Guardman Blog

Taking a closer look at the revised training requirements in NFPA 70E

One area of significant change in the 2012 version of NFPA-70E impacts employers, employees and contract employees.  There were additional details added regarding training, retraining and the documentation of this training, for those working with or around electrical sources of energy. Changes were incorporated to provide additional details surrounding the responsibilities that the employer has for the training of those working with or around electrical sources of energy.

In the previous versions of the standard, many training requirements were somewhat open ended from the perspective of retraining intervals, the documentation of the training and the requirements for the training of unqualified persons. The latest version of NFPA-70E now provides clear and definitive directions surrounding this subject.

Section 110.2 (E) now details the employers responsibilities for the documentation of electrical safety training for qualified (110.2(D(1)), and for unqualified persons relative to electrical safety-related practices necessary for their safety (110.2(D)(2)). This training documentation must now include a description of the content of the training as well as the name of each specific employees and the date of their training.

Additionally, section 110.1(C) was added which now requires that a safety meeting/training be held for all contract employers and that this meeting is documented. The intent here is to insure that when contractors and contract personnel enter a site, that they are fully briefed on the electrical safety program for that site location and there is documented evidence that this training or briefing took place.

Also, in early version of the standard, little or no reference was given to retraining requirements. In the 2009 edition, a retraining section was added but the interval for retaining was not clearly defined and was left to interpretation by the employer or site conditions.  In addition to the retraining requirements added in the 2009 version, retraining must occur within at an interval not to exceed a 36 month time period, 110.2(D)(3). I suspect that in future version of the standard this time interval may actually be reduced. Who remembers the training details from a class from 36 months ago?

More details have also been added in section 110.2(C) regarding those trained for emergency response. These procedures now specifically defined the employee’s responsibility for being trained in the actions regarding the release of those who are exposed to shock hazards and the responsibility for taking action in the case of emergency situations including the inclusion for training requirements for the use of automatic external defibrillators (AED).  Next time we’ll explore the extensive changes to the requirements surrounding your site’s Electrical Safety Program!

Safety Automation Builder and Safety Functions

New Tools Simplify Safety Design

As the business case for incorporating automation safety into manufacturing equipment becomes more embraced, equipment manufacturers are looking to keep pace with the growing sophistication of machinery and automation technologies. Safety systems – when designed and engineered to match contemporary machinery performance – involve highly complex functions. As a result, the design process itself can be a barrier to efficiency, continuous improvement and confidence in safety solutions.

Designing a machinery safety system can be an arduous process – printing machinery-layout drawings, drawing hard and movable guarding, and identifying potentially hazardous access points. Not to mention identifying required safety functions, selecting safety input, output and logic devices, and calculating the achieved performance level (PL). And, at the end, you’ll likely find yourself with a lengthy handwritten list of required materials and safety calculations that need to be transferred into documents, drawings and reports.

Despite the depth of innovative automation utilized in the manufacturing industry, the safety design process has traditionally been a relatively manual undertaking.

We’re automating and shortening this process with the release of two new (and free) tools – the Safety Automation Builder (SAB) configuration software and Safety Functions pre-engineered design documents.

You can download the SAB tool directly from our website. It will guide you through the design process by providing options for layout, safety PL analysis (based on ISO 13849-1 using IFA’s SISTEMA tool), and product selection using Allen-Bradley safety automation products.

It can also automate the selection process to speed system design and minimize human error. When you use the tool, it’ll ask you to import an image of machinery and answer questions using a drop-down menu and help screens to identify and select the necessary safeguards. It will then compile all product selections, generate a bill of materials, and compile necessary data to populate SISTEMA. SISTEMA then indicates the attained PL of the safety system using ISO 13849-1 through an automatic calculation. As part of the process, you’ll receive a SISTEMA project file.

We worked with Dan Pienta, the president of Automatic Handling International, on a beta-test version of the SAB tool. He found the bill of materials functionality particularly useful, because it helped him automatically navigate through the wide variety of device types available. “Anything we can do to open up the (machine engineering) funnel (to speed engineering time) is good,” he said.

In addition to the SAB tool, we’ve also released new Safety Functions, which are pre-engineered design documents containing detailed information for each safeguarding method, including specific functionality, PL and required input, logic and output components. These documents include parts lists, electrical drawings, a SISTEMA project file, and verification and validation plans. After going through the SAB process, you’ll be able to select the appropriate Safety Function needed for a particular machine and combine it with the bill of materials to design a complete safety system.

The first six Safety Functions are now available.

For a better idea of what the SAB tool looks like, check out the following screenshots.

Safety Automation Builder

Safety Automation Builder

I’ve also created a short video overview.

If you’d like to keep up-to-date on Rockwell Automation Safety news and events, you can join our Safety Community:

What Can You Expect at Safety Automation Forum?

On November 7 & 8, in Philadelphia, Rockwell Automation and our partners will welcome over 14,000 people to Automation Fair, showcasing smart, safe, sustainable automation.

Adding to the amazing educational opportunities available at Automation Fair, several hundred engineers and safety professionals will also attend Safety Automation Forum on Tuesday, November 6.

This year’s Safety Automation Forum focuses on driving safety performance improvement – reducing injuries, improving productivity, and making your company more competitive and profitable in the process.

Presentations will include financial, standards, and technical discussions, and best practices from the perspective of manufacturer, machine builder, and systems integrator.

Cal Beyer of global insurance company Zurich will provide the opening address, discussing how safety can reduce financial risk and injuries, and improve your company’s bottom line by looking at leading indicators instead of “driving while looking in the rear view mirror.”

Leading indicators include the percentage of your machinery meeting current safety standards. Standards experts Derek Jones (Rockwell Automation), Mike Miller (ANSI), and Dietmar Reinert (IFA) will discuss the future of global safety standards, including IEC 62061 and ISO 13849, and how IFA and ANSI collaborate.

Standards and compliance have legal implications. Rockwell Automation VP, Law Gary Ballesteros, and Richard Matthews of Eversheds, LLP will address legal considerations for safety in the United States and Europe.

To help you understand available technologies to address safety issues, technical breakouts will include Arc Flash mitigation and Safety System Logic Selection. Also included is a breakout on How to Meet Machinery Directive Requirements for CE Certification.

Afternoon general sessions include Kimberly-Clark discussing what they, as a manufacturer, expect from their machinery suppliers. Automatic Handling will provide a machinery builders perspective on safety system redesign, and systems integrator Grantek Systems will discuss safety system implementation. Finally, all three presenters will sit on a panel fielding your questions from their unique perspective.

There will also be a networking event following, where you can visit with the day’s speakers.

If you’d like to be with us at this great event, visit If you’d like to keep up to date on Rockwell Automation Safety news and events, you can become part of our Safety Community on Facebook (, Twitter (, or join the Safety Automation Forum group on LinkedIn (

What direction are standards going? 13849/62061

What do you think about machinery safety standards? Are they a help or a hindrance?

There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground in answers to this question. You either love them or hate them. If you have no real opinion it is probably because you never have to use them. But if you are reading this I am going to assume you are among the chosen ones who have to use them and that you need to know what standards are out there and which changes are going to appear over the horizon. That can be easier said than done, especially if you are taking a global perspective. Trying to match different standards to different geographies can be a frustrating and time consuming task. The increasing worldwide adoption of ISO and IEC standards certainly helps. For me they are the first place to look to when I am trying to ascertain a globally acceptable solution for safety related aspects of machinery.

Anyone who keeps abreast of what is happening in ISO and IEC machinery safety standards will probably know the term “functional safety”. This is safety that depends on the way a machine functions. The biggest influence on the way a machine functions is its control system so it is no surprise that some of the most significant changes occurring in machinery safety standards are concerned with the safety related aspects of their control.

We have moved from the relatively simple approach of the Categories of EN 954 to a more complex approach encompassing PL (Performance Level) of EN ISO 13849 and SIL (Safety Integrity Level) of IEC 62061. This has not exactly been greeted with universal acclaim but most people will accept that some sort of change was necessary. Actually that change is not yet complete; work has now been started on the merging of EN ISO 13849 and IEC 62061. But before we all throw our hands up in despair let me say that it is my contention that we a have reached the summit in terms of difficulty and disruption. There should be no new methodologies or formulae. What we have we should hold. Time and money have been spent getting us to where we are now and this is definitely not the time for starting over. But it is the time to grasp opportunity for some improvement.

Preliminary work has started in a joint ISO IEC working group. The target date for completion is set at 2016 but I would consider that optimistic. Maybe 2018 would be more realistic?

So what brought us to this point? In order to see where we should go in the future we must first understand the lessons of the past.

If we go back ten to twenty years many of us were working with the “Categories” from the now defunct EN 954: Safety related parts of control systems. The EN 954 approach required the use of basic safety principles and either the use of simple, strong and well tried components or fault tolerance and fault detection where necessary to prevent failure of the safety function.

The fact that the system seemed to achieve “Category 3” (for example) in pure structural terms posed a sometimes irresistible temptation to invoke a much simplified tick box approach.

An understanding of the full meaning of the standard was achieved over time and a reasonable consensus on how to interpret some of the “grey” areas was achieved. This was due in part to learning from experience of its use in practice but also due to the availability of instructive information such as the excellent guide produced by the IFA (formerly the BGIA) in Germany.

As we approached the end of the decade it became clear that the use of complex electronic and programmable technology for safety would become inevitable. It was evident that the provisions of this standard with its relatively simple approach could not be counted on to cope with the next generation of machinery safety technology.

This situation lead to the publication in 2005 of IEC 62061: Safety related electrical. electronic and programmable electronic control systems followed shortly by the fully revised EN ISO 13849.  Both standards introduced a more complex approach that gives them both the possibility to deal with  increasing complexity of safety technology and function. In many cases the safety function is no longer just a simple case of switching off the power. The advent of safety capable logic, for example, has enabled intelligent safety functions that can react to different machine conditions and can actually assist productivity rather than obstruct it. But the greater the flexibility of function, the greater the need for provisions against mistakes and faults.

ISO 13849 and IEC 62061 both include the necessary provisions but at the cost of an increase in complexity including the requirement to do some calculation of the reliability. This in turn means that reliability data has to be sought for the parts of the system. The fact that this data is not always forthcoming creates some understandable frustrations. The upside is that we now have standards that can deal with complexity and that also cover some of the gaps in the old standard that could be an issue even for low complexity systems.

So in summary we have moved from a standard that was perceived as simple to use but was restricted in terms of the technology it enabled, to standards that are perceived as difficult to use but have enabled the confident use of new technology.

The merging of IEC 62061 and ISO 13849 will remove the complication of having two standards.  As part of the merging process we need to make sure that we do not introduce any different or additional requirements. The merging process should be regarded as an opportunity for clarification and simplification. It is also the chance for the resolution of some known issues such as the provision of reliability data.

I contend that we have made an overall gain but without doubt there have been trade-offs along the way.  It is now time for some of the trade-offs to be re-examined with a view to getting the best of both worlds.