Deluge of new safety guideliens
will affect machinery designs
Designers of machinery for world markets will have to contend with a flood of new safety standards. Among the busiest technical committees of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is TC 199, formed in 1991. Its sphere, "safety of machinery," has expanded to embrace the hazards of chronic damage to health, including toxic materials and noise. TC 199's major work is ISO/TR 12100, a standard that sets general principles for machinery design. The committee followed that last year with more specific standards covering design of emergency stops and minimum gaps to avoid injuries to operators. TC 199 also has been circulating draft international standards covering design of interlocking de-vices for guards, reduction of risks from dangerous substances emitted by machinery, and hygiene requirements for the design of machinery. Other subjects under study include pressure-sensitive protective devices and safety-related parts of control systems.
Leaflet attacks false claims, such as 'ISO certification'
ISO managers hope to stamp out misleading claims by organizations that have achieved ISO 9000 or ISO 14000 certification. Especially annoying, they say, are expressions such as "ISO certification" that appear in some advertisements. Although ISO developed and published the standards for managing quality and environmental systems, it does not certify firms that adopt them. Rather, certifications come from independent auditors. ISO also wants to put an end to company statements that imply that ISO 9000 signifies product quality or that ISO 14000 means that a product is "green." The guidelines concern management systems, not products directly. The international standards-making group also warns organizations against using its trademarked logo without permission. ISO describes many such misuses in its leaflet Publicizing your ISO 9000 or ISO 14000 Certification. The leaflet also gives examples of accurate ads. "As the variety of styles of these good examples illustrates, being accurate does not mean limiting the imagination," the publication notes. You can get a free copy of the leaflet in English or French from ISO Central Secretariat in Geneva or from national members of ISO worldwide.
Software devised to simplify writing of global standards
Not surprisingly, there are standards for writing standards. But not everybody in the business follows them. Now ISO Central Secretariat is offering software to help make standards writing simpler and faster. One of its electronic tools is a template. It guides the user through a series of panels and document "skeletons" that incorporate predefined stylistic and structural rules. One limitation: You can use the template only with Microsoft Word 6 or Word 7. For other popular word processors, ISO provides a model document in the form of a simple style sheet. You can get both, along with manuals, by mail from ISO headquarters, or you can download them from ftp://ftp.iso.ch/pub/out/template/isostd30/.
Rules formed to protect devices from effects of nuclear bursts
The International Electrotechnical Commission is drafting standardized methods for protecting devices against the effects of high-altitude nuclear bursts. These effects could disrupt many electronic systems, including communications, electric power, and information technology. The Commission already has developed a new international standard for testing protective devices for high-altitude nuclear electromagnetic pulse (HEMP). The standard primarily covers tests for voltage breakdown and voltage-limiting characteristics. It also details methods to measure the residual voltage under HEMP conditions for very fast changes of voltage and current.
Uncle Sam postpones enforcement of tests for faulty fasteners
The United States will not begin invoking standards on fasteners used in "critical" configurations until May 27, 1998. Originally, testing mandates were to begin May 27 of this year. However, the director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) determined that not enough laboratories had received accreditation in time to conduct the required testing. The director estimates that 425 laboratories will be ready by the new date. NIST wants all accreditation bodies and laboratories that want to participate in testing to apply by August 1, 1997. The testing is part of the United States Fastener Quality Act, which Congress forged to counter an influx of bogus fasteners, especially from abroad. The Act pertains to fasteners used in vital applications, particularly in automobile, aerospace, construction, chemical, and machine-tool industries. An example of a critical configuration is the attachment of engines to fuselages. The law requires that critical fasteners conform to the exact specifications represented by the manufacturer. Inspections, testing, and certification must conform to current standards for fasteners.