Dangers generated by industrial machinery: the EN 12100:2010 standard


The main goal of every designer who designs a machine to be placed on the market must be to identify its generated dangers in order to protect the end users.

The EN 12100: 2010 standard identifies how to evaluate and reduce the risks generated by the machinery, the purpose of the standard is to provide engineers guidelines to safely design a machine to perform its intended function(s) during its lifecycle where risks have been adeguately reduced. It also provides basic terminologies, principles and appropriate methodologies for achieving safety standards during the whole designing process.


Moreover, the EN 12100:2010 is the main basis for a series of standards that have the following structure:

Type A (basic safety standard): giving basic concepts, principles for designing and general aspects that can be applied to machinery

Type B (generic safety standard): dealing with one safety aspect or one type of safeguard that can be used across a wide range of machinery

  • Type B1 standard on particular safety aspects (for example safety distances, surface temperature, noise)
  • Type B2 standard on safeguards (for example two-hand controls, interblocking devices, pressure-senstive devices, guards)

Type C (machine safety standard): dealing with detailed safety requirements for a particular machine or group of machines

Identify the risks linked to the machinery

These principles are based on knowledge and expericens of the design, use, incidents, accidents, and risks associated with machinery. Procedures are described for identyfing hazards, estimating and evaluating risks during relevant phases of a machine lifecycle, and for the elimination of hazards or the provision of succient risks reduction. Guidance are given through docs and verificaion of the risk assessment and risk reduction process.

Below an example of hazards generated by the machines, with related origin and consequences, in a non-exhaustive list and not in a priority order. It’s always necessary that the designer carefully assess the sources of danger deriving from the machine or plant subject of analysis:

Dangers generated by machinery, with related origins and consequences.
Types of hazardsOriginPotential consequences
MechanicalAcceleration, deceleration
Sharp parts
Falling objects
Kinetic energy
Rotating elements

Friction or abrasion
Slipping or falling

ElectricalElectromagnetic phenomena
EDS events
Live parts
Short circuit
Thermal radiations

Chemical effects
Radiation from heat sources

Injuries due to radiation from heat sources

NoiseWorn parts
Loss of gas at high speeds
Manufacturing processes
Moving parts

Loss of consciousness
Lack of balance
Permanent loss of hearing
VibrationsMobile equipment
Unbalanced rotating parts
Worn parts
Vibrating equipment
Lumbar disorders
Neurological disorders
Traumas of the vertebral column
Osteoarticular disorders

RadiationsSource of ionizing radiation
Low frequency electromagnetic radiation
Optical radiation
Permanent damage to eyes and skin
Migraine, insomnia
Ergonomic naturePosture
Repetitive activity
Musculoskeletal disorders

Associated with the environment in which the machine is usedDust and fog
Lack of oxygen

Slipping, falling

Besides the origin and potential consequences caused by certain hazards generated by the machines, the EN 12100:2010 standard also consider those that are identified as dangerous situations: circumstances where a person is exposed to at least one danger, which often results in executing a task on a machine.

Some examples:

  • working in close proximity of moving parts
  • parts ejection exposure
  • working under loads
  • working close to objects or materials at high temperatures
  • operator’s exposure to dangers generated by noise

To get a complete overview of the concepts that underlie the Machinery Directive 2006/42 / EC and the EN 12100:2010 standard, you can rely on our training courses on machine and plant’s safety, with fixed or customized sessions.