Machinery can be described 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”.

The machinery sector is an important part of the engineering industry and is one of the industrial mainstays of the Community economy, and the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC provides the regulatory basis for the harmonisation of the essential health and safety requirements for machinery at European Union level.

Essentially performing a dual function, the Directive not only promotes the free movement of machinery within the Single Market, but also guarantees a high level of protection to EU workers and citizens. Being a “New Legal Framework” Directive, it promotes harmonisation through a combination of mandatory health and safety requirements and voluntary harmonised standards. Such directives apply only to products which are intended to be placed (or put into service) on the EU market for the first time.

The Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC was published on 9th June 2006 and it is applicable from 29th December 2009, replacing the Machinery Directive 98/37/EC.