The real need for a machinery directive?

Why has the Machinery Directive been emanated? Who is it addressed to?

The Machinery Directive is an European Union law aimed at machine manufacturers who are required to comply with the essential health and safety requirements relating to the design and construction of machinery in order to improve product safety placed into the European market, facilitating their free movement.

The norm also has a second purpose.

Thanks to the organisation of a harmonised framework for the construction of safer machinery, it has an important economic role for the European mechanical industry: if machines are designed and built ad hoc, then the costs resulting from the occurrence of possible accidents or health problems affecting workers, their working environment or end-users are significantly reduced.

The protection of workers/users is therefore of fundamental importance for the Member States, which must grant the correct application of the rules imposed by the Machinery Directive, ensuring in their territory a higher level of safety and health of persons or workers, consumers and, where appropriate, domestic animals, in respect of the use of machinery.

The commissioning of a machine in accordance with this Directive shall relate only to its intended or at least foreseeable use. This shall not, however, prevent conditions of use unrelated to the machinery, provided that such actions do not involve changes which would make the machinery unsuitable for this Directive.

It is also necessary to provide for an appropriate mechanism to allow the adoption of specific measures requiring Member States to prohibit or restrict the placing on the market of certain types of machinery presenting a risk situation because of their technical specifications.

However, basic safety and health requirements must be met to keep machinery safe.

These conditions must be met with the highest criteria, also taking into account the state of the art at the time of construction and the technical and economic requirements.

The manufacturer or those for him must must, during the design and subsequently during the construction of the machine, that his product could be used by consumers, or non-professional operators.

The manufacturer should therefore be allowed to certify that the machine complies with the machinery Directive.

However, for categories of machines deemed more dangerous (such as those listed in Annex IV), a stricter certification procedure is desirable and necessary.

When the manufacturer has carried out an assessment of all the risks which could affect the machinery and verifies that they are minimised, he shall affix the CE conformity marking on that machinery.

The CE marking must be fully recognized as the only marking that guarantees the conformity of the machine according to the Machinery Directive. The use of any other marking which may mislead third parties, such as the meaning or the graphic symbol, is prohibited.

In order for the CE marking and the manufacturer’s mark to have the same quality, it is important that they are applied according to the same technique.

On the other hand, in order to be able to distinguish the CE markings present in the components and the CE marking of the machine, it is important that the latter is placed next to the name of the person responsible, that is, the manufacturer or the authorized representative.

The manufacturer or his authorised representative must also ensure that the risk assessment is carried out in relation to the machines to be placed on the market. They must therefore determine the essential health and safety requirements which apply to these machines and for which measures they must be taken.

It is essential that the manufacturer or the authorised representative who designs and builds the machinery, draws up the technical file of the construction before the EC declaration of conformity.

All documentation does not have to be permanently available as long as it is available on request.

In the event of non-compliance with the provisions of this Directive, Member States shall provide for a system of sanctions for the manufacturer of the product. These penalties should be effective, proportionate to the type of violation and deterrent.

In conclusion, the Machinery Directive applies for the purpose of determining the essential health and safety requirements to be met during design and manufacture. This is in order to improve the level of safety and the quality of the machines placed in the European market, so as to significantly lower the costs due to the health of workers.

It is very important to know and to respect the Machinery Directive, because in the case of problems that can be found due to negligence towards the Directive, one is subject to both civil and criminal sanctions.

AdVolo S.r.l. and its staff are familiar with all the details of this directive and will gladily share with you their knowledge and clarify your doubts in this regard.

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