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Briefing December 2020



Tampering is the circumvention or deactivation of protective equipment with the consequence of using a machine in an unintended manner or without necessary protective measures. A study by the professional trade associations has shown that about one third of all protective devices on machines are tampered with temporarily or permanently. This applies to both older and newer CE-marked machines. A good quarter of all work-related accidents with machinery can be attributed to the tampering of protective equipment. This illustrates the importance of sustainable tamper prevention.

Possible hazards/strains:

  • Crushing, shearing, pulling in etc. due to dangerous machine movements
  • Ejecting parts (e.g. work piece, tool)
  • Radiation
  • Increased noise Pollution
  • Contact with harmful substances
  • Inhalation of toxic fumes
  • Low risk awareness
  • Ignorance of the fact that protective devices are tampered with.


What can happen?

  • Employees suffer physical injury or death.
  • Permanent damage to health occurs.
  • It results in chronic diseases or occupational diseases.
  • Absences put burdens on the operation.
  • There are criminal consequences for those responsible.

What can be done?

New machines

The purchase is made on the basis of the specifications, which specifies the requirements of the machine and, in particular, its purpose. This requires the manufacturer to offer a machine with a suitable protection concept.

  • Include safety experts, plant managers, and operators in the purchasing process
  • Take into account motivation for tampering 
  • Explain the manufacturer's protection concept

Existing machines

If the tampering of a protective device has been detected on a machine that has already been used, the following procedure should be followed:

  • Return the machine to the safe state 
  • Analyse the situation:
    1. What is tampered with and where (e.g. door switch on machines etc.) 
    2. How has it been tampered with (e.g. actuator unscrewed from door switches)? 
    3. Which activity has been tampered with (e.g. operation, maintenance, troubleshooting, setup)? 
  • Determine causes, e.g.:
    1. Quantity printing 
    2. Required process monitoring 
    3. Faster setup 
    4. Reduce workload 
    5. No interruption in the automatic mode 
    6. Missing or unsuitable operating modes 
  • Take countermeasures taking into account the "TOP" ranking:
    1. Technology (e.g. alternative protection concept, additional or alternative operating modes)
    2.  Organization (prohibiting tampering through corporate culture, changing the process, working with a suitable machine)
    3. Personal measures (training, instruction) 
  • Check the effect of the measures taken
  • Regular random checks 
  • Long-term, repetitive tests 

Due to the high accident risk caused by tampering with protective equipment, the issue should be dealt with quickly and comprehensively during operation. Detailed information with practical aids and checklists for manufacturers, dealers, and operators of machines can be found on the Internet (

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