Standards are important as they help to control how products are designed, tested, installed and used. They also facilitate certification processes, allowing manufacturers to market their goods and services in various countries. Standards also help buyers to determine if products are suitable for application and purpose.
Safety Squared are experts and have sat on committees engaged in the writing of standards since 1989. We have drafted various clauses in standards and have chaired some of the committees at BSI, CEN and ISO standards organisations. This allows us to share our knowledge and experience with our fellow experts within the field and to discuss and agree upon what a standard should cover and what requirements it should contain. This process enables us to give our Clients authoritative insights into the background and meaning of various requirements in standards.
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PH/5 is the BSI Personal Fall Protection committee which is responsible for fall protection standards in the UK. We sit on PH/5 as independent experts in safety engineering, design and testing. In this capacity we have co-authored British Standards such as:
• BS 8513 (twin-legged energy-absorbing lanyards)
• BS 8437 (code of practice for fall protection)
• BS 7883 (code of practice for fall protection anchors)
• BS 8610 (test requirements for fall protection anchors)
CEN/TC 160 is the European Fall Protection Committee responsible for similar standards within Europe. Our activities in this committee have included:
• Acting as Chairman of CEN/TC 160 WG1, responsible for the writing of EN 795 (anchor devices), EN 365 (instructions for use) and EN 364 (test methods)
• Acting as Chairman of CEN/TC 160 PG2, responsible for advising CEN as to how standards should be revised to take into account findings from current research, in particular how different worker weights may affect fall-arrest force, deceleration and distance performance in fall-arrest systems
• Acting as UK Principal Expert in the drafting of the EN 340-350-360 series of European standards
ISO/TC/94 is the International Fall Protection Committee responsible for similar standards at an international level. We acted as the main author of the ISO 10333 parts 1-6 suite of International standards.
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One of Safety Squared’s main areas of involvement with standards is to ensure that results from research are used to amend standards, where that research has shown that a particular standard is deficient.
A second area of involvement is that of test methods, which are essential to the credibility of the standard and to the safety of the user. The following are some aspects of test methods that Safety Squared subscribes to:
• Products have to be well designed, as do test methods
• Nobody likes complicated test methods, but simple test methods, although relatively easy to set up, may not accurately represent conditions in practice and may omit factors which can compromise safety
• Products must be able to work properly in the conditions in which they will be used, and test methods must anticipate and cover the relevant factors, whether fidelity of loading and direction, workplace geometry, environmental, endurance or operational
• Test methods must be able to assess manufacturer’s claims
• Test methods must be able to give a high degree of confidence that an approved product will perform acceptably in the workplace
• Standards are highly essential in the market place, but may have limited usefulness in terms of what test methods cover and do not cover
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In a growing number of situations there are often no relevant standards available, particularly to cater for innovative or special products, or assemblies of products into innovative or special systems. These situations can include the desire to use a traditional product in a way that is outside the scope of a standard or for which the standard does not offer a test. In all of these situations it can be difficult to demonstrate the performance and capability of the product or system to prospective buyers, as well as gaining certification or accreditation to a recognised scheme.
This situation can be overcome by the creation of a test specification, which can be used to test and therefore verify product or system performance and capability, as well as manufacturer’s claims.
Test specifications are virtually identical to standards and because of our expertise in this area, many of our Clients contact us to write a test specifications on their behalf. Our test specifications satisfactorily demonstrate that the product or system has undergone a comprehensive testing regime, in the absence of a recognised or relevant standard.
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