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Safeguarding and robots: CSA standards update

Safeguarding and robots: CSA standards update

A draft version of the next CSA Z432 - Safeguarding of Machinery standard is now available for public review. These reviews typically last 60 days. For CSA Z432, the deadline for comments is May 9.

The document has been restructured and updated to support continued alignment with applicable ISO and ANSI standards, explains Michael Wilson, WSPS Specialized Services Lead and a member of the Z432 standard's technical committee. "The changes will help end users put this standard to good use."

An updated version of CSA Z434 - Industrial robots and robot systems is expected by the end of 2022. "With a greater emphasis on collaborative robots, the standard will address a lot of gaps and questions," says Robert Vomiero, WSPS Specialized Services Lead. Robert sits on the CSA Technical Committee for Z434 and on the Canadian mirror committee for the ISO 10218 standard.

Michael and Robert provide more information on the standards below.

CSA Z432 - Safeguarding of Machinery

Last updated in 2016, this standard is nearing the end of a formal review cycle by the CSA technical committee.

One of the committee's goals is to ensure alignment with similar standards documents, says Michael. "We don't want Canada to be an island when it comes to certain elements." Consequently, the committee considered U.S. and international standards for safeguarding of machinery for substantive changes in other parts of the world. For example, international standards specify a perimeter fencing height of 55 inches and the current CSA standard specifies 72 inches. This discrepancy has been addressed in the current draft.

The new version will also be "much easier for readers to digest," says Michael. "Information has been updated and, in my opinion, reorganized to flow more smoothly, especially the section on risk reduction. It moves nicely from details on risk assessment to how can I reduce the risk associated with this equipment." Some terminology has also been amended for greater clarity. 

Michael points out that CSA Z432 is widely used as a best practices document for the safeguarding of machinery. "It is referenced as a current, applicable standard in the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development's Guideline for pre-start health and safety reviews," he notes.*

CSA Z434 - Industrial Robots and Robot Systems

The seed documents for CSA Z434 - ISO 10218, Parts 1 and 2 - are in the process of being reviewed and updated, says Robert Vomiero. Parts 1 and 2 were adopted, with Canadian deviations, as the basis for Z434 in 2014, and reaffirmed in 2019. "They not only reflect our own approach to industrial robots and robot systems, but also foster international harmonization."

Once ISO 10218 is published later this year, Robert expects CSA Group to adopt it promptly. The new standard will have a greater emphasis on collaborative robot applications, in which workers interact with robots within a collaborative area of the safeguarded space. Traditional industrial robot applications isolate the robot from human contact.  

"While collaborative applications are covered in the current version of the standard, the new standard will take it much further," says Robert. "For example, the revised standard will provide additional information and guidance on safely implementing collaborative applications." The standard will also be more substantial, with technical reports and specifications that had been developed to supplement and provide additional guidance to the current robot standard incorporated into the annexes of the new standard.

In addition to CSA Z434's expected adoption of ISO 10218 Parts 1 and 2, additional user requirements will also be incorporated into the standard.

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* Changes to Ontario's pre-start health and safety review requirements took effect January 1. See 4 changes to pre-start reviews you need to know about.


The information in this article is accurate as of its publication date.