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Essential health and safety requirements (EHSRs) of the Machinery Directive

Annex 1 of the Directive details the EHSRs for machinery (it is reproduced in full at schedule 2 of the UK regulations). The EHSRs are comprehensive and cover all aspects of the health and safety of machine users, and also others who may be affected (eg the safety of products used by consumers processed by certain machinery).

They are laid out in six sections:

Machinery, and other products in scope, must meet all relevant EHSRs where the corresponding hazard exists when the machine is used under conditions foreseen by the responsible person or in foreseeable abnormal situations. So for example a mobile elevating work access platform (MEWP) must meet all those relevant in sections 1, 3, 4 & 6 (and if it was intended for use underground then the EHSRs in section 5 would also apply).

The key EHSRs 1.1.2 Principles of safety integration, 1.7.3 Marking and 1.7.4 Instructions must be met for all products in scope of the Directive. However, taking account of the state of the art, it may not be possible to meet all of the objectives set by the EHSRs. Where this is not possible machinery must, as far as possible, be designed and constructed with the purpose of approaching the objectives of the EHSRs.

These principles are set out in EHSR 1.1.2 and in the 'General Principles' which are stated at the beginning of Annex 1. The iterative process of risk assessment and risk reduction in designing and constructing safe and complaint machinery is described there. EHSR 1.1.2 builds on this with the following fundamental principles:

Whilst its use is not compulsory, the harmonised standard BS EN ISO 12100:2010 Safety of machinery - General principles for design - Risk assessment and risk reduction (available from BSI) provides fundamental guidance and an overall framework for designers making decisions during the development of machinery to enable them to design machines that are safe for their intended use.

Updated: 2015-10-22