Council and European Parliament agree on new safety requirements for machinery products
The Council and the European Parliament negotiators have reached a provisional agreement on the regulation for machinery products. The proposed legislation transforms the 2006 machinery directive into a regulation. The 2006 directive is one of the main pieces of legislation governing the harmonisation of essential health and safety requirements for machinery at EU level. It promotes the free movement of machinery within the single market and ensures a high level of safety for EU workers and citizens.
Jozef Síkela, Czech minister for industry and trade recently said:
The updated machinery rules will help us to protect EU workers and consumers better and will harmonise safety rules across EU countries. This will also greatly enhance the credibility and good name of the European industry and increase its competitiveness on the global stage.
Transforming the directive into a regulation will constitute the legal framework that is directly applicable in all members states and is clear for all economic operators. The regulation will also cover new risks linked to emerging technologies.
High-risk machinery products
The Council and the European Parliament agreed to divide the list of 'high risk' machinery with mandatory third-party conformity assessment, as proposed by the Commission in Annex 1, into two parts. According to the agreement, only 6 categories of machinery will be subject to this mandatory third-party conformity assessment. This keeps the option of self-assessment of conformity by manufacturers open for most categories of products, whereby the involvement of conformity assessment bodies is a choice manufacturers make depending on which conformity assessment procedure they choose to apply.
After careful assessment and consultations with relevant stakeholders, the European Commission will be able to update this list of products, which need to be assessed by a conformity assessment body because of their complexity and because of the potential risks they can pose. This will provide a balance between the need to ensure the highest level of safety and the need to avoid imposing a disproportionate burden on the EU industry.
The regulation strikes a fair balance between digital and paper documentation. This means that the co-legislators agreed in principle that:
- digital instructions will be the default option
- paper instructions will remain an option at the moment of purchase for customers without access to digital copy
- basic safety information will have to be provided with every product
To guarantee legal certainty, the co-legislators decided to clarify the scope and definitions as proposed by the European Commission. In particular, they agreed not to exclude small vehicles used for personal transport and light electric vehicles such as electric scooters and electric bikes, since they are widely used and could potentially be dangerous for their users.
The provisional agreement reached today is subject to approval by the Council and the European Parliament. After the formal steps of adoption have been completed, member states will have 42 months to apply the rules of the regulation.
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