Prevention section

International Section of the ISSA on Machine and System Safety

The ISSA Section for the Prevention of Occupational Risks in Machine and System Safety is committed to improving safety and health at work in the field of machine and system safety worldwide.


Each individual element of the system Man - Machine - Environment may be the cause of system weaknesses and thus lead to risks.

The tasks of the International Section of the ISSA on Machine and System Safety are to:

  • describe approaches to achieving system safety and provide pragmatic aid to practitioners in evaluating their task;
  • organize practice-oriented conferences and seminars;
  • produce and publish complex technical solutions for practical applications taking into account scientific principles and research results;
  • show how risk assessment can be applied to classical and new risks in conjunction with new and established experiences and findings in the fields of safety technology, ergonomics, occupational psychology and occupational medicine;
  • initiate cross-sectoral prevention measures in co-operation with other Sections.


The Section on Machine and System Safety is composed of members. Its two executive bodies are: the General Assembly and the Board. The Board is elected by the General Assembly.

Members of the Board


Jürgen Schulin
Deputy CEO, Institution for statutory accident insurance and prevention in the foodstuffs industry and the catering trade (BGN), Mannheim, Germany.


Philippe Conus
Caisse nationale suisse d’assurance en cas d’accidents (Suva), Lausanne, Switzerland

Carlo de Petris
Responsabile del Dipartimento Innovazioni Tecnologiche e Sicurezza degli Impianti, Prodotti ed Insediamenti, Istituto nazionale per l'assicurazione contro gli infortuni sul lavoro (INAIL), Rome, Italy

Georg Effenberger
Leiter der Abteilung für Unfallverhütung und Berufskrankheitenbekämpfung
Allgemeine Unfallversicherungsanstalt (AUVA), Vienna, Austria


Secretary General

Dr. Hans-Jürgen Bischoff
Former Director Branch Office Mannheim, Institution for statutory accident insurance and prevention in the foodstuffs industry and the catering trade (BGN), Mannheim, Germany

Comprehensive Approach: Promoting and Improving Safety of Machines

Studies from different European countries and branches have shown that defeating protective devices of machines is rather "popular": at least 30% of machines in use are concerned. That is the reason that the ISSA-Section Machine and System Safety decided to start its "comprehensive approach". We want to collect examples and show that risk assessment for manufacturers and users is not only a legal obligation in the EU but also "a tool" to make machines safer and in consequence more reliable and productive. The first contact with risk assessment for the "life circle" of a machine must come before the design phase. Therefore we tackle the challenge in the following four connected modules.

Risk Assessment – an important tool or necessary steps to design, produce and use machinery?

  • Teach and learn safety
    Our goal: include information on risks assessment in curricula for future engineers
    First steps: concept (developed) + discussion with professors – 1st workshop in Slovakia and Czech Republic November 2013 – further workshops planned, using experience + expectations from industry
  • Include safety
    Our goal: show that risk assessment improves competitiveness of manufacturers by presenting good practice examples
    First step: use contacts to manufacturers + prevention services to collect examples
  • Consider safety
    Our goal: make clear the importance of risk assessment for machines to traders and buyers
    First step: collect existing tools/checklists to buy adequate machinery and discuss ways to reach target group
  • Apply safety
    Our goal: show that safe machines are important for operator's health but also contribute to better results concerning productivity and quality
    First step: collect examples from users and discuss their approaches

Brochure "Promoting and Improving Safety of Machines – A Comprehensive Approach"

Working Groups

Experts from nine countries - from insurance carriers, research institutes, companies, associations and individuals - work together in the following four working groups:

(1) Risk Management

The working group 'Risk Management' aims at showing the importance of risk governance and risk management for successful, safe and healthy working, in accordance with international legal regulations, and to make transparent its complexity. Special attention is given to new trends and new risks in the modern society and world of work. It is directed at insurers and prevention services of occupational risks as well as to risk managers and other responsible persons in the enterprise for questions of principle and to experts for special issues.

The book "Risks in the modern societies", focussing on risk profiles of modern work life, the governance and the management of traditional and modern risks has been published in March 2008

Current activities

  • International seminars to present and discuss essential points
  • Discussions on complexity of risk, focusing on the changing character of work in globalized economy
  • Provide guidelines for Risk Management and Risk Governance
  • Develop an expert network
  • The group participated in the 4th World Congress on Risk in Singapore, July 2015, organized by the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA), title: risk analysis for sustainable innovation.


Prof. Siegfried Radandt
Technical Advisor of the Section Machine and System Safety, Brühl, Germany

(2) Control Devices

The working group 'Control Devices' aims to support and communicate respective aspects concerning safety on machines and plants in a comprehensible and user-appropriate manner and to promote qualified discussion between interested persons. It is addressed to manufacturers, designers and enterprises as well as to consultants for relevant questions concerning safety of machines and plants.

Current activities

  • Discussion of current questions concerning control engineering (for example EN 13849-1)
  • Seminars on „Functional Safety and Validation"
  • Elaboration of safety flyers: already published: servo presses, two-hand control devices and light curtains/light grids =>
  • Current project "maintenance and functional safety"


Klaus-Dieter Becker, Berufsgenossenschaft Energie Textil Elektro Medienerzeugnisse, Wiesbaden, Germany

(3) Explosion Protection – in cooperation with the Chemistry Section

There are two sub-groups. The groups are focusing on how to eliminate/reduce explosions risks when processing gas, dust, etc. Addressed to users and to consultants for safety and health in the enterprises.

  1. Group "chemistry": Dealing with: ignition sources; elaboration of "fact sheets" regarding green energy (for example wood pellets, fermentation gas arrangement, hydrogen), revision of the EU-27 brochure on explosion protection
  2. Group "machine and system safety": Dealing with "modular design of a mill facility" in different process steps. Currently in progress: reception of the product, storage/ensilage as well as grinding/crushing. Planned: cleaning of the product, drying, packaging.

See publications


Current activities

The Working Group "Explosion Protection" has published, for example, a practical guide to document working areas with explosive atmospheres: "Practical assistance for the preparation of an explosion protection document" as users are obliged to such an document according to the Directive 1999/92/EC.

Collection of examples from different branches (bakeries, breweries, chemical industry) for such a document, in order to integrate it into an informatiom system for users, in particular small-sized enterprises. Already published: Part 1: Mills, crushers, mixers, separators, screeners, Part 2: Continuous conveyors, transition points and receiving containers =>

Coordinator of the group „machine and system safety”

Prof. Siegfried Radandt
Technical Advisor of the Section Machine and System Safety, Brühl, Germany

(4) Human factor, ergonomics and safe machines

Targets of project:

  • Describe the requirements of the Machinery Directive on ergonomics (= minimum goal setting for safety) while using the relevant EN-Standards + ISO-Standards (similar, or less restrictive, for example: anthropometric measures) + add information of practical relevance and provide useful links for users.
  • Develop practical working aid for designers and producing engineers how to integrate safety into the design and production of machinery.
  • Design the necessary steps according to complexity, provide applicable practical aids (indication of relevant Standards = theoretical basis)
  • Deal specifically with software ergonomics
  • Reflect new requirements from new technologies => Cyber Physical Systems, for ex. industry 4.0 (Germany)


Dr. Hans-Jürgen Bischoff, Institution for statutory accident insurance and prevention in the foodstuffs industry and the catering trade (BGN), Mannheim, Germany

With the website, the Section on Machine and System Safety intends to contribute to an open discussion within companies of the issue of defeating protective equipment.

Against the background of global markets, the problem of defeated protective equipment is not limited to individual countries. An international exchange of information relating to this issue is desirable.

With the information provided on the website, the Section on Machine and System Safety of the International Social Security Association intends to contribute to an open discussion within companies of the issue of defeating protective equipment. These discussions are to be the basis for new solutions to avoid incentives for defeat in the future, and thus to render acts of defeating protective equipment unnecessary.


Leonhard Blümcke, Institution for statutory accident insurance and prevention in the foodstuffs industry and the catering trade (BGN), Mannheim, Germany

We are the coordinating Section for developing a working program for the target group of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for the Special Commission on Prevention.

This website was maintained by non-commercial organizations from different countries, promoting occupational safety and health in small and medium-sized enterprises. It is based on the "10 keys to success" for a small enterprise in the area of prevention. The site covers contents and tools, which may be used in the practice of SMEs. Target groups are employees and employers in SMEs as well as stakeholders, such as teachers. The organizations responsible for this site are interested in spreading all information given on the site. Therefore, the contents may be used for non-commercial purposes. Any use of the contents of this site for commercial purposes is subject to explicit authorization of the authors and other relevant copyright holders.

In the meantime we have put over 200 examples from 14 countries from Europe, The Americas and Asia online.

The Website is created in cooperation with the Special Commission on Prevention of the ISSA.