The Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC provides the harmonisation of the essential health and safety requirements for machinery, through a combination of mandatory health and safety requirements and voluntary harmonised standards. Such directives apply only to products that are intended to be placed on or put into service in the market for the first time.
Machinery is primarily described in the Directive 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".
The manufacturer is responsible for verifying whether a particular product falls within the scope of the Machinery Directive.
The Machinery Directive is implemented in the United Kingdom under the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008.
The letters 'CE' on a machine is the manufacturer's claim that the machine meets the essential health and safety requirements (ESHR’s) of the Machinery Directive and may also include the Low Voltage Directive, EMC Directive, Pressure Directive, etc., etc.
The ESHR’s for machinery take into account potential dangers to operators and other persons using or affected by the machine. ESHR’s include, materials used in the construction; lighting; controls; stability; fire; noise; vibration; radiation; emission of dust, gasses etc.; maintenance and documentation.
Compliance with the appropriate Harmonised European Standards (“Euro Norms” or EN’s) is recognised as meeting with the appropriate ESHR’s.
Before a product is placed on the market the following must happen:
The manufacturer must put together a "Technical File", a document which makes it possible to assess whether the product complies with the directive
The manufacturer or the authorised representative must draw up a ‘Declaration of Conformity’ (or for partially completed equipment, a 'Declaration of Incorporation').
The manufacturer or the authorised representative must affix the CE mark.
A copy of the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC may be downloaded here.