History of the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC

From the point of view of European regulations for safety, there are two major types of texts:

  • economic directives
  • social directives

European economic directives

Economic directives apply to products. They were taken under the new approach in order to facilitate the free movement of goods and products in the European Union by removing barriers to trade in the European market. The particularity of these guidelines is that they set the basic requirements or Essential Health and Safety Requirements (EHSR) that apply to all manufacturers who wish to put their products on the European market. If a product meets the essential health and safety requirements, then the product can be placed on the market.

One way of demonstrating compliance with the Essential Health and Safety Requirements (EHSR) can be done through compliance with harmonized European standards or any other solution that allows to demonstrate a similar level of safety.

For industrial products, the main product directives that apply are the following guidelines:

  • Directive 2006/42/EC (which replaces the directives 98/37/EC and 89/392/EEC)
  • Low Voltage Directive 2006/95/EC of 12 December 2006 (which replaces Directive 73/23/EEC)
  • Directive 94/9/EC of 23 March 1994
  • Directive on general product safety 2001/95/EC
  • EMC Directive 2004/108/EC of 15 December 2004 (which replaces Directive 89/336/EEC of 23 May 1989)
  • Machinery Directive is therefore part of the economic guidelines. It applies to products designed to be sold (or enabled) in the European Union for the first time. It is intended for manufacturers, importers and dealers of machinery and safety components and applies to new machines. This directive harmonizing the level of safety of products designed and manufactured by different manufacturers.

The  already installed machines are outside the scope of this Directive, because they are already on the market. Regarding the resale of used machines of national regulations describe the procedures to be followed.

The first publication of the Machinery Directive took place in 1989 - Directive 89/392/EEC of 14/06/89 published in OJ L 183 of 06.29.89 according to Article 100a of the Rome Treaty. The date of entry into force of this Directive was 1 January 1993, with a mandatory effective dated on January 1, 1995. This Directive was consolidated by different directives.

  • Directive 91/368/EEC, which extended the scope of the Machinery Directive to interchangeable equipment, machinery moving and lifting machinery (excluding people). Therefore, Annex I has been expanded (adding / modifying parts 3, 4 and 5 of Annex I of the Directive).
  • Directive 93/44/EEC, which extended the scope of the Machinery Directive:
    • safety components,
    • Machinery intended for lifting,
    • the movement of people.
  • Directive 93/68/EEC has introduced harmonized provisions relating to "CE" marking.

A second publication of the Machinery Directive took place in 1998 - Directive 98/37/EC of 22 June 1998 on the harmonization of the laws of all Member States relating to machinery. This directive is is the codified version of Directive 89/392/EEC as amended by the directives listed above.

Machinery Directive 98/37/EC remained in force until 29 December 2009.

The third publication of the Machinery Directive took place in 2006 - called new Directive 2006/42/EC, and was adopted in April and June 9, 2006 published in the Official Journal of the EU.

The first recital of Directive 2006/42/EC notes that this "new Machinery Directive " is not entirely new, but is based on Directive 98/37/EC which itself has codified Directive "Machinery" 89/392/EEC amended by Directives 91/368/EEC, 93/44/EEC, 93/68/EEC and 98/79/EC (ie say together the original Directive with its successive amendments in a single legal text) .

Requirements of the new Machinery Directive were transcribed into national law of each country of the European Union (transcript had to be made before June 29, 2008) so that this new machine Directive shall apply starting from 29 December 2009 and replaces Machinery Directive 98/37/EC.

Requirements of this new machinery directive and associated European regulations concerns both manufacturers of machine and safety components, machinery distributors and users. The new Directive 2006/42/EC lays down the foundation and regulatory basis for the harmonization of Essential Health and Safety Requirements (EHSR) in the field of machinery at Community level.

No transition period took place in 2009, because OEMs had more than three years to anticipate these developments and be aware of new requirements.

Changes in relation to the Essential Health and Safety Requirements (EHSR) of the previous directive, do not deeply change the Essential Health and Safety Requirements (EHSR).


The European social directives

Social directives are not directly addressed to OEMs but are for users of machines. These social directives are not in the scope of this site.