Directives and Standards

The mission of the European Community is the free movement of goods, services, capital and labor within the European domestic market. Internationally harmonized regulations, known as EU Directives, are in place to ensure balanced protections for people and the environment and to reduce competitive disadvantages and hurdles to business due to different safety regulations within the EU. The EU member states are tasked with implementing the EU directives within their national laws.

The safety of machines is primarily covered within two directives. The Machinery Safety Directive is oriented toward producers of machines, while the Work Equipment Directive is oriented toward operators of machines.

Additional guidelines also exist, such as the Low Voltage Directive and the EMC Directive.

Safety Regulations

Directives are formulated very generally. The more detailed specification comes when the EU Commissions issues a mandate for the composition of a European standard. Once a standard has been composed and approved in international commissions, it is then published in the EU's official journal. At that point it is considered harmonized.

A principle known as the 'Presumption of Conformity' applies to the fulfillment of requirements defined in harmonized standards. It presumes that the protective goals of the EU directive are to be regarded as sufficiently met.