Emergency Stop – What’s so confusing about that?

Emergency Stop on machine console

Editor’s Note: Since we first pub­lished this art­icle on emer­gency stop in March of 2009, it has become our most pop­u­lar post of all time! We decided it was time for a little refresh. Enjoy, and please com­ment if you find the post help­ful, or if you have any ques­tions you’d like answered. DN-​July, 2017.

The Emergency Stop func­tion is one of those decept­ively simple con­cepts that have man­aged to get very com­plic­ated over time. Not every machine needs or can bene­fit from an emer­gency stop. In some cases, it may lead to an unreas­on­able expect­a­tion of safety from the user. Some product-​specific stand­ards man­date the require­ment for an emer­gency stop, such as CSA Z434-​14 [1], where robot con­trol­lers are required to provide emer­gency stop func­tion­al­ity, and work cells integ­rat­ing robots are also required to have emer­gency stop cap­ab­il­ity.

Defining Emergency Stop

Old, non-compliant, E-Stop Button
Photo 1 – This OLD but­ton is def­in­itely non-​compliant.

So what is the Emergency Stop func­tion, or E-​stop func­tion, and when do you need to have one? Let’s look at a few defin­i­tions taken from CSA Z432-​14 [2]:

Emergency situ­ation
an imme­di­ately haz­ard­ous situ­ation that needs to be ended or aver­ted quickly in order to pre­vent injury or dam­age.
Emergency stop
a func­tion that is inten­ded to avert harm or to reduce exist­ing haz­ards to per­sons, machinery, or work in pro­gress.
Emergency stop but­ton
a red mushroom-​headed but­ton that, when activ­ated, will imme­di­ately start the emer­gency stop sequence.

One more [2, 6.3.5]:

Complementary pro­tect­ive meas­ures
Protective meas­ures which are neither inher­ently safe design meas­ures, nor safe­guard­ing (imple­ment­a­tion of guards and/​or pro­tect­ive devices), nor inform­a­tion for use, could have to be imple­men­ted as required by the inten­ded use and the reas­on­ably fore­see­able mis­use of the machine.

Modern, non-compliant e-stop button.
Photo 2 – This more mod­ern but­ton is non-​compliant due to the RED back­ground and spring-​return but­ton.

An e-​stop is a func­tion that is inten­ded for use in Emergency con­di­tions to try to lim­it or avert harm to someone or some­thing. It isn’t a safe­guard but is con­sidered to be a Complementary Protective Measure. Looking at emer­gency stop func­tions from the per­spect­ive of the Hierarchy of Controls, emer­gency stop func­tions fall into the same level as Personal Protective Equipment like safety glasses, safety boots, and hear­ing pro­tec­tion. 

So far so good.

Is an Emergency Stop Function Required?

Depending on the reg­u­la­tions and the stand­ards you choose to read, machinery is may not be required to have an Emergency Stop. Quoting from [2,]:

Components and ele­ments to achieve the emer­gency stop func­tion

If, fol­low­ing a risk assess­ment, a machine needs to be fit­ted with com­pon­ents and ele­ments to achieve an emer­gency stop func­tion for enabling actu­al or impend­ing emer­gency situ­ations to be aver­ted, the fol­low­ing require­ments apply:

  • the actu­at­ors shall be clearly iden­ti­fi­able, clearly vis­ible and read­ily access­ible;
  • the haz­ard­ous pro­cess shall be stopped as quickly as pos­sible without cre­at­ing addi­tion­al haz­ards, but if this is not pos­sible or the risk can­not be reduced, it should be ques­tioned wheth­er imple­ment­a­tion of an emer­gency stop func­tion is the best solu­tion;
  • the emer­gency stop con­trol shall trig­ger or per­mit the trig­ger­ing of cer­tain safe­guard move­ments where neces­sary.

Note For more detailed pro­vi­sions, see ISO 13850.

Later in [2,]:

Each oper­at­or con­trol sta­tion, includ­ing pendants, cap­able of ini­ti­at­ing machine motion and/​or auto­mat­ic motion shall have an emer­gency stop func­tion (see Clause, unless a risk assess­ment determ­ines that the emer­gency stop func­tion will not con­trib­ute to risk con­trol.

Note: There could be situ­ations where an e-​stop does not con­trib­ute to risk con­trol and altern­at­ives could be con­sidered in con­junc­tion with a risk assess­ment.

The bold text in the pre­ced­ing para­graph is mine. I wanted to be sure that you caught this import­ant bit of text. Not every machine requires an E-​stop func­tion. The func­tion is only required where there is a bene­fit to the user. In some cases, product fam­ily stand­ards often called “Type C” stand­ards, includ­ing spe­cif­ic require­ments for the pro­vi­sion of an emer­gency stop func­tion. The require­ment may include a min­im­um PLr or SILr, based on the opin­ion of the Technical Committee respons­ible for the stand­ard and their know­ledge of the par­tic­u­lar type of machinery covered by their doc­u­ment.

Note: For more detailed pro­vi­sions on the elec­tric­al design require­ments, see CSA C22.2 #301, NFPA 79 or IEC 60204 – 1.

Download NFPA stand­ards through ANSI

This more modern button is still wrong due to the RED background.
Photo 3 – This more mod­ern but­ton is non-​compliant due to the RED back­ground.

If you read Ontario’s Industrial Establishments Regulation (Regulation 851), you will find that prop­er iden­ti­fic­a­tion of the emer­gency stop device(s) and loc­a­tion “with­in easy reach” of the oper­at­or are the only require­ment. What does “prop­erly iden­ti­fied” mean? In Canada, the USA and Internationally, a RED oper­at­or device on a YELLOW back­ground, with or without any text behind it, is recog­nized as EMERGENCY STOP or EMERGENCY OFF, in the case of dis­con­nect­ing switches or con­trol switches. I’ve scattered some examples of dif­fer­ent com­pli­ant and non-​compliant e-​stop devices through this art­icle.

The EU Machinery Directive, 2006/​42/​EC, and Emergency Stop

Interestingly, the European Union has taken what looks like an oppos­ing view of the need for emer­gency stop sys­tems. Quoting from the Machinery Directive [3, Annex I,]: Emergency stop
Machinery must be fit­ted with one or more emer­gency stop devices to enable actu­al or impend­ing danger to be aver­ted.

Notice the words “…actu­al or impend­ing danger…” This har­mon­ises with the defin­i­tion of Complementary Protective Measures, in that they are inten­ded to allow a user to “avert or lim­it harm” from a haz­ard. Clearly, the dir­ec­tion from the European per­spect­ive is that ALL machines need to have an emer­gency stop. Or do they? The same clause goes on to say:

The fol­low­ing excep­tions apply:

  • machinery in which an emer­gency stop device would not lessen the risk, either because it would not reduce the stop­ping time or because it would not enable the spe­cial meas­ures required to deal with the risk to be taken,
  • port­able hand-​held and/​or hand-​guided machinery.

From these two bul­lets it becomes clear that, just as in the Canadian and US reg­u­la­tions, machines only need emer­gency stops WHEN THEY CAN REDUCE THE RISK. This is hugely import­ant and often over­looked. If the risks can­not be con­trolled effect­ively with an emer­gency stop, or if the risk would be increased or new risks would be intro­duced by the action of an e-​stop sys­tem, then it should not be included in the design.

Carrying on with [3,]:

The device must:

  • have clearly iden­ti­fi­able, clearly vis­ible and quickly access­ible con­trol devices,
  • stop the haz­ard­ous pro­cess as quickly as pos­sible, without cre­at­ing addi­tion­al risks,
  • where neces­sary, trig­ger or per­mit the trig­ger­ing of cer­tain safe­guard move­ments.

Once again, this is con­sist­ent with the gen­er­al require­ments found in the Canadian and US reg­u­la­tions. [3] goes on to define the func­tion­al­ity of the sys­tem in more detail:

Once act­ive oper­a­tion of the emer­gency stop device has ceased fol­low­ing a stop com­mand, that com­mand must be sus­tained by engage­ment of the emer­gency stop device until that engage­ment is spe­cific­ally over­rid­den; it must not be pos­sible to engage the device without trig­ger­ing a stop com­mand; it must be pos­sible to dis­en­gage the device only by an appro­pri­ate oper­a­tion, and dis­en­ga­ging the device must not restart the machinery but only per­mit restart­ing.

The emer­gency stop func­tion must be avail­able and oper­a­tion­al at all times, regard­less of the oper­at­ing mode.

Emergency stop devices must be a back-​up to oth­er safe­guard­ing meas­ures and not a sub­sti­tute for them.

The first sen­tence of the first para­graph above is the one that requires e-​stop devices to latch in the activ­ated pos­i­tion. The last part of that sen­tence is even more import­ant: “…dis­en­ga­ging the device must not restart the machinery but only per­mit restart­ing.” That phrase requires that every emer­gency stop sys­tem has a second dis­crete action to reset the emer­gency stop sys­tem. Pulling out the e-​stop but­ton and hav­ing power come back imme­di­ately is not OK. Once that but­ton has been reset, a second action, such as push­ing a “POWER ON” or “RESET” but­ton to restore con­trol power is needed.

Point of Clarification: I had a ques­tion come from a read­er ask­ing if com­bin­ing the E-​stop func­tion and the reset func­tion was accept­able. It can be, but only if:

  • The risk assess­ment for the machinery does not indic­ate any haz­ards that might pre­clude this approach; and
  • The device is designed with the fol­low­ing char­ac­ter­ist­ics:
    • The device must latch in the activ­ated pos­i­tion;
    • The device must have a “neut­ral” pos­i­tion where the machine’s emer­gency stop sys­tem can be reset, or where the machine can be enabled to run;
    • The reset pos­i­tion must be dis­tinct from the pre­vi­ous two pos­i­tions, and the device must spring-​return to the neut­ral pos­i­tion.

The second sen­tence har­mon­izes with the require­ments of the Canadian and US stand­ards. The last sen­tence har­mon­izes with the idea of “Complementary Protective Measures” as described in [2].

How Many and Where?

Where? “Within easy reach”. Consider the loc­a­tions where you EXPECT an oper­at­or to be. Besides the main con­trol con­sole, these could include feed hop­pers, con­sum­ables feed­ers, fin­ished goods exit points, etc. You get the idea. Anywhere you can reas­on­ably expect an oper­at­or to be under nor­mal cir­cum­stances is a reas­on­able place to put an e-​stop device. “Easy Reach” I inter­pret as with­in the arm-​span of an adult (pre­sum­ing the equip­ment is not inten­ded for use by chil­dren). The “easy reach” require­ment trans­lates to 500 – 600 mm either side of the centre line of most work­sta­tions.

How do you know if you need an emer­gency stop? Start with a stop/​start ana­lys­is. Identify all the nor­mal start­ing and stop­ping modes that you anti­cip­ate on the equip­ment. Consider all of the dif­fer­ent oper­at­ing modes that you are provid­ing, such as Automatic, Manual, Teach, Setting, etc. Identify all of the match­ing stop con­di­tions in the same modes, and ensure that all start func­tions have a match­ing stop func­tion.

Do a risk assess­ment. Risk assess­ment is a basic require­ment in most jur­is­dic­tions today.

As you determ­ine your risk con­trol meas­ures (fol­low­ing the Hierarchy of Controls), look at what risks you might con­trol with an Emergency Stop. Remember that e-​stops fall below safe­guards in the hier­archy, so you must use a safe­guard­ing tech­nique if pos­sible, you can’t just default down to an emer­gency stop. IF the e-​stop can provide you with the addi­tion­al risk reduc­tion then use it, but first, reduce the risks in oth­er ways.

The Stop Function and Functional Safety Requirements

Finally, once you determ­ine the need for an emer­gency stop sys­tem, you need to con­sider the system’s func­tion­al­ity and con­trols archi­tec­ture. NFPA 79 [4] has been the ref­er­ence stand­ard for Canada and is the ref­er­ence for the USA. In 2016, CSA intro­duced a new elec­tric­al stand­ard for machinery, CSA C22.2 #301 [5]. This stand­ard is inten­ded for cer­ti­fic­a­tion of indus­tri­al machines. My opin­ion is that this stand­ard has some sig­ni­fic­ant issues. You can find very sim­il­ar elec­tric­al require­ments to this in [4] in IEC 60204 – 1 [6] if you are work­ing in an inter­na­tion­al mar­ket. EN 60204 – 1 applies to the EU mar­ket for indus­tri­al machines and is tech­nic­ally identic­al to [6].

Download NFPA stand­ards through ANSI
Download IEC stand­ards, International Electrotechnical Commission stand­ards.

Functional Stop Categories

NFPA 79 calls out three basic cat­egor­ies of stop func­tions. Note that these cat­egor­ies are NOT func­tion­al safety archi­tec­tur­al cat­egor­ies, but are cat­egor­ies describ­ing stop­ping func­tions. Reliability is not addressed in these sec­tions. Quoting from the stand­ard:

9.2.2 Stop Functions

Stop func­tions shall over­ride related start func­tions. The reset of the stop func­tions shall not ini­ti­ate any haz­ard­ous con­di­tions. The three cat­egor­ies of stop func­tions shall be as fol­lows:

(1) Category 0 is an uncon­trolled stop by imme­di­ately remov­ing power to the machine actu­at­ors.

(2) Category 1 is a con­trolled stop with power to the machine actu­at­ors avail­able to achieve the stop then power is removed when the stop is achieved.

(3) Category 2 is a con­trolled stop with power left avail­able to the machine actu­at­ors.

This E-Stop Button is correct.
Photo 4 – This E-​Stop but­ton is CORRECT. Note the Push-​Pull-​Twist oper­at­or and the YELLOW back­ground.

A bit later in the stand­ard, we find: Stop.* Category 0, Category 1, and/​or Category 2 stops shall be provided as determ­ined by the risk assess­ment and the func­tion­al require­ments of the machine. Category 0 and Category 1 stops shall be oper­a­tion­al regard­less of oper­at­ing modes, and Category 0 shall take pri­or­ity. Where required, pro­vi­sions to con­nect pro­tect­ive devices and inter­locks shall be provided. Where applic­able, the stop func­tion shall sig­nal the logic of the con­trol sys­tem that such a con­di­tion exists.

You’ll also note that that pesky “risk assess­ment” pops up again in You just can’t get away from it…

The func­tion­al stop cat­egor­ies are aligned with sim­il­ar terms used with motor drives. You may want to read this art­icle if your machinery uses a motor drive.

Functional Safety

Disconnect with E-Stop Colours indicates that this device is intended to be used for EMERGENCY SWITCHING OFF.
Photo 5 – Disconnect with E-​Stop Colours indic­ates that this dis­con­nect­ing device is inten­ded to be used for EMERGENCY SWITCHING OFF.

Once you know what func­tion­al cat­egory of stop you need, and what degree of risk reduc­tion you are expect­ing from the emer­gency stop sys­tem, you can determ­ine the func­tion­al safety require­ments. In Canada, [2, 8.2.1] requires that all new equip­ment be designed to com­ply with ISO 13849 [7], [8], or IEC 62061 [9]. This is a new require­ment that was added to [2] to help bring Canadian machinery into har­mon­iz­a­tion with the International Standards.

Emergency stop func­tions are required to provide a min­im­um of ISO 13849 – 1, PLc, or IEC 62061 SIL1. If the risk assess­ment shows that great­er reli­ab­il­ity is required, the sys­tem can be designed to meet any high­er reli­ab­il­ity require­ment that is suit­able. Essentially, the great­er the risk reduc­tion required, the high­er the degree of reli­ab­il­ity required.

I’ve writ­ten extens­ively about the applic­a­tion of ISO 13849, so if you are not sure what any of that means, you may want to read the series on that top­ic.

Extra points go to any read­er who noticed that the ‘elec­tric­al haz­ard’ warn­ing label imme­di­ately above the dis­con­nect handle in Photo 5 above is

a) upside down, and

b) using a non-​standard light­ing flash.

Cheap haz­ard warn­ing labels, like this one, are often as good as none at all. I’ll be writ­ing more on haz­ard warn­ings in future posts. In case you are inter­ested, here is the cor­rect ISO elec­tric­al haz­ard label:

Yellow triangular background with a black triangular border and a stylized black lighting-flash arrow travelling from top to bottom.
Photo 6 – Electric Shock Hazard – IEC 60417 – 5036

You can find these labels at Clarion Safety Systems.

Use of Emergency Stop as part of a Lockout Procedure or HECP

One last note: Emergency stop func­tions and the sys­tem that imple­ment the func­tions (with the excep­tion of emer­gency switch­ing off devices, such as dis­con­nect switches used for e-​stop) CANNOT be used for energy isol­a­tion in an HECP – Hazardous Energy Control Procedure (which includes Lockout). Devices for this pur­pose must phys­ic­ally sep­ar­ate the energy source from the down­stream com­pon­ents. See CSA Z460 [10] for more on that sub­ject.

Read our Article on Using E-​Stops in Hazardous Energy Control Procedures (HECP) includ­ing lock­out.

Pneumatic E-Stop Device
Photo 7 – Pneumatic E-​Stop/​Isolation device.


[1]  Industrial robots and robot sys­tems (Adopted ISO 10218 – 1:2011, second edi­tion, 2011-​07-​01, with Canadian devi­ations and ISO 10218 – 2:2011, first edi­tion, 2011-​07-​01, with Canadian devi­ations). Canadian National Standard CAN/​CSA Z434. 2014. 

[2]  Safeguarding of Machinery, CSA Standard Z432. 2016

[3]  DIRECTIVE 2006/​42/​EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL  of 17 May 2006  on machinery, and amend­ing Directive 95/​16/​EC (recast). Brussels: European Commission, 2006.

[4]  Electrical Standard for Industrial Machinery. ANSI/​NFPA Standard 79. 2015.

Download NFPA stand­ards at ANSI

[5] Industrial elec­tric­al machinery. CSA Standard C22.2 NO. 301. 2016. 

[6] Safety of machinery – Electrical Equipment of machines – Part 1: General require­ments. IEC Standard 60204 – 1. 2016.  

Download IEC stand­ards, International Electrotechnical Commission stand­ards.

[7] Safety of machinery — Safety-​related parts of con­trol sys­tems — Part 1: General prin­ciples for design. ISO Standard 13849 – 1. 2015.

[8] Safety of machinery — Safety-​related parts of con­trol sys­tems — Part 2: Validation. ISO Standard 13849 – 2. 2012.

[9] Safety of machinery – Functional safety of safety-​related elec­tric­al, elec­tron­ic and pro­gram­mable elec­tron­ic con­trol sys­tems. IEC Standard 62061+AMD1+AMD2. 2015.

[10] Safety of machineryEmergency Stop — Principals for design. ISO Standard 13850. 2015.

Download IEC stand­ards, International Electrotechnical Commission stand­ards.
Download ISO Standards

[11] Control of haz­ard­ous energy — Lockout and oth­er meth­ods. CSA Standard Z460. 2013.



Series NavigationChecking Emergency Stop Systems

Author: Doug Nix

+DougNix is Managing Director and Principal Consultant at Compliance InSight Consulting, Inc. (http://www.complianceinsight.ca) in Kitchener, Ontario, and is Lead Author and Managing Editor of the Machinery Safety 101 blog.

Doug's work includes teaching machinery risk assessment techniques privately and through Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Kitchener, Ontario, as well as providing technical services and training programs to clients related to risk assessment, industrial machinery safety, safety-related control system integration and reliability, laser safety and regulatory conformity.

Follow me on Academia.edu//a.academia-assets.com/javascripts/social.js

  • Pete J

    Hi. I’m after some inform­a­tion on E-​Stop. I am cur­rently look­ing at hav­ing the wir­ing done in my garage/​workshop. I would like to have 2 ring mains fit­ted. One as nor­mal from the board for gen­er­al power, bat­ter char­ger, radio etc, the oth­er I would like to run through a con­tact­or set up as an E-​Stop power ring that power tools will be run from. The reas­on behind this is my daugh­ter is get­ting older and likes to join me/​help on pro­jects. The concept it I will have a key switch to lock off the start but­ton, this must be on and all the ‘mush­room’ but­tons released so that when I press the green ‘on’ but­ton the con­tact­or pulls in and turns on the ring to the power tools, bench grinder, pil­lar drill etc. I know this this is overkill for a home/​garage set up BUT I would rather do it now and have the abil­ity to lock off the machine power when required (not in there etc) but also to just have the but­tons there if needed and I’m on the oth­er side of the room. I am used to this set up from work (D&T teach­er in a school) and have put a lot of thought into it in my plan­ning (I would hate myself for not doing it and some­thing going wrong later that it could have stopped). As for the wir­ing, now I could do the install­a­tion myself but obvi­ously it wouldn’t be ‘signed off’ and the nor­mal run of the mill house sparks are clue­less on this. I was an elec­tron­ics engin­eer for many years pri­or to my teach­ing work and my fath­er worked on indus­tri­al machine con­trol. I would like to be able to get all the inform­a­tion so I can get it all togeth­er for a will­ing spark to carry out.
    The issues I have cur­rently are the spec of the con­tact­or as it is going ring with sev­er­al machines that could be run­ning from it I am work­ing on the prin­ciple that not all machines will be run­ning at any one time, the largest motor is 1hp lathe (all single phase) and I would say there would be the pos­sib­il­ity of that run­ning and a pil­lar drill or band saw each 3/​4hp.
    The con­tact­or will not be switch­ing on load, just dis­con­nect­ing a load in an emer­gency. the rest of the time all it will switch would be a hand­ful of LED lights, one on each machine.
    The oth­er area I want to know about is cable col­ours, an where to find out what to use to/​from the start switch and to the 4 stop but­tons in series round the room.
    Basic prin­ciple, Live is on a NO push­but­ton, pulls con­tact­or in, which then feeds a live through all the NC E-​Stops in a ring back to the con­tact­or keep­ing the coil activ­ated once the start but­ton is released. Other con­tact on sup­ply the live feed to the machine ring. Hit any stop but­ton, power to coil in con­tact­or is lost, con­tact­or drops out, power dis­con­nec­ted from machine ring.

    • Pete,
      Thanks for your com­ment and all the details you provided!
      First, kudos for con­sid­er­ing put­ting in a sys­tem like this in a home shop. I am def­in­itely sup­port­ive of this idea.
      The “easy” way to do this is to select an emer­gency stop mod­ule from a com­pany like Pilz, Rockwell, Schmersal, Telemecanique, or your favour­ite sup­pli­er. These com­pan­ies will provide you with sug­ges­ted wir­ing dia­grams.

      Sizing the con­tact­ors (yes, con­tact­ors, mul­tiple) is crit­ic­al. They need to be over­di­men­sioned for the applic­a­tion to reduce the stresses on the con­tact­ors in oper­a­tion. For example: If your single run from the pan­el is sized at 32 A, select 64 A con­tact­ors to provide a 2x over dimen­sion­ing of the con­tact­ors. Next, care­fully con­sider how many e-​stop devices you really need. Daisy-​chaining the e-​stop devices into a single e-​stop mod­ule will res­ult in fault mask­ing and may even­tu­ally lead to a fail-​to-​function con­di­tion. ISO 13849 – 1 addresses this idea in Table 11. It’s also dis­cussed in ISO/​TR 24119 (https://​www​.iso​.org/​s​t​a​n​d​a​r​d​/​6​3​1​6​0​.​h​tml). If you daisy chain more than 2 devices, you will be decreas­ing the reli­ab­il­ity of the con­trol sys­tem. You can seg­ment the sys­tem, using 2 – 3 devices into an estop mod­ule, and then sub­sequently daisy-​chaining the out­put con­tacts of the e-​stop mod­ules and sub­sequently into the con­tact­or coils.
      You will need redund­ant con­tact­ors for high-​reliability, or if you feel you can tol­er­ate a some­what reduced level of reli­ab­il­ity, you could drop down to one. Just be aware that if that con­tact­or fails in a wel­ded con­di­tion, the sys­tem will fail.

      Hopefully that helps. If you need more help, I’d be happy to offer you some coach­ing. You can book a 1-​hour ses­sion with me at this link: https://​dougnix​.acu​ity​schedul​ing​.com/​s​c​h​e​d​u​l​e​.​p​h​p​?​a​p​p​o​i​n​t​m​e​n​t​T​y​p​e​=​3​9​4​8​927

      • On more thing: Connect the ring mains to the load side of the contactor(s). Depending on the require­ments in the loc­al BS code for this type of wir­ing, you may need addi­tion­al over­cur­rent pro­tec­tion down­stream of the con­tact­ors. 🙂

  • Herman Tesseur

    Hello Mister Nix,

    In CSA Z432-​04 we find clause
    Each oper­at­or con­trol sta­tion, includ­ing pendants, cap­able of ini­ti­at­ing machine motion shall have a manu­ally ini­ti­ated emer­gency stop device.
    Can we find the same rule some­where in the EU reg­u­la­tion?

    • Herman,

      1) That ver­sion of the stand­ard is with­drawn and has been replaced by CSA Z432-​16.
      2) Have a look at EN 60204 – 1, 9.2.4,, and 10.7.1. This stand­ard is har­mon­ised under both the Machinery Directive 2006/​42/​EC and the Low Voltage Directive, 2014/​35/​EU.

  • Kaleemullah Memon

    Hello. I have one ques­tion regard­ing the emer­gency stop push but­tons for the machines. Can we use Normal Open Contact push but­ton with lead break detec­tion in the cicuit. Is there any ref­er­ence stand­ard which pemits use of NO con­tact estop but­ton with lead break detec­tion

    • None of the stand­ards make expli­cit require­ments for the con­tact func­tion­al­ity for any estop device, includ­ing but­tons, how­ever, ISO 13849 – 1 requires that all cat­egor­ies of archi­tec­ture except Category B use “well-​tried safety prin­ciples” which include open­ing a cir­cuit in order to turn some­thing off. The lists cov­er­ing the require­ments for well-​tried safety prin­ciples can be found in ISO 13849 – 2, Annexes A-​D, Tables A.2, B.2, C.2 and D.2.

      Based on this, use of a nor­mally open con­tact for ini­ti­ation of emer­gency stop would not meet the cri­ter­ia for any archi­tec­ture Category except B. Since ISO 13850 requires that emer­gency stop sys­tems provide at least ISO 13849 – 1 PLc, and since PLc requires Category 1, 2 or 3 archi­tec­ture, the use of a nor­mally open con­tact would not be accept­able.

  • Adam Johnson

    Hello Mr. Nix. Can you tell me if the EU dir­ect­ive shows any require­ments for E-​Stop devices on Engine Driven machines such as Pressure Washers? I know on most indus­tri­al elec­tric indus­tri­al equip­ment it is required but I am hav­ing a hard time believ­ing that it may be required for an engine driv­en pres­sure wash­er. The pres­sure wash­er uses a key switch to start the engine and enables oth­er devices to oper­ate. When the key switch is off it dis­ables the entire sys­tem.

    • Adam, great ques­tion!

      To under­stand the require­ments, the first stop is the Machinery Directive, 2006/​42/​EC, Annex I. In Annex I, you will find clause Emergency stop:

      Machinery must be fit­ted with one or more emer­gency stop devices to enable actu­al or impend­ing danger to be aver­ted.

      The fol­low­ing excep­tions apply:
       — machinery in which an emer­gency stop device would not lessen the risk, either because it would not reduce the stop­ping time or because it would not enable the spe­cial meas­ures required to deal with the risk to be taken,
       — port­able hand-​held and/​or hand-​guided machinery.

      The device must:
       — have clearly iden­ti­fi­able, clearly vis­ible and quickly access­ible con­trol devices,
       — stop the haz­ard­ous pro­cess as quickly as pos­sible, without cre­at­ing addi­tion­al risks,
       — where neces­sary, trig­ger or per­mit the trig­ger­ing of cer­tain safe­guard move­ments.

      Since a pres­sure wash­er is covered by the second bul­let in the third para­graph, “port­able hand-​held and/​or hand-​guided machinery”, there is no require­ment for an e-​stop sys­tem on any hand-​guided pres­sure wash­ing sys­tem, regard­less of energy source.

  • Pedro F Fernández

    Hello Mr. Nix,

    is it leg­ally pos­sible to install an emer­gency stop push but­ton in a machine for a dif­fer­ent pur­pose than emer­gency stop­ping it? Obviously, without the ‘emer­gency stop’ mark­ing.

    Thank you.

    • I’m con­fused as to why you would want to do what you are sug­gest­ing, and here’s why: There is a fun­da­ment­al func­tion­al dif­fer­ence between the way an emer­gency stop func­tion works, and how a nor­mal stop func­tion works. Let me explain a bit more.

      In a nor­mal stop­ping con­di­tion, there is no urgency as to how quickly the stop occurs. The stop may have con­straints placed on it for repeat­ab­il­ity, i.e., you always want a power press ram to stop at top-​dead-​centre in nor­mal oper­a­tion, but with regard to the stop­ping time involved, nor­mally the time it takes is the time it takes. Also, you don’t want to inad­vert­ently dam­age the machinery by for­cing an unduly quick stop. Power remains on the sys­tem and no recov­ery mode is required because the machine has nev­er gone out­side the nor­mal con­trol envel­ope. Normal stop­ping is usu­ally done via the pro­cess PLC or con­trol­ler, and no func­tion­al safety require­ments apply because nor­mal stop­ping is not usu­ally con­sidered to be a safety func­tion. There are excep­tions of course, like the ser­vice brake on mobile machinery which is both a nor­mal pro­cess func­tion and a safety func­tion.

      In an emer­gency stop­ping con­di­tion, the primary goal is to bring the machinery to a stop as quickly as pos­sible, and dam­aging the machinery to do this is per­mit­ted. To do this the func­tion may include high-​friction mech­an­ic­al brak­ing sys­tems, and may use the max­im­um avail­able decel­er­a­tion pos­sible with vari­able fre­quency drives, servo or step­per sys­tems. Complete remov­al of power at the end of the stop­ping cycle is the final step. The machine will nor­mally need some kind of recov­ery mode because the sys­tem may be par­tially or com­pletely out of con­trol dur­ing the emer­gency stop­ping time. In fact, this may be WHY an emer­gency stop was invoked. Emergency stop is clas­si­fied as a Complementary Protective Measure (see ISO 12100:2010), and is always con­sidered to be a safety func­tion. ISO 13850 requires PLc /​ SIL1 as a min­im­um per­form­ance level for emer­gency stop­ping func­tions.

      As you can see, the two func­tions are com­pletely dif­fer­ent. From a leg­al­ity stand­point, to my know­ledge there are no laws or reg­u­la­tions in any jur­is­dic­tion that reg­u­late which type of stop func­tion you choose – that is strictly a design decision. Once taken, that decision then drives the rest of the require­ments regard­ing the details of the way the func­tion is real­ized.

      • Pedro F Fernández

        Hello, Mr Nix.

        Thank you for your extens­ive answer. It must be I didn’t explain my ques­tion very well. I meant if I could install an emer­gency stop but­ton, which for example has a par­tic­u­lar mech­an­ism for rearm it, for any oth­er pur­pose than emer­gency stop­ping or stop­ping at all a machine. I was just won­der­ing if an engin­eer or tech­ni­cian thinks of a func­tion for what the hard­ware of an emer­gency but­ton is just right, it would be accept­able or not to use it for it.

        • If you are won­der­ing if you can use an e-​stop device, like a latch­ing push­but­ton for example, for oth­er pur­poses, the answer is tech­nic­ally YES, and prac­tic­ally NO. The rel­ev­ant stand­ards (IEC 60204 – 1, ISO 13850, NFPA 79, CSA C22.2 #301, etc.) lim­it the use of the col­our RED for emer­gency stop device actu­at­ors – that is, the head of the push­but­ton. Also, mush­room head oper­at­ors on push­but­tons are nor­mally only used for e-​stop devices. To my know­ledge, none of the com­pon­ent man­u­fac­tur­ers make latch­ing push­but­tons with any­thing oth­er than a red, mush­room head oper­at­or. So, based on that I can­not see how you could use a device inten­ded for e-​stop in any­thing oth­er than an e-​stop sys­tem without viol­at­ing the require­ments of one or more stand­ards. IF you can find a latch­ing push­but­ton with a BLACK, WHITE, GRAY, or BLUE oper­at­or device, you could cer­tainly use it for oth­er pur­poses, con­sist­ent with the cod­ing require­ments giv­en in the stand­ards.

          • Pedro F Fernández

            Ok, that was exactly what I was look­ing for. Thank you.

          • 🙂 Glad I could help!

  • Enrique Jimenez

    Is it pos­sible to con­nect sev­er­al emer­gency stops for dif­fer­ent motors loc­ated in the same area, con­nect them to a junc­tion box, wire a mul­ticore cable towards the sub­sta­tion to anoth­er junc­tion box, and then segreg­ate towards the MCC drive for each of the motors? or is it man­dat­ory a single cable for each of the emer­gency stops. Motors are not related to each oth­er.

    • Enrique,

      From a purely func­tion­al per­spect­ive, this would work, how­ever, you are cre­at­ing a single point of fail­ure for mul­tiple emer­gency stop sys­tems (I’m assum­ing that each e-​stop affects dif­fer­ent machinery).

      If you read ISO 13850, you will find that the min­im­um Performance Level is ISO 13849 – 1 PLc. PLc can be achieved using Category 1, 2 or 3 archi­tec­ture. If you do this using Category 1 or 2, no chan­nel sep­ar­a­tion is pos­sible, since these are both single-​channel archi­tec­tures. If you use Category 3, then chan­nel sep­ar­a­tion is one of the basic Common Cause Failure mit­ig­a­tion meth­ods, so group­ing the chan­nels in a single cable would elim­in­ate the pos­sib­il­ity of sep­ar­at­ing the chan­nels.

      So the short answer is: It depends on the archi­tec­ture of the con­trol sys­tem, but no mat­ter what, it cre­ates a single point of fail­ure for all the sys­tems grouped in that cable.

      • Radoslaw Czyzewski

        I just read this art­icle. Do I under­stand cor­rectly – so for cat 3 archi­tec­ture – each estop sta­tion should be wired back to safety relay with two cables? (one per chan­nel) I must admit – I have nev­er seen any­one doing it before.

        • Radoslaw,
          Not neces­sar­ily, BUT, if you look at the CCF table in the Annexes you will see that you can gain CCF points if you provide chan­nel sep­ar­a­tion, which is done by run­ning sep­ar­ate cables to sep­ar­ate sens­ing devices. For con­ven­tion­al estop but­ton install­a­tions, this usu­ally not done because both chan­nels are run to a single phys­ic­al device. By the way, you can achieve the min­im­um PLc required by ISO 13850 using a Cat. 1, 2, or 3 archi­tec­ture. Nothing says Cat 3 is required.

        • Radoslaw,

          Sorry for the delay in reply­ing to your ques­tion – I tried to reply anoth­er way a few days ago and didn’t real­ize it hadn’t pos­ted prop­erly.

          This entire dis­cus­sion starts with a risk assess­ment AND with ISO 13850, the estop stand­ard. If you read this stand­ard, you will find that the min­im­um require­ment for an emer­gency stop is PLc, unless the risk assess­ment says you need a high­er level of reli­ab­il­ity. PLc can be achieved using Cat. 1, 2, or 3 archi­tec­tures and appro­pri­ate com­pon­ent selec­tion. If you review ISO 13849 – 1, Annex F, you will find Table F.1, the Common Cause Estimation scor­ing ques­tion­naire. One of the ways to reduce the like­li­hood of CCFs is to provide chan­nel sep­ar­a­tion, and it’s import­ant enough that it is giv­en a score of 15, mak­ing it one of the more highly weighted meas­ures in the table. You need a min­im­um score of 65 to claim the PL value that your archi­tec­ture and com­pon­ent selec­tions may be able to yield for you. So, must you sep­ar­ate the chan­nels? No. Is there a bene­fit in high reli­ab­il­ity con­di­tions? Yes. Is it com­monly done? No. You need to care­fully eval­u­ate your applic­a­tion and make the right decision. Don’t for­get Table F.1. Without scor­ing your CCF prop­erly, you can­not claim your PL, regard­less of what your cal­cu­la­tions may tell you.

        • Radoslaw,

          It is ONE way to achieve the CCF score you need to claim your PL. See Annex F, Table F.1. If you can’t hit 65 on the CCF scale, you can’t claim your PL, regard­less of what the rest of your cal­cu­la­tions may tell you.

  • Mark Dalton

    Hi All, Just wanted to query is it pos­sible to put a clear plastic cov­er over an E-​stop for acci­dent­al activ­a­tions, This cov­er would just be a lift pan­el with the estop as nor­mal under it.

  • Jonathan Siglos

    edu­ca­tion­al inform­a­tion pos­ted about emer­gency stop (e-​stop) are very inter­est­ing keep your good work. By the way i under­stand most of the new gen­er­a­tions of engines, machinery and equip­ment are man­u­fac­tured with built in safety and pro­tec­tion devices. In any case when they are in oper­a­tion any prob­lems may arise such as pres­sure, tem­per­at­ure and mech­an­ic­al prob­lems it will give and alarm if not rec­ti­fied sub­sequently the sys­tem will stop it to avert fur­ther dam­age. Please bare with me its my only own opin­ion..

  • Pingback: Doug Nix()