CE Marking Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC Assessments

Machinery Directive: Everything You Need to Know

The Machinery Directive is a set of essential health and safety requirements applying to machinery used in the workplace and at home. The full version of the Machinery Directive runs to 63 pages. In this guide, we’ll outline the things you really need to know.

If you have any questions about the Machinery Directive or CE Marking, drop us an email and we’ll get straight back to you. 

What is the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC?

Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC is the European legislation harmonising individual country laws governing the sale and supply of machinery. The European Parliament bought it into force on 29 December 2009.

It relates to the supply, sale or free movement of any machinery within the European Union and their member states. The aim is to provide a high level of protection against harm or damage from machinery, whilst giving manufacturers a single legislative framework for the European market. 

Achieving compliance is the responsibility of the buyer or user-facing party and can include manufacturers, importers, distributors and suppliers. We can help you achieve the necessary CE marking and certification

The European Machinery Directive also applies to some machinery after it has been modified, and non-CE marked machinery which has been introduced onto the EEA market for the first time.

Who enforces the Machinery Directive?

In the UK, Machinery Directive regulations are enforced by the Health and Safety Executive when the machinery is used in the workplace. The Trading Standards Service enforces regulations when machinery is used at home.

What are the penalties for non-compliance?

Penalties for non-compliance are designed to be “effective, proportionate and dissuasive”, and can include a maximum of two years in prison. Fines imposed can run to thousands of pounds. The Health and Safety Executive has the authority to ask for a machine or component to be permanently replaced and recalled.

How to comply with the Machinery Directive

For organisations performing conformity assessments, there are two options permitted by the Machinery Directive.


A manufacturer may perform and document the conformity assessment themselves.

Involvement of a notified body 

A manufacturer may employ the services of a third party certification body, known as the Notified Body.

In either case, the manufacturer or Notified Body will sign a declaration of conformity which states that the design and construction of the product is compliant.

Which machines does the directive apply to?

The Machinery Directive specifies a list of 23 machines for which it is mandatory to involve a Notified Body in the conformity assessment (option B above). This list is named Annex IV, and includes:

  1. Circular saws and sawing machinery
  2. Hand-fed surface planing machinery for woodworking
  3. Thicknessers for one-side dressing having a built-in mechanical feed device, with manual loading and/or unloading for woodworking
  4. Band-saws with manual loading and/or unloading for working with wood and material
  5. Combined machinery of the types referred to in points 1 to 4 and in point 7 for working with wood and material
  6. Hand-fed tenoning machinery with several tool holders for woodworking
  7. Hand-fed vertical spindle moulding machinery for working with wood and material with similar physical characteristics
  8. Portable chainsaws for woodworking
  9. Presses, including press-brakes, for the cold working of metals, with manual loading and/or unloading, whose movable working parts may have a travel exceeding 6 mm and a speed exceeding 30 mm/s
  10. Injection or compression plastics-moulding machinery with manual loading or unloading
  11. Injection or compression rubber-moulding machinery with manual loading or unloading
  12. Machinery for underground working of the following types such as locomotives, brake-vans and hydraulic-powered roof supports
  13. Manually loaded trucks for the collection of household refuse incorporating a compression mechanism
  14. Removable mechanical transmission devices including their guards
  15. Guards for removable mechanical transmission devices
  16. Vehicle servicing lifts
  17. Devices for the lifting of persons or of persons and goods involving a hazard of falling from a vertical height of more than three metres
  18. Portable cartridge-operated fixing and other impact machinery
  19. Protective devices designed to detect the presence of persons
  20. Power-operated interlocking movable guards designed to be used as safeguards in machinery referred to in points 9, 10 and 11
  21. Logic units to ensure safety functions
  22. Roll-over protective structures
  23. Falling-object protective structures

For a detailed version of the Annex IV list, see page 45 of the full Machinery Directive. It’s worth nothing that medical devices may also be subject to the Medical Devices Directive.

How does the Machinery Directive classify machinery?

The Machinery Directive defines the scope of the machinery it covers as:

  • An assembly, fitted with or intended to be fitted with a drive system other than directly applied human or animal effort, consisting of linked parts or components, at least one of which moves, and which are joined together for a specific application.
  • An assembly referred to in the first indent (above), missing only the components to connect it on site or to sources of energy and motion.
  • An assembly referred to in the first and second indents (above), ready to be installed and able to function as it stands only if mounted on a means of transport, or installed in a building or a structure.
  • Assemblies of machinery referred to in the first, second and third indents (above) or partly completed machinery (also a defined term, see below) which, in order to achieve the same end, are arranged and controlled so that they function as an integral whole.
  • An assembly of linked parts or components, at least one of which moves and which are joined together, intended for lifting loads and whose only power source is directly applied human effort.
  • Thus products missing only the electric motor, requiring mounting (e.g. a hydraulic lifting arm) onto a vehicle or structure / building), or to be assembled with others are all regarded as machinery in the strict sense.

Other items covered by the Machinery Directive

There are also other pieces of equipment which are covered by the Machinery Directive. These include:

  • Interchangeable equipment, such as machinery which has previously been used for another purpose
  • Safety components, the function of which can be necessary for the safety of the machine
  • Lifting accessories, which can be placed between machinery and a load 
  • Chains, ropes and webbing
  • Removable mechanical transmission devices such as components used to transmit power between two machines

If you are still unsure whether the Directive applies to your devices, see the entire classification on page 4 (Article 2 – Definitions) of the full Machinery Directive.

IES Machinery Directive Assessments are trusted around the world

IES is trusted by blue chip clients around the world to provide support and solutions in relation to the Machinery Directive.

We offer trusted CE marking compliance support for any machinery that falls within the Machinery Directive, including; production tools, test rigs, automation systems, lighting controls and industrial ovens.

Run us through the details of your machinery, and we can help you determine the best solution for European Machinery Directive compliance. 

Call us on +44 (0)117 938 0600 or use our contact form.


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