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When the reworked Machinery Directive
comes into force in December, will your
business still be compliant, asks Paul
Laidler, MD of Laidler Associates
he Machinery Directive has
been around for a long time.
It was originally implemented
in the UK by the Supply of
Machinery (Safety) Regulations 1992
and the Supply of Machinery (Safety)
(Amendment) Regulations 1994.
Seven years later, proposals for a
Third Amendment to the Machinery
Directive – improvements designed to
simplify and clarify the existing one –
were published, and in June 2006 the
new Directive was published.
The date on which we should all
be focused, however, is 29 December
2009, as this is when the Directive
becomes enforceable. And unlike
previous amendments, there is no
transitional period for compliance.
This new Directive has some radical
changes of which machine builders
and users may not yet be aware,
issues that will need to be addressed
quickly if the December compliance
deadline is to be hit.
To assess how your particular
business is to be affected, it’s useful to
look more closely at what constitutes
a machine under the directive. A
rather dry but comprehensive
definition such as “an assembly of
linked parts or components at least
one of which moves, with the
appropriate actuator, control and
power circuits, joined together for a
specific application, in particular for
the processing, treatment, moving or
packaging of a material,” covers most
applications. Incidentally, machinery
moved by directly applied manual
effort is excluded. The term machinery
also covers an assembly of machines,
which are controlled so that they
function as an integral whole, such as
a production line.
Expanded scope
This would appear to be fairly
straightforward, but reading the Scope
of the Directive soon changes your
opinion. The Scope includes terms
such as safety components, lifting
accessories and chains, ropes and
webbing. New inclusions further
expand the scope to include devices
for the lifting of persons with reduced
mobility and construction site hoists
amongst others. It goes without saying
that the physical care and protection
of employees and customers should
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Machinery Safety
be the first consideration when
business owners install and operate
machinery. So it’s forgivable here to
concentrate on the business
implications of the various and
sometimes quite stringent demands of
the rules and regulations imposed by
the Directive.
So when you ask the question:
“Why do we have to comply?” it’s best
to take as a given the answer:
“Because if we don’t, our employees
may be horribly injured.” Instead,
think of the business answer, which is:
“Because all of the European directives
are brought into UK law by the issue of
Regulations, which means that if you
don’t comply you are committing a
criminal offence punishable by fines
and possibly imprisonment.”
Demonstrating compliance
Better, then, to ask: “How do we
comply?” The quick answer is:
G Demonstrate compliance with the
essential health and safety
G Carry out the appropriate
conformity assessment procedure
G Draw up and issue the Declaration
of Conformity or Incorporation.
G Apply the CE Mark.
If you are creating a complex
assembly, such as a production line,
by interlinking a series of existing
machines, you are in effect creating
something new – so the whole
assembly must comply with the
Directive. Similarly, altering the
function or performance of a machine
or complex assembly is also essentially
creating a new machine, which must
The new Directive comes into play
for this scenario if you are at the start
of a project building an assembly,
where the finish date is either towards
the end of the year or into the New
Year. If this is the case, you may need
to start the project now using the new
Directive as you will not be able to
produce a final declaration under the
current Directive after December 29th.
A second scenario that will affect
the validity of your company’s
compliance is where products have
been series manufactured, having
been CE Marked at the start of the
series production. The Declarations
will no longer be valid so whole
product ranges will need to be
recertified in time for the
changeover of Directives.
Enter M425 or visit ‘latest issue stories’ at for further
details from Laidler Associates
As with all new legislation, this latest
amendment to the Machinery Directive places
a necessary yet still burdensome requirement
on businesses of all sizes and in all sorts of
sectors. At Industrial Technology we are
always keen to hear our readers’ views, so do
let us know what you think of the latest
changes to the Machinery Directive.
Is it a welcome move, in that anything
that improves health and safety can only be a
good thing if it protects employees AND
enhances your company’s reputation? Or is it
simply more red tape? Do you have the
expertise in-house to carry out the necessary
risk assessments and make the changes you
need, or would you prefer to outsource the
task of making sure that you’re completely up
to date, properly informed and ultimately
We will be covering Machinery Directive
in later issues too, so let us have your
questions and views. Contact us by email via
Answers to
your questions
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