Several manufacturers have placed machinery on the EU market after 1994 without affixing the CE mark. Machinery as such is in use even though it does not meet the requirements set up in the Machinery Directive and other legislative pieces. Specifically the Work Equipment Directive and its UK implementation, The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Directive.
CE marking of industrial machines is mandatory. All machines that are put into service or put on the market in the EU since 1994 must comply with the directives and regulations drawn up by the EU. Despite this, industrial machines that are not correctly declared in full conformity are still in use because of inconsistent enforcement by authorities where has not yet been checked. Industrial machines that are not fully or correctly declared put the employer or the integrator (manufacturer) at risk of penalties, unnecessary incident not to mention commercial consequences both immediate and deferred.
How the directives of the EU are enforced, depends on the country you’re in. Each member state has the right to handle enforcement their own way. This means that machinery placed in the UK will not be enforced in the same way as machinery placed in Belgium.
The member states have their own Market Surveillance Authorities that respond to complaints and conduct spot checks. If a product does not comply, often a financial penalty, prohibition notice and/or product recall follows.
Enforcement of CE marking is mainly reactive. When an accident occurs involving machinery, authorities are notified and action is taken to check whether the machinery conforms to the directives and regulations set up by the EU.
In the UK, the Health and Safety Executive is an example of an authority enforcing compliance with CE marking. In most cases the users/employers are penalised, rather than the manufacturers.
The manufacturer is responsible for constructing a product that is safe, does not cause health risks and meets environmental requirements. Once the manufacturer conforms to all the applicable directives, it can affix the CE marking and place the product on the market.
From that moment, the manufacturer is liable to comply with the directives for 10 years. This also means that manufacturers must have the technical file and Declaration of Conformity available for 10 years.
For industrial machinery, it is important to realise many directives are of relevance. Although the CE marking process mainly focuses on the responsibility at the end of the manufacturer, the employer holds many responsibilities as well.
The Work Equipment Directive put duties on the user. This directive has been put in place to ensure employers use equipment that are safe to use and this is achieved by using correctly CE marked industrial machines.
As a part of this directive, the employer is required to keep the equipment in a state of conformity by proper maintenance and inspections. This does not just account for the 10 years after the machinery has been delivered, but continues after this equipment is in use as well.
It is recognised that despite good design, manufacture, selection, inspection and maintenance of industrial machines that some risk will persevere. In this case the employer has to make sure access to the equipment is restricted to those that have received suitable information, training and supervision.