The definition of machinery in the Machinery Directive
The UK has left the EU, new rules from January 2021
The transition period after Brexit comes to an end this year.
Machinery within scope of the Directive is interpreted very widely and means (quoting from Article 2(a) of 2006/42/EC):
- 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
- an assembly referred to in the first indent (above), missing only the components to connect it on site or to sources of energy and motion
- an assembly referred to in the first and second indents (above), ready to be installed and able to function as it stands only if mounted on a means of transport, or installed in a building or a structure
- assemblies of machinery referred to in the first, second and third indents (above) or partly completed machinery (also a defined term, see below) which, in order to achieve the same end, are arranged and controlled so that they function as an integral whole
- an assembly of linked parts or components, at least one of which moves and which are joined together, intended for lifting loads and whose only power source is directly applied human effort
thus products missing only the electric motor, requiring mounting (eg a hydraulic lifting arm) onto a vehicle or structure / building), or to be assembled with others are all regarded as machinery in the strict sense.
What else is in scope of the Machinery Directive?
In addition to machinery in the strict sense, Article 1(1) of the Directive brings into scope several other related products under a "broader" use of the word machinery. These are, with their accompanying definitions (from Article 2):
- 'interchangeable equipment' means a device which, after the putting into service of machinery or of a tractor, is assembled with that machinery or tractor by the operator himself in order to change its function or attribute a new function, in so far as this equipment is not a tool
- 'safety component' means a component:
- which serves to fulfil a safety function
- which is independently placed on the market
- the failure and/or malfunction of which endangers the safety of persons, and
- which is not necessary in order for the machinery to function, or for which normal components may be substituted in order for the machinery to function
- An indicative list of safety components is set out in Annex V, which may be updated in accordance with Article 8(1)(a)
- 'lifting accessory' means a component or equipment not attached to the lifting machinery, allowing the load to be held, which is placed between the machinery and the load or on the load itself, or which is intended to constitute an integral part of the load and which is independently placed on the market; slings and their components are also regarded as lifting accessories
- 'chains, ropes and webbing' means chains, ropes and webbing designed and constructed for lifting purposes as part of lifting machinery or lifting accessories
- 'removable mechanical transmission device' means a removable component for transmitting power between self-propelled machinery or a tractor and another machine by joining them at the first fixed bearing. When it is placed on the market with the guard it shall be regarded as one product
Products fitting within these definitions shall be treated as if they were machinery, and so subject to the full provisions of the Directive in the same way as machinery (including Declaration of Conformity, CE marking and user instructions in English).
In the case of safety components (as defined above, but note those supplied as spare parts by the original machine manufacturer are excluded from scope), the instructions for use should clearly state:
- how the safety component should be installed and used (eg how a two-hand control device should be wired into the existing machine control system),
- and, where relevant, the limitations for use (ie what it is not suitable for), or for example, if it is a mesh guard, what minimum distance it must be positioned from the dangerous parts to meet the EHSRs.
One further class of products that are almost machinery are brought into scope of the Directive, but they are treated slightly differently to "machinery" as defined above:
- 'partly completed machinery' means an assembly which is almost machinery but which cannot in itself perform a specific application. A drive system is partly completed machinery. Partly completed machinery is only intended to be incorporated into or assembled with other machinery or other partly completed machinery or equipment, thereby forming machinery to which this Directive applies
In the case of partly completed machinery it must not be supplied CE marked and instead of a Declaration of Conformity must be accompanied by a Declaration of Incorporation. It must also be supplied with instructions for its safe incorporation in an assembly with other machinery, partly completed machinery or equipment to form a machine. The person / organisation undertaking the final incorporation / assembly process to form the final machine then becomes the manufacturer of the complete product. As such they have to meet the requirements of the Directive, apply the CE mark and issue a Declaration of Conformity for the complete machine or assembly.
What is NOT in scope of the Machinery Directive?
Article 1(2) (reproduced at schedule 3 of the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations) provides a list of products which are excluded from the Directive, for example:
- safety components intended to be used as spare parts to replace identical components and supplied by the manufacturer of the original machinery
- equipment for use in fairgrounds and amusement parks
- certain means of land and sea transport (mostly covered by other Directives or international maritime law)
- certain electrical equipment such as household appliances for domestic use, audio and visual equipment, IT equipment, ordinary office machinery and electric motors (covered by the Low Voltage Directive instead)
Other machines covered by other Directives are also excluded, for example:
- lifts meeting the Lifts Directive 95/16/EC (as amended by 2006/42/EC),
- cableways meeting the Cableways Directive 2000/9/EC, and
- machinery which is also a medical device so subject to the Medical Devices Directive 93/42/EC (as amended), although those machinery EHSRs that are relevant are "called up" by the Medical Devices Directive.
Further details on these and other European Directives which interface or overlap with the Machinery Directive are given at paragraphs 90-92 of the European Commission guide on the application of the Machinery Directive.