Essential health and safety requirements

When designing a machine, or checking whether it meets legal requirements, you will need to deal with all the essential health and safety requirements that are relevant to that machine.

The essential health and safety requirements (EHSRs), set out in Schedule 3 to the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008, are wide ranging and take into account potential dangers to operators and other exposed people within a danger zone. Manufacturers can refer directly to EHSRs or to a relevant transposed harmonised standard.

Machinery manufactured in conformity with a transposed harmonised standard will be presumed to comply with the essential requirements covered by that standard.

The EHSRs are divided into six parts:

  • Part 1
    • Preliminary observations
    • Principles of safety integration
    • General safety aspects
  • Part 2 Additional requirements for:
    • agri-foodstuffs machinery
    • portable hand-held machinery
    • machinery for woodworking and similar materials
  • Part 3 Particular requirements for the hazards arising from mobility
  • Part 4 Particular requirements for hazards associated with lifting (but not lifting people)
  • Part 5 Requirements for underground working
  • Part 6 Requirements for lifting and moving people

When you assess a machine, you should consider all of these parts, but not all will be relevant.

Relevant EHSRs are mandatory, but the Regulations recognise that, 'taking account of the state of the art', it may not be possible to meet the objectives set by them. In this event, machinery must be designed and constructed with the purpose of approaching those objectives, the objective being that machinery is safe and without risk to any person.

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