Which are the differences and similarities between OSHA and EU standard? An OSHA standard defining the requirements for machine safeguarding is law in the United States of America. A european directive such as the machinery directive is law in each of the 27 member states. An EU harmonised standard is not law but enables machine builders and users gain a presumption of conformance with the law. A standard produced by ANSI through Standard Development Organisations such as PMMI may not enable employers and machine users show compliance with an OSHA regulation. Confusing?
Product Liability Laws
Both the EU and the USA have a product liability law which allows individuals to recover damages for injuries sustained due to a defective product. In the case a worker injured by machinery, the product liability law may apply for the machinery owner. However, the incidence of product liability law cases with regard to machinery accidents is much higher in the USA than in the EU.
In the EU, if a statutory body is involved, it is more likely that the machinery directive will be applied to ascertain whether the machinery was/is in conformance with EU regulations. Was the machine CE marked by the manufacturer? Did the end user import the machine from outside the EU? Has the end user modified it or created an assembly therefore requiring it to be re certified? Is the employer complying with Use of work equipment regulations?
End-users of machinery must not only meet the obligation to provide a safe place of work. They also need to ensure compliance with local regulations. The challenge lies in ensuring your workplace is a safe place for your employees and that safety is not compromised because of lack of awareness of all applicable legislation, be it local or international. Ultimately, as the industry progresses safety becomes more and more important to the effective running of a plant and to our ethical responsibility as employers.
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