Roymech engineering encyclopedia

Engineering Directives

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Machinery Directive, Pressure Directives, CE Marking, EMC, ATEX

Engineering Directives & Regulations

To permit the free circulation of goods, as expressed in the Rome Treaty, the founding act of the European Union, the European Commission publishes directives that are common to all the Member States that define the essential requirements to be satisfied by such goods before they are put on the market, or during the probable period of their use.. Notes on some of the directives are provided below

The CE Mark

Products meeting the requirements of all appropriate directives must carry the CE mark.

Under whichever route a manufacturer has chosen to follow, he/she is required to complete a Declaration of Conformity and place the CE marking on the equipment.

The Marking should be affixed to one of the following:

  • the equipment itself; or
  • the packaging of the equipment; or
  • the instructions for use; or
  • the guarantee certificate.

By affixing the CE marking to the equipment a manufacturer is making a statement that his/her equipment meets the requirement of all relevant directives. It is for the manufacturer to decide which directives are applicable.

Machinery Directive (2006/42/EC)

The Machinery Directive came into full force in the U.K. from the 1st January 1995.    Directive 2006/42/EC superseded Directive 98/37/EC on 29 December 2009.

All machinery manufactured for use in the European community must be manufactured and supplied in conformity with the Machinery Directive...
For the purpose of the directive, 'machinery' means an assembly of linked parts or components, at least one of which moves, with the appropriate actuators, control and power circuits, etc., joined together for a specific application, in particular for the processing, treatment, moving or packaging of material.

For most items of machinery, the manufacturer (or their authorised representative) can self-certify, that is they design their products to meet the requirements of the Directive and sign a Declaration of Conformity.   This declaration of conformity needs to be backed up with the Technical File.   The Technical File has to be retained for a period of 10 years after the manufacture of the machine (or the last machine of a production run).

Equipment manufactured for the manufacturer's own use is not excluded from the requirements, but may be subject to slightly lesser obligations with respect to marking and documentation.

Pressure Equipment Directive (97/23/EC)

Pressure equipment and assemblies subject to an internal pressure greater than 0.5 bar.   The Regulations therefore concern manufacturers of items such as shell and water tube boilers, heat exchangers, vessels, pressurised storage containers, industrial pipework and accessories.

The PED has been enacted in UK law.  From 29 May 2002 the pressure equipment directive is obligatory throughout the EU.

The Low Voltage Directive (LVD)

The LVD ( 2006/95/EC ) regulates the safety of electrical equipment (including the non-electrical aspects of safety).   It came into force in September 1974, but was amended by Directive 93/68/EC to make it consistent with the other CE Marking Directives in the European Union.   As a result of this, CE marking for the safety of electrical equipment became mandatory on 1 January 1997. The amendment also introduced new documentation requirements.  Issue 2006/95/EC is the latest version of this document.

The LVD applies to any electrical apparatus or device for use between 50 and 1000VAC or between 75 and 1500VDC.    The Directive covers electrical equipment with a voltage between 50 and 1000 V for alternating current, and between 75 and 1500 V for direct current.     It should be noted that these voltage ratings refer to the voltage of the electrical input or output, not to voltages that may appear inside the equipment.

    Exemptions include equipment covered by other Directives such as:

  • Electrical equipment for use in a potentially explosive atmosphere.
  • Electrical equipment for radiology and medical purposes.
  • Electrical parts for goods and passenger lifts.
  • Electricity meters.
  • Plugs and socket outlets for domestic use.
  • Electric fence controllers.
ElectroMagnetic Compatibility (EMC) -2004/108/EC

Since 1 January 1996, most electrical and electronic products sold in the EU must be constructed so that they do not cause excessive electromagnetic interference and are not duly affected by electromagnetic interference....

They must carry the CE mark to show that they comply with these requirements and a manufacturer's declaration of conformity must be prepared for each product, and be made available to the authorities on request for up to 10 years after the last product of that type has been manufactured.

Note:.The latest version of this directive (2004/108/EC) was issued 15 Dec 2004

Phenomena regarded as electromagnetic disturbances

    Conducted low-frequency phenomena
  • slow variations of supply voltages
  • harmonics, interharmonics
  • signalling voltages
  • voltage fluctuations
  • voltage unbalance
  • power-frequency variations
  • induced low-frequency voltages
  • DC in AC networks
  • DC ground circuits
    Radiated low-frequency phenomena
  • magnetic fields (continuous or transient)
  • electric fields

    Conducted high-frequency phenomena

  • induced continuous wave (CW) voltage or currents
  • unidirectional transients

    Radiated high-frequency phenomena

  • magnetic fields
  • electric fields
  • electromagnetic fields
  • continuous waves
  • transients

    Electrostatic discharge (ESD) phenomena

ATEX 100A (95) and ATEX 137

( Named after the French "ATmosphere EXplosible" ).
From July 1, 2003 the two European directives became fully active: - Directive 1999/92/EC (ATEX 137); - Directive 94/9/EC (ATEX 95). These directives effect company's with an explosion hazard (gas, vapour, mist or dust explosion) and manufacturers of equipment intended to be used in explosive atmospheres.

Directive 1999/92/EC (ATEX 137)

This directive gives the minimum requirements for improving the safety and health protection of workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres. The employer shall take technical and/or organisational measures appropriate to the nature of the operation and in accordance with the following basic principles, in this order of priority:

  • The prevention of the formation of explosive atmospheres, or where the nature of the activity does not allow that;
  • The avoidance of the ignition of explosive atmospheres, and;
  • The mitigation of the detrimental effects of an explosion so as to ensure the health and safety of workers.

To do so, the employer will have to assess the specific risks arising from potential explosive atmospheres. Hazardous areas should be classified in terms of zones on the basis of the frequency and duration of the occurrence of an explosive atmosphere. For gases and vapours these zones will be 0, 1 and 2. For dusts these zones will be 20, 21 and 22. To meet the requirements of the directive 1999/92/EC it's necessary to conduct a risk assessment.

ATEX Directive 94/9/EC (ATEX 95)

The directive 94/9/EC gives the requirements of equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. Its objective is to eliminate or at least minimize the risk resulting from the use of these products. The level of protection depends on the fore mentioned area classification. Manufacturers are under the obligation to design equipment and protective systems from a point of view of integrated explosion safety. This means preventing the formation of explosive atmospheres as well as sources of ignition and, should an explosion nevertheless occur, to halt it immediately and/or limit its effects. To meet the requirements of the directive 94/9/EC it's necessary to conduct a risk assessment and comply with relevant harmonized standards. Phases of this risk assessment are: determination of the intended use (equipment characteristics, product properties, process)

  • hazard identification (explosive atmospheres, ignition sources)
  • risk estimation (severity of the possible harm and the probability of occurrence)
  • risk evaluation (intolerable or acceptable)
  • risk reduction option analyses (change of design, use of protective systems, user information)


Regulations are law, approved by Parliament. These are usually made under the Health and Safety at Work Act, following proposals from HSC. This applies to regulations based on EC Directives as well as 'home-grown' ones.

PUWER..The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (S.I. No 2932)

The primary objective of PUWER is to ensure the provision of safe work equipment and its safe use. This has several components which are inter-linked and complementary. Work equipment should not give rise to risks to health and safety, irrespective of its age place or origin.

The above regulations, (PUWER 98), came into force on December 5th 1998 and affect all work equipment. They update the previous 1992 regulations and this time have an accompanying set of regulations in the form of the LOLER statutes.

The main requirement of PUWER is to plan the intended use of all work equipment.    This will take the form of a basic risk assessment identifying what the equipment is to be used for, who will use it, how it will be used and the hazards that may arise from it's use both to the operator and others.

LOLER... The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998

"LOLER" are a new set of regulations which came into effect on the 5th of December 1998 and replace all previous regulations on lifting equipment many of which contained differing requirements and definitions and were specific to certain industries. These have now been brought together under one document applicable to all. The regulations apply to :-

  • "Work equipment for lifting or lowering loads (a load includes a person)" . Work equipment means machinery, appliances, apparatus and tools or installations for use at work.
  • Great Britain and it's territorial waters and offshore facilities where the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 applies.
  • Those in control of work equipment such as employers, self employed and employers where employees use their own tools. Also where an employer has some control over equipment e.g. a hired in crane with driver.

CDM...Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007:

The CDM Regulations are aimed at improving the overall management and co-ordination of health, safety and welfare throughout all stages of a construction project to reduce the large numbers of serious and fatal accidents and cases of ill health which occur every year in the construction industry.

The CDM Regulations place duties on all those who can contribute to the health and safety of a construction project. Duties are placed upon clients, designers and contractors and the Regulations create a new duty holder - the planning supervisor. They also introduce new documents - health and safety plans and the health and safety file.

The degree of detail as well as the time and effort required to comply with your legal duties need only be in proportion to the nature, size and level of health and safety risks involved in the project. Therefore for small projects with minimal health and safety risks, you will only be required to take simple, straightforward steps and few, if any, specialist skills will be needed.

The Noise at Work Regulations 2005

The Noise at Work Regulations came into force in 1990 and they aim to protect workers from the risk of hearing damage due to excessive noise.

The Noise at Work Regulations, 2005 define the responsibilities of employers and employees in noisy or potentially noisy workplaces. They also specify the duties of manufacturers, suppliers, designers or importers of machinery likely to give rise to a noisy workplace, although these duties have been more comprehensively defined by the European Machinery Directive and its consequent legislation. The Noise at Work Regulations extend the general duty of care to safeguard employees' health (including their hearing) arising from the Health and Safety at Work Act, 1974. The Regulations cover not only the obviously noisy industrial environments, but virtually all workplaces with few exceptions.

The Regulations are based on the "daily personal noise exposure", LEP,d (technically equivalent to LEX,8h in International Standards), of each worker or category of worker. The daily personal noise exposure is a measure of the total amount of noise received during a working day taking into account the noise levels and the amount of time the person spends in each noise level. Noise levels should be measured in the undisturbed sound field, that is without the local effects of the worker's head and body.

COSHH..Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations ..1999

Using hazardous substances can put people's health at risk. COSHH requires employers to control exposures to hazardous substances to protect both employees and others who may be exposed from work activities.

Hazardous Substances

Hazardous substances are anything that can harm your health when you work with them if they are not properly controlled eg by using adequate ventilation.    They are found in nearly all work places eg factories, shops, mines, farms and offices.  

    They can include

  • substances used directly in work activities   eg glues, paints, cleaning agents
  • substances generated during work activities   eg fumes from soldering and welding
  • naturally occurring substances
    eg grain dust, blood, bacteria

For the vast majority of commercial chemicals, the presence (or not) of a warning label will indicate whether COSHH is relevant. For example, household washing up liquid doesn't have a warning label but bleach does - so COSHH applies to bleach but not washing up liquid when used at work.