“Designing for Compliance” is critical to getting your product certified on the first try. Designing for Compliance requires owning, knowing, and applying the standard(s) while designing your product. However, in order to successfully read and understand the standard, you have to know the intent of the requirements. Our “Designing for Compliance” series of whitepapers will educate you on “The 6 Hazards of Product Safety”. The intent of the requirements in all UL/CSA/EN/IEC safety standards is to protect the user from the “6 Hazards of Product Safety”. This whitepaper covers Hazard #4 – Risk of Injury.

Risk of Injury Definition: The 4th hazard is perhaps the easiest to conceptually understand. A “Risk of Injury” exists when the user has access to a mechanical hazard = moving parts, pinch points, sharp edges, instability, etc. Mechanical hazards that are necessary for the proper operation of the product must be suitably guarded with additional warning markings and instructions. Otherwise, mechanical hazards must be protected to prevent user access.

Risk of Injury - Consumer Products: For consumer products, mechanical hazards are generally limited to easy to identify and resolve issues. Low risk injury hazards in products used in North America are addressed by UL & CSA standards. In the European Union, low risk injury hazards are addressed within the EN standards listed under the CE-Low Voltage Directive.

Risk of Injury – Large Scale Industrial Products: Large scale industrial products (i.e. factory equipment) are much more likely to contain parts involving a risk of serious injury = products that perform smashing, grabbing, bending, forming or other actions that could cause loss of limb or life to the user as well as others in the vicinity of the equipment. More serious hazardous moving parts in the U.S. are addressed by OSHA requirements. In the European Union, high risk injury hazards are addressed by the CE-Machinery Directive.

Risk of Injury – Summary: From an overall hazard consideration, the question becomes, what level of risk is involved with the injury hazards for the product in question. For most consumer products, the mechanical hazards are low risk and covered by the UL/CSA/EN/IEC product safety standards. For large-scale industrial products with serious injury concerns, additional requirements include OSHA laws in the U.S. and the CE-Machinery Directive in the EU.

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