62061’s coverage of programmable control systems, forms a piece of this puzzle. Understanding and implementing these standards is not just a matter of compliance; it's a commitment to the safety and well-being of operators and the efficiency of machinery. By integrating these safety measures, manufacturers can create a safer, more efficient, and sustainable industrial environment. While the subject is technical, its importance in our daily interactions with machinery cannot be overstated - whether it's ensuring the safety guard is in place in a factory setting or the integrated safety measures in the office photocopier.

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