Machinery safety in Europe

Information on the EC Machinery Directive

Source: Maurizio Targhetta - Fotolia

In Europe, machinery has to satisfy the formal and the essential safety and health requirements set out in EC Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC. This European directive applies to all machinery placed on the European Economic Area (EEA) market for the first time.

How does the Machinery Directive define a "machine"?

The Directive defines a "machine" as "an assembly, fitted with or intended to be fitted with a drive system other than directly applied human or animal effort, consisting of linked parts or components, at least one of which moves, and which are joined together for a specific application," (Article 2(a)).

It does also include

  • interchangeable equipment,
  • safety components,
  • lifting accessories,
  • chains, ropes and webbing and
  • removable mechanical transmission devices.

For partly completed machinery there are some special requirements in the machinery directive.

Essential safety and health requirements and harmonised standards

Annex I of the Machinery Directive lists the essential safety and health requirements to be met by all machinery. The European CEN and CENELEC standardisation institutions draw up harmonised standards to supplement the essential requirements; the standards are applied on a voluntary basis.

Conformity assessment

Manufacturers must supply a declaration of conformity and affix CE marking to machinery as assurance that the product satisfies the essential safety and health requirements of all relevant EC directives. In the case of partly completed machinery , the declaration of conformity and the CE marking are replaced by a declaration of incorporation and assembly instructions.

Manufacturers can usually declare conformity with the Directive themselves. In the case of the machinery and safety components listed in Annex IV of the Machinery Directive (selected machinery with high risk potential), a body notified for such machinery/components must be involved in the conformity assessment if harmonised standards do not exist or are not used or it those standards do not cover all of the relevant health and safety requirements.

Apart from the compulsory CE marking, voluntary marking with the GS or DGUV Test mark is also possible for machinery.

Equipment and Product Safety Act and Machinery Ordinance

The Machinery Directive was transposed into German law by the Equipment and Product Safety Act (Geräte- und Produktsicherheitsgesetz, abbreviated as "ProdSG") and the Machinery Ordinance (9th Verordnung zum Geräte- und Produktsicherheitsgesetz).

Our testing and certification bodies for machinery

Almost all of the 19 DGUV Test testing and certification bodies test and certify machinery. In particular, the fact that they concentrate on specific sectors means that they provide a high level of expertise, which benefits the customer.

Our services:

  • Risk assessment
  • EC type examinations
  • Awarding of the GS mark and the DGUV Test mark
  • Examination and certification of technical documentation
  • Archiving of technical documentation
  • Testing of specific aspects, e.g. ergonomics

A list of the testing and certification bodies plus a database of the fields of testing they cover can be found under "Addresses".

More information

Guide to the application of the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC


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