In the following we answer some questions why the Machinery Directive has been revised, what is the current state of negotiations and what will change in terms of content. Please note that the new Machinery Regulation has not yet been officially published.
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On December 15, 2022, EU Council and EU Parliament negotiators reached preliminary political agreement on a new Machinery Regulation. This will replace the current Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC. On January 25, 2023, the Chairman of the Permanent Representatives Committee informed the Chairwomen of the Committee on the Internal Market and Comsumption Protection about the above mentioned political agreement. The letter indicates that, subject to minor legal revisions (numbering, etc.), the currently available text will be adopted accordingly. On March 02, 2023, the final voting list was submitted to the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO). After a positive result, the legislative text will be translated into the individual official languages, after which a publication of the regulation in the Official Journal of the EU can take place. Currently, the final version is still being worked on. There are already first translations, but they are still in progress.It is expected that a final German version will be published in the next few weeks.
The negotiations so far have taken place as so-called "informal trilogues". This means that the official decisions, especially in the EU Parliament are still pending. Until the new regulation is actually published in the EU Official Journal, so some time will pass. It can be assumed that the official vote will take place in April or May 2023. A final version of the regulation will most likely be available before the vote.
The draft Machinery Regulation provides for a key date regulation, i.e. that the current Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC is to be applied until a certain date and then the new Machinery Regulation. Manufacturers thus have time to prepare for the new requirements, but must meet the new requirements by the deadline. It can be assumed that nothing has changed in the key date regulation, although many observers have hoped that an actual transition period will be introduced.
The exact date depends on the official publication date of the regulation in the Official Journal of the EU, so currently no exact date can be given. However, it is known that the negotiators have agreed that the new regulation is to be applied 42 months after its entry into force (= usually 20 days after publication in the Official Journal of the EU). This means that the new requirements must be applied from mid/late 2026. However, companies must already deal with the new requirements before the effective date, as from the effective date the declaration of conformity, technical documentation, etc. must already have been prepared in accordance with the new regulation.
Please note that the following is only a rough overview of some of the changes in content. To list all changes in detail would go beyond the scope of a technical paper.
Currently, machinery safety in Europe is regulated by Directive 2006/42/EC (Machinery Directive). By establishing the European requirements as a directive, member states had more flexibility in meeting the directive's objectives. However, this has also led to different interpretations and thus, in part, to legal uncertainties for users of the directive, such as manufacturers. If these exported their machines or plants e.g. into different countries of the EU and there by local authorities details interpreted sometimes somewhat differently.
With the aim of reducing the administrative burden, the directive has now been replaced by a regulation. This must be applied directly in all member states. This means that different national interpretations should be significantly reduced and thus the legal clarity is improved. In addition, the administrative burden for economic operators, such as manufacturers, should also be reduced.
We started preliminary work some time ago to enable our customers to carry out conformity assessment procedures in accordance with the new Machinery Regulation as soon as possible after its publication. This is particularly relevant for very complex projects whose date of placing on the market is later than autumn 2026.
Of course, we will not be able to finalize the functionalities until the official documents are available. Implementing the new requirements in Safexpert has top priority.
Posted on: 2023-03-15 (last amendment)
Johannes Windeler-Frick, MSc ETH Managing Director of IBF Solutions AG, the Swiss subsidiary of IBF in Zürich. Johannes is a trainer for both the Machinery Directive (MD) as well as the Low Voltage Directive (LVD). He studied electrical engineering at ETH Zürich with a specialization in energy systems.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | www.ibf-solutions.com
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