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Machine Safety Regulations

Machinery safety in the UK is driven by two sets of Regulations:

  • Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008, as amended by the Supply of Machinery (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 – these regulations require all machines placed on the market in the EU to carry a CE mark as described by the European Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC
  • Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER 98) – these regulations place duties on people and companies who own, operate or have control over work equipment

For machines placed on the market for the first time

To comply with the requirements of Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations, a machine needs to fulfil the following (NB ‘safety components’ fall within the scope of the Machinery Directive and in some circumstances machine guards are defined as ‘safety components’):

  • A system of conformity assessment must be in place.
  • The machine must satisfy the relevant Essential Health and Safety Requirements of the Machinery Directive, to the state of the art.
  • The machine must be accompanied by a Declaration of Conformity (DoC).
  • The machine must be accompanied by user instructions in the language of the end user.
  • A Technical File must be compiled.
  • The machine must carry a CE mark.

Machine guards from Procter Machine Safety are supplied with a Declaration of Conformity and may or may not be CE marked, depending on the circumstances (see our White Paper for more information).

In some cases a pre-owned machine will need to be CE marked before it can be used for the first time by its new owner.

For existing machines or those being used for the first time

A new machine should have a PUWER assessment at the commissioning stage or when it is first put to use, and periodically thereafter. Regulation 11 of PUWER addresses the needs relating to dangerous parts of machinery, and this is the regulation of most interest with respect to machine guarding:

  • Regulation 11 (1) requires employers to take effective measures (specified in regulation 11 (2)) to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery or to stop the movement of dangerous parts before any part of a person enters a danger zone.
  • Regulation 11 (3) contains specific requirements for guards and protection devices.
  • Regulation 11 (4) states which measures in 11 (3) apply to ‘protection appliances’ such as jigs, holders and push-sticks.

PUWER makes no direct reference to standards and the Approved Code of Practice and guidance (ACOP) published by the Health & Safety Executive makes little mention of them. There is no legal obligation to work to the current standards or follow the ACOP. Nevertheless, following the ACOP and applying standards is normally sufficient and will be the easiest way to demonstrate that ‘best practice’ has been applied when conducting a risk assessment, analysing the risks and implementing appropriate risk reduction measures in order to comply with the law. If an HSE inspector visits, he or she will expect to see that the PUWER ACOP has been followed.

More information can be found from the following sources: