Machine Safety: Robotics Industries Association is revising safety standard

Those drafting the ANSI RIA R15.06/CSA Z434 standard are looking at functional safety requirements.


The Robotic Industries Association (RIA) consensus standard for robots (RIA 15.06) is undergoing revision and will require greater knowledge and competence relating to safety systems design and specifically functional safety. Many people know of the functional safety standard ISO 13849-1: 2006, which is now valid for the presumption of conformity to the Machinery Directive in Europe. Machine safety domestic standards are offered by RIA, the R15.06 Safety Standard Sub-Committee, and at the National Robot Safety Conference (Sept. 24-26 in Indianapolis, Ind.).

The draft RIA R15.06 includes ISO 10218-1, ISO 10218-2, plus U.S. and Canadian additions. These additions include explanations of sections in the ISO text as well as additional requirements addressed to the users of robot systems, robot cells, and robot lines. The user requirements are needed because ISO machine safety standards are written to the suppliers, not users, of equipment.

The current RIA 15.06 – 1999, clause 4 will be replaced by what is ISO 10218-1 (robot-only requirements). ISO 10218-1 covers the design and manufacture of the robot itself (not the end-effectors).

Both RIA R15.06 – 1999 and the draft RIA R15.06 comprehensively cover the robot, system, integration, and user requirements in one standard. The draft ANSI RIA R15.06 breaks these into two parts, where part 1 is specifically directed to the robot manufacturer and part 2 covers the integration and use of these robots. 

The draft ANSI RIA R15.06 and the draft CSA Z434 will include both U.S. and Canadian comments and requirements, so that the one document will provide the ISO, Canadian (CSA Z434), and U.S. (ANSI RIA R15.06) robot/integration/use requirements.

Other countries have accepted and use ISO standards. The ISO standard, as noted in the Control Engineering Machine Safety blog, requires compliance to the new quantitative approach to hazard identification, engineering, and mitigation including performance levels. This approach is required and mandatory as specified by the Machinery Directive in Europe effective Jan. 1, 2012. 

Those involved with the draft ANSI RIA R15.06 /CSA Z434 standard are still determining what to require as far as functional safety goes. It is possible that the standard might require compliance with ISO 13849-1: 2006, and it is also possible that the standard might require compliance with functional safety but an abbreviated version of ISO 13849-1. The committees are still grappling with the issue and determining what is best for improving safety and increasing safety competence while being reasonably achievable.

We are on the path toward a truly global standard for robots, robot systems, and their integration. As usual, each country has its own workplace safety requirements, so only Canada and the U.S. have achieved harmonization for the user requirements.

- Roberta Nelson Shea, Applied Manufacturing Technologies, and Jeff Fryman, RIA, offered this additional information in response to the March 2012, page 12 Machine Safety column, “Robotic safety, control panel safety,” by J.B. Titus, based on his Feb. 7 blog post, “Machine Safety: ISO 13849-1 Compliance Is Mandatory For Robot Applications, ANSI/RIA/ISO 10218-1&2: 2011.”

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