ANSI B11.0-2020: Safety of Machinery

Man inspecting bright machinery and adhering to ANSI B11.0-2020 for safety.

In the hands of Homo erectus—or its contemporary primitive cousin, H. habilis (whose name literally means “handy man”)—the hand axe, dating back 1.8 million years, was the original formal tool. As this Acheulian tool moved inclined planes into a load to split or separate, it is a wedge—one of the “six simple machines”—and thereby also bears the honor of being the first machine.

As industries shifted over 2 million years, technology and machines progressed. Unfortunately, so did the risks. By 1922, the B11 standards for machine safety were first approved—beginning with safety requirements for power presses. Today, this series covers a range of machinery, with ANSI B11.0-2020: Safety Of Machinery—a Type-A standard according to the ISO Type A-B-C Structure for Machinery Standards—detailing general guidance.

ANSI B11 Standards

To limit the inherent risks associated with machinery, safeguards and other measures are integral. The ANSI B11 series of standards strive to eliminate injuries to personnel from machinery or machinery systems. They accomplish this by establishing requirements for the design, construction, reconstruction, modification, installation, setup, operation and maintenance of machinery or machine systems.

ANSI B11.0: Safety of Machinery

ANSI B11.0-2020 gives foundational aspects to apply broadly across various types of machinery, so it is intended for use in tandem with other standards in the same series

ANSI B11.0-2020 specifies basic terminology, principles, and a methodology for achieving acceptable risk in machinery design and use. To help designers, integrators, and users of machinery achieve this objective, it specifies principles of risk assessment and risk reduction—these principles are supported by knowledge and experience in the design, use, incidents, accidents, and risks associated with machinery.

This standard outlines procedures for identifying hazards and estimating and evaluating risks during relevant phases of the machine lifecycle. It also helps eliminate hazards and offers provisions for sufficient risk reduction, giving guidance for documentation and verification to support these processes.

ANSI B11.0-2020 applies to new, existing, modified, or rebuilt power driven machines (not portable by hand while working) used to process materials by various processes. These include cutting, forming, pressure, electrical, lamination, or thermal or optical techniques, as well as a combination of these processes. Please note that this scope also includes associated equipment used to transfer material or tooling, including fixtures, to assemble/disassemble, and to inspect or test.

An orange ANSI B11.0-2020 robot arm not currently in operation.

Changes to ANSI B11.0-2019

Machinery safety standards like ANSI B11.0-2020 align the industry not only in practices but in thought. However, maintaining these documents with consistent language has often proved to be a significant challenge. Progress made in this area is reflected in many of the changes to the current standard.

Some significant changes made to ANSI B11.0-2020 from the previous, 2015 edition of the same standard include:

  • Guidance using this standard and type-C standards was updated.
  • With the understanding that certain terms are used imprecisely even by technical experts, this revision bring better precision to technical terms. For example, “Safeguarding” was changed to “Risk reduction measures / Engineering controls,” “Awareness devices” was changed to “Awareness means,” and the term “Complementary equipment” is no longer used.
  • Responsibilities for component suppliers, machine suppliers, and machine users were clarified.
  • The standard now places greater emphasis on the feasibility of risk reduction measures.
  • Guidance on addressing existing (legacy) equipment was improved.
  • Guidance on various topics was expanded, including prevention through design (PtD), achieving acceptable risk, and validating and verifying risk reduction measures.
  • Section 7.3.3 now covers new content on layout analysis for control zones, and Annex J provides further information for this area.
  • Section 7.3.4 now covers new content on span of control.
  • New section 7.3.8 covers for manual and special modes, and Annex K, “Special Mode,” expands upon this area further.
  • New section 7.17 was added for requirements for machinery systems.
  • Injury and severity correlations were updated in Annex E, “Additional Information on Assessing Risk (Risk Estimation).”
  • New Annex L explains how to use alternative methods for controlling hazardous energy.
  • The outline for instruction handbook/manual found in Annex M was updated.

Relationship Between ANSI B11.0 and ISO 12100

Users of international standards might see similarities between ANSI B11.0-2020 and ISO 12100:2010 – Safety Of Machinery – General Principles For Design – Risk Assessment And Risk Reduction. In fact, ISO 12100:2010 was one of the principle resource documents used in developing ANSI B11.0-2020. However, this American National Standard differs specifically includes requirements for both suppliers and end users of machinery, while the international standard only applies to the suppliers of the machinery. Furthermore, as stated in the Foreword of ANSI B11.0-2020:

“The technical requirements of ISO 12100 have not been updated since the early 1990s.”

To explain the relationship between the two standards, also as stated in the Foreword of ANSI B11.0-2020:

“Complying with the requirements of ISO 12100 will not assure compliance with the requirements of ANSI B11.0. Conversely, compliance with ANSI B11.0 will automatically result in compliance with the requirements of ISO 12100.”

ANSI B11.0-2020: Safety Of Machinery is available on the ANSI Webstore. Since this standard is meant to be used alongside other documents in this series, many would benefit from acquiring standards packages, which bundle together multiple standards, often at a discounted rate.

Standards packages catered specifically for users of ANSI B11 standards include:

ANSI B11 Machine Tools Safety Package

ANSI B11.20 / ANSI B11.19 / ANSI B11.0 – Integrated Manufacturing Safety Systems Package

Risk Assessment and Safeguarding of Machinery Package

Safeguarding Mechanical Power Presses Package

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