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Out with the old ANSI B11 TR3... in with ANSI B11.0!

I am the chair of B11.0 and I'd like to share a bit of its storyB11 refers to the machine tool community.  ANSI B11.1 was the original B11 standard and was first published in 1913.  Currently there are over 30 standards and technical reports published by the B11 community. The most recent addition to the B.11 standards collection is ANSI B11.0 and pertains to the safety of machinery. 

The genesis of the current document can be traced back to late 1995 and the first meeting of what became ANSI B11 Technical Report #3 or more commonly known as B11 TR3.  This meeting kicked off the development of a technical report on risk assessment. This effort was a direct result of the pending publication of EN 1050 on risk assessment in the EU. The purpose of TR3 was to form a single committee to write a US based risk assessment guide that could be used and referenced by the more than twenty B11 standards committees.  This precluded each individual standard committee writing its own requirements.

TR3 was not easy document to write. EN 1050 was used as the starting point but that was left behind rather quickly.  Writing the document took nearly five years with 3-4 meetings a year.   ANSI B11 TR3 was published in 2000. This was a technical report not a standard. It contained informative information but not normative requirements.  Subsequent to its publication, the B11 community wrote text to be included in the B11 standards that required risk assessment with references to TR3. 

In the early 2000s the B11 community expressed interest in combining the common elements of the B11 machine tool safety standards into a common document. In 2004, the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute began a revision of its standard ANSI/PMMI B155.1 which was structured around the risk assessment process with participation from members of the B11 community.  TheB155.1 standard was published in 2006.

With the publication of B155.1 the B11 community looked at adapting this standard to the machine tool industry.  A committee was formed and completed the adaption, and published what was then called ANSI B11 General Safety Requirements Common to ANSI B11 Machines in 2008.  During this time the TR3 committee commenced a revision of the technical report.

Shortly after publication of ANSI B11, the leadership of the B11 community directed it task force to examine if the content ANSI B11 could be further adapted to machinery generally within the scope of B11. The task force returned an analysis that determined that the standard could easily be adapted to apply to machinery generally and not just machine tools. Shortly thereafter the B.11 subcommittee was activated to update the standard according.

These modifications were made to the standard as well as incorporating lessons learned from the use of B155.1 in the field.  Further, the TR3 document was folded into the standard revision effort and the sub-committees combined.  The resulting standard, now labeled ANSI B.11.0 was published in December 2010. 

ANSI B11.0 Safety of Machinery is a potentially extremely significant document for machinery safety. The scope of the standard states that the standard applies to new, modified or rebuilt power driven machines, not portable by hand, used to shape and/or form metal or other materials by cutting, impact, pressure, electrical or other processing techniques, or a combination of these processes. There are many industry standards for machines in a variety of industries. There are many, many more machines in all industries for which there is no industry standard.  Therefore this B11.0 standard could have very far-reaching impacts.

Like its B155.1 predecessor, B11.0 includes requirements for both suppliers and users of machinery. More specifically the standard states that machinery suppliers and users have responsibilities for defining and achieving acceptable risk. The standard provides additional details and descriptions of the responsibilities for both users and suppliers in the standard.  The primary performance requirement of the standard is that risks associated with the operation, maintenance and dismantling and disposal of machinery shall be reduced to an acceptable level. This requirement applies to the supplier, user, installation, and the integrator/modifier/rebuilder of the machinery. The standard provides a risk assessment process to be used to achieve acceptable risk and includes both performance requirements and informative annexes to help the reader understand what is expected. In addition B11.0 includes clauses on specific risk reduction and safeguarding methods, information for use, and training. The standard also includes several informative annexes to assist the reader in reaching nirvana.

For interested readers impacted by international standards, ANSI B11.0 is on par with ISO 12100. I will outline the “new” ISO 12100 in my next post, but here is the bottom line.  ISO 12100 is based on 20-year-old information. Conversely, ANSI B11.0 is based on more recent knowledge. Therefore readers interested in the most current information will be better served looking to the B11.0 standard rather than the ISO 12100 standard. In future years we can hope that's these two standards will be harmonized in many respects, but that may or may not occur because the standards development world includes many unknowns and pitfalls.  Time will tell. Stay tuned.

Posted On: 18 Jan 2011 21:28