Directives and laws

Worldwide safety of man and machine

Directives and laws

Most countries have binding regulations for making plant and machinery safe. Find out more about the key safety-related legal principles in:

Directives and laws in Europe (EU directives)

EU directives are a peculiarity in the law of the European Union, as they are not actually directives in the original meaning of the word. In fact they are directed at national legislators within the EU. These are called upon to incorporate the European directives into national law. In Germany for example this is generally incorporated via the Product Safety Act (ProdSG).

The requirements of all relevant European directives need to be met for the safe design of machinery. The aim of the EU directives is to guarantee the free movement of goods within the EU. Of the almost 30 active EU directives now available, only a small selection is relevant to the typical machine builder.


Overview of the most important EU directives

Here is an overview of the most important EU directives. The full texts of the directives are available from the EU at:

  • Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC
    Essential health and safety requirements for the design and construction of machinery
  • EMC Directive 2014/30/EC
    Proper functioning of electrical/electronic devices with regard to electromagnetic fields
  • Low Voltage Directive 2014/35/EC
    Health and safety requirements with regard to hazards from electrical current
  • Other directives, for example:
    - Pressure Equipment Directive 2014/68/EC, ATEX Directive 2014/34/EC, Elevator Directive 2014/33/EU

There is mandatory CE marking for products that fall under one or more of the above EU directives. These products must also be accompanied by a declaration of conformity. With a declaration of conformity the manufacturer confirms that his product meets all the requirements of the European directives that relate to his product. This means he can launch and sell his product within the scope of the EU without consideration of any national provisions.


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