CENELEC firmly believes in the value of equality and social cohesion, recognizing the right of people to live in dignity: consumers
must have the same rights and play a full part in society with no exclusion and discrimination.
Accessibility is an important aspect of social inclusion. It is the responsibility of standardizers to tackle the issue of contributing to facilitate the access to products and services to society in its whole.
Solidarity is one of the European Union pillars, and CENELEC, as a European organization, fulfill its duty by incorporating the needs of older persons and persons with disabilities in the standards making-process. This is reflected in the CENELEC 2010-2013 Strategy, Strategic goal 3, Objective 3.2: To contribute to the welfare of society by ensuring continuous improvement of all aspects of products/services safety, quality and interoperability in the fields of electricity, electronics and associated technologies, including the protection of the environment, accessibility and innovation.
The reasons for creating global or universally accessible products and services are not only social but also economic, in that it will give access to a greater number of users of those products and services, making them simpler to use by all types of persons.
Besides, we are living in a society where the percentage of older persons in the world’s population is constantly increasing. While not all older persons have disabilities, the prevalence of disability or limitations is highest among this demographic group.
How does CENELEC contribute?
CENELEC contributes in two different ways to help protect disabled people:
- By the creation of standards following mandates from the European Commission given to CENELEC;
- By providing guidance to writers of relevant international standards through CENELEC deliverables
(1) Mandates from the European Commission
The European Commission has mandated CENELEC on the following issues related to accessibility for disabled people:
- M/273 "ICT for disabled and elderly people" (Accepted during the Technical Board meeting in March 1999)
- M/283 "Safety and usability of products by people with special needs" (Accepted during the Technical Board meeting in October 1999)
- In response to these 2 mandates, CENELEC has set up BTWG 101-5 on "Usability and safety of electrical products by people with special needs"
- M/376 "Accessibility of ICT Products and services" (Accepted during the Technical Board meeting in April 2006)
- M/392 "Limitation clause"
This mandate was accepted during the Technical Board meeting in December 2006. The execution of M/392 is taken on board by CLC/TC 61 "Household and similar electrical appliances – Safety". The purpose of the mandate is to review the European standard series EN 60335 and amend, where relevant, part 1 and part 2 with respect to reasonably foreseeable situations where children, older people and people with disabilities come into contact with electrical household appliances.
In this context, CLC/TC 61 "Safety of household and similar electrical appliances" is adapting the standards to the provision of the mandate.
(2) CENELEC Deliverables
CENELEC produces guides that are part of the overall framework that standard bodies can use in their efforts to support the need for more accessible products and services. They are intended for those involved in the preparation and revision of European and International Standards but also contain information, which may be useful for others such as manufacturer, designers, service providers and educators.
- CEN/CENELEC Guide 6 "Guidelines for standards developers to address the needs of older persons and persons with disabilities": This guide
was elaborated by CEN/BTWG 113 "Safety and usability of products by people with special needs" and CLC/BTWG 101-5 "Usability and safety of electrical products
with reference to people with special needs" under M/283 "Safety and usability of products by people with special needs";
- CENELEC Guide 28 "Accessibility in interfaces in low voltage electrical installations – A guide for standards writers", which has been
elaborated by CLC/BTWG 101-5 in March 2006;
- CENELEC Guide 29 "Temperatures of hot surfaces likely to be touched – Guidance document for Technical Committees and
manufacturers", which has been prepared by CLC/BTTF 120-1 “Surface temperatures" under M/346 "Surface temperatures of
accessible non-functional surfaces of electrical equipment included in the scope of the LVD";
- CEN/CENELEC CWA 45546-1:2004 "Guidelines to standardisers of collective transport systems – Needs of older people and persons with disabilities - Part 1: Basic Guidelines" prepared by CEN/CLC Workshop 016 "Accessibility in Collective Transport Systems (ACTS)".