Background of Safety Standards

Since the 1990s, the movement to unify the standards established by each country into the ISO/IEC international standards has become particularly strong. What is the background of this movement?

● Movement to unify European safety standards

After World War II, Europe was steadily preparing to create a huge common market through economic integration. In order to create a common market, the distribution of goods had to be ensured, but at that time, the regulations on safety of machinery differed greatly between member countries and also from field to field, which ended up blocking distribution.

Thus, there was a movement to unify safety standards as global standards.
The occurrence of serious plant accidents around the world in the 1970s also accelerated the trend toward unification of safety standards.
In the wake of the Seveso disaster of 1976, the European Commission (EC) at that time issued the so-called Seveso Directive and formulated unified European safety standards.

Movements like the above led to the International Basic Safety Standards (ISO/IEC GUIDE 1990:51) being formulated. They have evolved into global international standards, and even now, they continually improve upon current safety standards.

Safety Standard Structure

The ISO/IEC standards do not set individual safety standards for each machine, but they divide the standards into layers and utilize them in combination in order to comprehensively cover all machinery. This framework can flexibly respond to progress in new safety and mechanical technologies.