Shop around for Standards

CE Marking of Machinery has been a requirement since January 1993. Before applying the CE marking, machinery manufacturers should compile a Technical File that addresses the Essential Health and Safety Requirements of the Directive 2006/42/EC. Derek Coulson, Technical Advisor with Safe Machine Ltd has been assisting companies with CE marking of machinery since 1995, and provides some insight here.

An option is to use European Normative Standards (EN Standards) to support conformity to the Directive. There are three types of Standard A, B and C. There is only one A type standard at present, EN ISO 12100: 2010, this should be part of every manufacturers library. It addresses General Principles and Risk Assessment. B type standards include EN 60204-1, which covers the requirements for electrical safety, again, an essential for any manufacturer building control panels. Other B type standards address minimum safety distances (EN ISO 13857), safety related control systems (EN 13849), guarding (currently EN 953, soon to be replaced by EN ISO 14120).

C type standards are for specific types of machinery, so EN 619 is for conveyors and conveyor systems. The EN 415 series is for packaging machinery, the EN 1034 series is for paper making machinery. There are literally hundreds of EN standards that can be used to assist manufacturers. The current list of Harmonised Standards (those linked to a specific Directive) can be found on the Europa website. Each Directive has its own page, so typing "˜Europa machinery standards' into a search engine will generally find the Machinery page on the Europa website, which lists all of the applicable standards, in A, B and C formats. This is a good way to find which standards can be used. Inside each standard, there is a list of other relevant standards, and it can become difficult to decide which ones are required.

One of the concerns is that the Standards are expensive to buy. In the UK, the agency that supplies Standards is BSI, British Standards Institution. However, this is not the only place to buy Standards. It is possible to buy English versions of Standards from many other agencies. Each country has an agency selling Standards, and it is amazing how different countries manage to supply standards at such different prices.

Manufacturers and End Users of machinery should not decide not to buy a Standard because it is expensive. Shop around; we are in Europe, there is a level playing field. France has their own Standards agency, AFNOR, who sell English-language versions of Standards at a much cheaper price than BSI. The standards are supplied as PDF downloads, so there is no waiting. The Estonian Centre for Standardisation ( has a facility to allow a standard to be read for a couple of Euro, for a period of 24 hours, so you can check whether it is required before paying for the document.

The Public Safety Standards organisation from the Republic of Bulgaria go one better. Their website has the statement: "In order to promote public education and public safety, equal justice for all, a better informed citizenry, the rule of law, world trade and world peace, this legal document is hereby made available on a non-commercial basis, as it is the right of all humans to know and speak the laws that govern them." There is then a list of English language EN standards that can be downloaded free of charge.

Shop around for standards; there is no excuse not to use them, and the EU can be used in positive ways to support the UK manufacturing industry. Go to to learn more.

Safe Machine Ltd

DBH Business Centre
Coxwold Way
TS23 4EA

+44 (0)1642 343430

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