The new EU Regulation introduces more concrete machinery safety provisions that are a legal requirement for machinery manufacturers. This gives machinery end-users more legal certainty by defining binding requirements imposed on the design, construction and placing into operation of machinery and related products. Also, the current Directive is more flexible, allowing for different interpretations by regional authorities, but this has created legal uncertainties for some machinery manufacturers and users of the Directive, when exporting to different jurisdictions.

I recently spoke to Ben Dobbs, head, Global Standards and Legislation, LEEA, who said the knock-on effect of the Machinery Regulation means it is revising a lot of standards and trying to align them to new health and safety requirements and this is causing minor revisions to some existing codes. Also, the advent of IIoT and Industry 4.0 has seen more smarter machinery and connected factories but the old Machinery Directive was not up-to-date to tackle the emergence of new safety and security risks presented by connected equipment.

Areas now addressed by the Regulation include the cybersecurity of safety control systems; software related to the conformity assessment of machinery; ie use of AI in safety functions; autonomous and remote-controlled mobile machinery and collaborative robots (cobots).

“We’re at a significant turning point with respect to legislation on the European level, but this will affect our members globally as well, at least those planning to place products on the EU market. We’re in a transition period between the old Machinery Directive and the new Machinery Regulation. One of the things we will be doing starting this summer, is rewriting our old guide on the application of the Machinery Directive to make it applicable to the Machinery Regulation,” said Dobbs.