Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC – The text and the harmonized EN standards

Complying with any EU CE marking Directive will require a trip to one of many European Commission websites that are set up to assist with the process. They are great sources of information, I have them bookmarked, and one or more are open on my computer usually during the day.

The Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC site is here:

Clicking that link will take you to a lot of good information. I have been asked a few times in the past two weeks about this so now is the time to lay it out in a (hopefully) useful F2 Tech Notes blog article.

The first thing you will see on that page is this chart:

There are two very important links in that chart. The innocuous label “OL No L 157, 9 June 2006” is a link to the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC. Open that link and you will see the text of the Directive but also this:

English is my first language, so I scroll over to the “EN” and then click the pdf symbol below it. That opens a pdf version of the Machinery Directive in English, here. It opens as displayed below.

Are you new to CE marking and the Machinery Directive? I tell every F2 Labs customer the following, “Skip the recitals and go straight to Article 1. It’s all in plain English.” See below.

Next, go to Article 2 to see that everything in Article 1 has an easy-to-read definition.

The second very useful item in the chart from the top of this article is this:

I highly suggest clicking the link for the Guide to application of the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC and saving it somewhere that is easy to get to. Because if you make machinery and you export to the EU you may learn that it is an invaluable tool that can be constantly referenced and learned from.

Next (and last) on the overall Machinery Directive page are the links to the Official Journal of the EU lists of harmonized EN standards. These are very important because only harmonized standards offer the presumption of conformity for your machinery.

Side note: What does this mean? It means that if you are complying with the Machinery Directive and you use the appropriate and applicable harmonized EN standards (harmonized means the standard is officially “linked” to the corresponding Directive) to evaluate and test – and it passes – then your equipment has the presumption of conformity. The authorities or anyone else looking at the equipment should assume it complies with the reference legislation when reviewing your EU declaration of conformity if you used harmonized EN standards.

Now, we turn our attention back to the Machinery Directive page we began this article with. Please, see three long links:

Those links are all important but they are all different. Choose wisely!

The first, for (EU) 2019/863, lists a number of standards that are withdrawn as harmonized standards for the Machinery Directive. The associated dates next to each standard tell you when you can no longer indicate these standards on your declaration of conformity if they are applicable to your equipment. You will have to find a different set of standards to test/evaluate. This Commission Implementing Decision was published this month (November 2019) to address some ambiguities and mistakes made in the second link ((EU) 2019/436). One notable mistake is that (EU) 2019/436 calls for the withdrawal of EN ISO 12100:2010. We wrote about that, here, because it was a major development.

Another correction to (EU) 2019/436 is that it lists standards to be withdrawn but does not indicate the date at which they (the indicated, withdrawn standards) no longer confer a presumption of conformity (i.e., the date you can no longer use them to prove compliance to the Machinery Directive).

The second, for (EU) 2019/436, lists the following:

  • Annex I – applicable new or amended harmonized EN standards
  • Annex II – harmonized EN standards that now have restrictions
  • Annex III harmonized EN standards to be withdrawn (but no date for withdrawal, see (EU) 2019/863)

Finally, we arrive at the current “list” of harmonized EN standards for the Machinery Directive in the last link:

That link takes you to the current list that is published in the Official Journal of the EU, or “OJ” as it is often referred.

At this time, for any new projects, we suggest that (EU) all three links must be consulted if you are determining which EN standards are applicable to your equipment. Or, contact us at F2 Labs. We can help sort it out.

We can be contacted via this link. We can be reached by phone at 877-405-1580 and are here to help you.

F2 Labs is here to help.

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