International standardization

Standards are agreements between various actors, such as manufacturers, operating companies, inspection bodies, authorities, etc. – they are not developed and adopted by governments or other state agencies. They therefore have no immediate legal implications, but describe the state of the art at the time of their completion.
Standards can be applicable internationally (ISO, IEC), regionally (e.g. European) or nationally (e.g. DIN, SN, NF, BS, etc.). For historical reasons, there are purely national, purely European and international standards. It is often the case that international standards are adopted regionally as EN ISO xxxxx or EN IEC 6xxxx, and nationally e.g. in Germany as DIN EN ISO xxxxx and DIN IEC 6xxxx. 
Standards can be developed as an international standard from the outset or originate from regional standards (usually under a new number with partially new content).

In the machine safety area, the following bodies are relevant as internationally active standardization organizations:

ISO (International Standardization Organization) – publishes standards for primarily non-electrical technologies
IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) – publishes standards for electrical engineering and electronics, telecommunications, energy production and distribution as well as other electrotechnology-based technologies.


The equivalent organizations on a European level are:

CEN (Comité Européen de Normalisation) – develops and publishes its own European standards (EN) and adopts ISO standards as European standards
CENELEC (Comité Européen de Normalisation Electrotechnique) – develops and publishes its own European standards (EN) and adopts IEC standards as European standards


Apart from the standards, there are additional information documents issued by ISO and IEC:

  • TS – Technical Specification. Often as a kind of pre-standard (e.g. IEC/TS 62046)
  • TR – Technical Report. Often contains supplementary information that relates to a standard and represents the state of the art (e.g. ISO/TR 24119)

In addition to the adopted standards that have the status "International Standard", there are also preliminary stages in the standards development process, e.g.

  • CD (Committee Draft) – working version for comments by national standardization committees
  • DIS (Draft International Standard) – intermediate version for public comments
  • FDIS (Final Draft International Standard) – final version shortly before adoption

Even if standards with this status are not yet normative, they indicate the state of the art and, considering the many years it takes for a standard to be developed, are of interest as an intermediate stage for future users and other standards maintenance groups.

Standards classification system

ISO and IEC as well as CEN and CENELEC use the following classification system for machine safety standards:

Type A standards
Basic safety standards for a specific field, e.g. ISO 12100 for machine safety, IEC 61508 for programmable safety controls

Type B standards 
Safety group standards for specific safety aspects (B1) and specific safety devices (B2) that refer to type A standards

Type C standards
Machine-specific safety standards that refer to type B and type A standards

As a general rule, if deviating requirements exist in differently classified standards, type C standards have priority over type B standards and these in turn have priority over type A standards.


Below is an overview showing a selection of key international standards (without specification of year):


International standard



ISO 12100

Safety of machinery - General principles for design - Risk assessment and risk reduction


IEC 61508-1 ... 7

Functional safety of electrical/electronic/programmable electronic safety-related systems


ISO 13849-1

Safety of machinery - Safety-related parts of control systems - Part 1: General principles for design


ISO 13849-2

Safety of machinery - Safety-related parts of control systems– Part 2: Validation


ISO 13850

Safety of machinery - Emergency stop function - Principles for design


ISO 13851

Safety of machinery - Two-hand control devices - Principles for design and selection


ISO 13854

Safety of machinery - Minimum gaps to avoid crushing of parts of the human body


ISO 13855

Safety of machinery - The positioning of protective equipment in respect to approach speeds of parts of the human body


ISO 13856-1 ... 3

Safety of machinery - Pressure-sensitive protective devices


ISO 13857

Safety of machinery - Safety distances to prevent dangerous areas being reached by the upper and lower limbs


ISO 14118

Safety of machinery - Prevention of unexpected start-up


ISO 14119

Safety of machinery - Interlocking devices associated with guards - Principles for design and selection


ISO 14120

Safety of machinery - Guards - General requirements for the design and construction of fixed and movable guards


ISO 14122-1 ... 4

Safety of machinery - Permanent means of access to machinery


IEC 60204-1

Safety of machinery - Electrical equipment of machines - Part 1: General requirements


IEC 60947-5-1 ... 9

Low-voltage switchgear and controlgear


IEC 61496-1 ... 4

Safety of machinery - Electro-sensitive protective equipment


IEC 61800-5-2

Adjustable speed electrical power drive systems - Part 5-2: Safety requirements - Functional


IEC 61800-5-3

Adjustable speed electrical power drive systems - Part 5-3: Safety requirements - Functional, electrical and environmental requirements for encoders 


IEC 62046

Safety of machinery - Application of protective equipment to detect the presence of persons


IEC 62061

Safety of machinery - Functional safety of safety-related control systems


ISO 3691-4

Industrial trucks - Safety requirements and verification - Part 4: Driverless industrial trucks and their systems


ISO 10218-1, -2

Robots and robotic devices - Safety requirements for industrial robots - Part 1: Robots, 
Part 2: Robot systems and integration 


ISO 11111-1 ... 7

Textile machinery - Safety requirements


ISO 11553-1 ... 3

Safety of machinery - Laser processing machines


ISO 11161

Safety of machinery - Integrated manufacturing systems - Basic requirements


ISO 16092-1 ... 4

Machine tools safety — Presses
(mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic)


ISO 19085-1 ... 17

Woodworking machines - Safety


ISO 24134

Industrial trucks – Additional requirements for automated functions on trucks


Type C standards that specifically apply to Europe (EN standards) can be found here:

European standards