Canada Adopts ISO 13857 – Safety Distances

Safety Distances

ISO 13857 2008, Figure 2 - Safety Distance for reaching over a protective structure
ISO 13857 2008, Figure 2 – Reaching Over Protective Structure

As part of the work on the 3rd Edition of CSA Z432, Canada has decided to adopt ISO 13857 as CSA Z13857. The stand­ard is to be adop­ted without tech­nic­al devi­ations.

Why ISO 13857?

CSA Z432 has long had por­tions of the inform­a­tion in ISO 13857 in its annexes – Annex C has tables for reach­ing through open­ings and reach­ing over struc­tures, much like the one above, that users have found use­ful over the years. Unfortunately, these tables have also proved a bit con­fus­ing, as they are some­what dif­fer­ent than CSA Z432 Table 3. While neither set of safe-​distance val­ues is less safe, the val­ues in Table 3 are very sim­il­ar to those used in the USA, which was the ori­gin­al source for that inform­a­tion.

When Z432 was first being developed in the late 1980’s, most machinery was com­ing in from the US, so har­mon­isa­tion with US OSHA guidelines was more import­ant than har­mon­ising inter­na­tion­ally. Today, import of machinery from the EU is com­mon, and Canadian export of machinery around the world is part of doing busi­ness. CSA’s Safety of Machinery Technical Committee decided to help man­u­fac­tur­ers and import­ers by har­mon­ising Canada’s stand­ards with the International Standards by adopt­ing ISO 13857 as a Canadian Standard.

Public Review

If you are inter­ested in review­ing and  com­ment­ing on this adop­tion, please vis­it the CSA Public Review Page for the stand­ard. Comments close 13/​07/​2015.


Identifier: Z13857

Title: Safety of machinery — Safety dis­tances to pre­vent haz­ard zones being reached by upper and lower limbs (Adoption without devi­ations) (New Standard) Expiry date: 13/​07/​2015

This International Standard estab­lishes val­ues for safety dis­tances in both indus­tri­al and non-​industrial envir­on­ments to pre­vent machinery haz­ard zones being reached. The safety dis­tances are appro­pri­ate for pro­tect­ive struc­tures. It also gives inform­a­tion about dis­tances to impede free access by the lower limbs (see 4.3).

Author: Doug Nix

+DougNix is Managing Director and Principal Consultant at Compliance InSight Consulting, Inc. ( 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.

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