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13/05/2016
Roller brake testing for heavy duty vehicles; the technical committee's final proposal

The proposed international standard for safety on roller brake testing for heavy duty vehicles, currently being studied by the CEN (European Committee for Standardization) as reported in this column at the beginning of 2015, has reached the final phase of its technical process.

Following two close fatal accidents in France, this issue has rapidly come under the magnifying lens of the authorities responsible for safety in the work place. It must be said though, that, even if the standard methods adopted in France up to that point were largely insufficient and based on imprudent testing procedures, these accidents have certainly brought the issue to the fore, although,  at the same time, causing unnecessary restrictions on testing procedures as shown by the laws issued thereafter. The technical committee of the CEN has finally updated the French proposal to suit the real operational conditions, thanks in part to the contribution of delegations from other countries such as CUNA (Technical Board for Vehicle Standardization), the Italian Ministry of Labour, and the equivalent bodies from France, Germany, Spain and Belgium, just to mention a few.

The proposed standard developed by the CEN / TC 301 WG 11 technical group, aims at transforming this draft into a standard European norm under the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC. The technical group, active since 2014, is made up of representatives from all EU member states; in Italy it is represented by CUNA (Technical Board for Vehicle Standardization), affiliated to UNI (Italian National Unification), which operated with the support of AICA  an association which gathers some of the most representative manufacturers of brake testers and garage equipment in general.

After over a year of work and many fruitful debates, the national technical delegations have reached an agreement on a safety standard that was considered adequate by all participants, including representatives of the institutions responsible for safety in the workplace. The final draft includes minimum requirements and tips on how to increase the levels of security for a heavy duty roller brake tester, whether installed on the floor or in a pit.

The CEN technical proposal must now be submitted to public inquiry, or the attention of all member states within the CEN technical group, which will be able to post comments and proposals for possible amendments to the text, besides giving a positive or negative opinion about it. Once the public inquiry is complete, possibly late summer, all the comments, suggestions and opinions will be evaluated by CEN experts and eventually accepted and included in the text. If the quorum of positive opinions is reached, the draft will be permanently accepted and taken to the next level,  the drafting of an official technical standard to be implemented by all the EU member states.

It would be appropriate to note that the work performed by the technical committee has been successful, in spite of different and sometimes conflicting opinions, thanks to the positive contribution of all the delegates. The various positions were expressed and specialists were consulted. It may seem a small thing, something that concerns only the experts, but the method used was the right one: comparison and synthesis. We would love to see this method reproduced in many other areas too.

 

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