European Machinery Directive frequently asked questions

For more information see the Machinery Directive PDF (file size 1401k).

When was the Machinery Directive implemented?
On 14 June 1989, the Council of the European Communities adopted a directive (89/392/EEC) requiring the approximation of the laws of the member states relating to machinery.

The Machinery Directive has been implemented in the United Kingdom by the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 1992 which came into force on 1 January 1993.

The Second Amending Directive (93/44/EEC) was incorporated into the UK Regulations by Statutory Instrument 1994 No. 2063. The Third Amending Directive (98/37/EC) has not yet been incorporated into UK Regulation.

What do I need to do to comply with the directive?
Any organization that is involved in the design, installation, operation, use and modification of machinery is responsible for ensuring they fulfil their legal obligations regarding health and safety, and in particular, compliance with the Machinery Directive.

The easiest route to demonstrate compliance with the directive is to apply machinery safety standards. Manufacturers have to notify the intention to place certain products on the market and market surveillance authorities communicate with manufacturers when it suspects that products do not comply with the directive.

To help you with the practical application of machinery safety standards, BSI’s experts have developed authoritative information relating to machinery safety.

British Standards can offer services approving many products defined in Annex IV of the Directive and can help manufacturers with testing and compliance needs for the whole range of products defined in the directive.

The standards and guidance have been developed to assist the manufacturing industry with the interpretation, technical requirements, correct application and legal implications of the Machinery Directive.

Developments in standardization for machinery safety
Organizations that are involved in the design, installation, operation, use and modification of machinery need to be aware of changes in standards and the growing importance of functional safety of safety-related control systems. This subject is related to systems - including interlocking and/or safeguarding systems - that use electrical, electronic and/or programmable electronic equipment to perform safety functions that can prevent hazardous situations by effective control of machinery.

The UK national technical committees GEL/44 and MCE/3 were established to define and represent the UK’s position on standardisation for machinery safety, including electrotechnical aspects. The committees are representative of the interests of users, manufacturers, government departments and other bodies concerned with their work. Standards are developed through a process of consultation with key stakeholders from industry, environmental groups and the government.

The members of these committees have developed authoritative information to enable the practical application of machinery safety standards. Significant developments in standards that affect safety of machinery are also covered.

Standards for machinery safety - an overview
Design of safety-related control systems of machinery has for the past ten years been the subject of BS EN 954-1. This standard takes a 'parts' based approach and classifies safety-related parts of control systems into categories, depending upon their ability to tolerate faults.

The recent move towards functional safety has been recognised in BS EN 61508 (a basic safety publication in IEC) that has a 'systems' based approach where greater emphasis is placed upon the correct specification and implementation of safety functions.

The integrity of safety functions is classified into one of four safety integrity levels (SILs). These SILs can be considered to define a performance target for electrical, electronic and/or programmable electronic systems that perform safety functions.

BS EN 62061 is a harmonised standard for the machinery sector and implements the principles of BS EN 61508. Significantly for control systems designers and systems integrators, BS EN 62061 provides the basis for the successful integration of subsystems/parts that comply with BS EN 954-1 and IEC/EN 61508 into safety-related electrical control systems (SRECS) in a logical manner that satisfies key requirements for functional safety. This transparent approach towards integration is an essential aspect of the structured SRECS design methodology of BS EN 62061 that can be demonstrated to provide confidence in any presumptions of conformity with relevant EHSRs of the Machinery Directive.

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