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European Directives Machinery Directive

This directive applies to machinery. It shall also apply to safety components placed on the market separately. Essential safety and health requirements given in the Annex 1 of the Directive are summarised below.

General requirements

  • The manufacturer has to assess the risks of its system in normal and abnormal uses, and during running and maintenance operations.
  • Materials and products shall not endanger exposed persons’ health and safety.
  • Suitable lightning shall be provided.
  • Machinery shall be designed so as to facilitate its safe handling, packaging and storage.


  • Control systems shall be safe and reliable.
  • Safety shall be taken into account :
    • for the design, localisation, signals of the control devices,
    • for the starting, the “re-starting”, and the modification of the running,
    • for the stopping procedures (normal stopping and emergency stop),
    • for the mode selection,
  • Prescriptions are given to ensure the safety of the equipment in case of failure of the power supply or of the control circuit.

Protection against mechanical hazards

  • Machinery, components and fittings thereof must be so designed and constructed that they are stable enough, under the foreseen operating conditions for use without risk of overturning, falling or unexpected movement.
  • Precautions shall be taken to prevent risks from falling or ejected objects.
  • Vibrations produced by the equipment shall be reduced to the lowest level
  • The various parts of the equipment and their linkages shall be so constructed that, when used normally, no instability, distortion, breakage or wear likely to impair their safety can occur.
  • In so far as their purpose allows, accessible parts of the equipment shall have no sharp edges, no sharp angles, and no rough surfaces likely to cause injury.
  • The moving parts of the equipment shall be designed to avoid hazards. Where hazards persist, adequate fixed guards or protective devices shall be installed.
  • Persons slipping, tripping or falling shall be prevented.

Required characteristics of guards and protection devices

  • General requirements are given for guards and protection devices and special requirements are given for movable, adjustable and fixed guards.

Protection against other hazards

Machinery must be designed and constructed by observing the following requirements.

  • All hazards of an electrical nature must be prevented and specific rules in force relating to electrical equipment designed for use within certain voltage limits must apply.
  • The build-up of potentially dangerous electrostatic charges must be prevented or /and the system must be fitted with a discharging system.
  • All potential hazards associated with other types of energy than electricity must be avoided.
  • Errors, likely to be made when fitting or refitting certain parts which could be a source of risk must be made impossible ; and where a faulty connection can be the source of risk, incorrect fluid connections, including electrical conductors, must be made impossible too.
  • Any risk of injury caused by contact with or proximity to equipment parts or materials at high or very low temperatures must be eliminated and the risk of hot or very cold material being ejected should be assessed.
  • All risk of fire or overheating and of explosion must be avoided. Precautions must be taken if the machine is intended to be used in a potentially explosive atmosphere. Dedicated Directives in force must be complied with for the electrical equipment.
  • Risks resulting from the emission of airborne noise and from vibrations are reduced to the lowest level.
  • Any emission of radiation is limited to the extent necessary for its operation and the effects on exposed persons are non-existent or reduced to non-dangerous proportions.
  • External radiation must not interfere with the equipment running.
  • Risks due to gases, liquids, dust, vapours and other waste materials which it produces must be avoided.


  • Maintenance areas shall be located outside hazardous zones.
  • The equipment shall be at a standstill during maintenance.
  • Access to operating position and servicing points must be facilitated.
  • All machinery must be fitted with means to isolate it from all energy sources.
  • The need for operator intervention shall be limited, if not it must be possible to carry it out easily and in safety.

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Page last modified on December 03, 2008, at 11:57 AM