Principles for the safe design of machinery

Principles for the safe design of machinery

Five steps to safe design

Annex I of the Machinery Directive defines five steps as the basis for designing safety-related machinery:

1. Define the limits of the machinery. This includes intended use and any reasonably foreseeable misuse.

2. Identify the hazards that can be generated by the machinery and the associated hazardous situations.

3. Estimate the risks, taking into account the severity of the possible injury or damage to health and the probability of its occurrence.

4. Evaluate the risks, with a view to determining whether risk reduction is required, in accordance with the objective of this Directive.

5. Eliminate the hazards or reduce the risks associated with these hazards by application of protective measures, in the order of priority established in section 1.1.2(b).

The directive for the safe design of machinery is relevant for whom?

Under the terms of the Machinery Directive, a machine manufacturer must perform a risk assessment in order to identify all the hazards associated with his machine. He must then design and construct it taking account of his assessment.

This requirement also applies to operators, who act as manufacturers under the terms of the Machinery Directive. This is the case, for example, when machines are interlinked or for machinery that has been upgraded and substantially modified in the process.


Risk assessment and risk reduction in accordance with EN ISO 12100

EN ISO 12100 explains methods for risk assessment. The risk assessment consists of a risk analysis and risk evaluation.

Standard Title

EN ISO 12100

Safety of machinery
General principles for design. Risk assessment and risk reduction


Further information:

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