Revision of machinery directive 2006/42/EC

A proposal for revision of the machinery Directive 2016/42/EC was launched by the european commission.

A first step "Roadmap"

  • This step is closed was done called Roadmap that starts 14/01/2019 and that closed 11/02/2019

A second step is in progress "publication consultation" 

A third step

  • The third step will be The Commission adoption is Planned for First quarter 2021

The objectives of this revision of the machinery directive are :

The Machinery Directive needs updating to improve safety levels further and take account of the latest IT innovations. The proposed revision:

  • aligns the Directive with EU harmonised legislation on product health and safety, and
  • tackles the challenges that may arise from technical progress in digitisation

A. Context, problem definition and subsidiarity check


The EU has a competitive edge in world-leading industries such as manufacturing and robotics, producing more than a quarter of the world’s industrial and professional service robots. With the emergence of new digital technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), the EU must remain competitive in a transformative global market. Emerging digital technologies are increasingly gaining a foothold not only in consumer applications but also at commercial/industrial level, where it can bring new degrees of efficiency and productivity.

The Commission’s Communication on Artificial intelligence for Europe (adopted on 25 April 2018) shows how the EU is preparing an environment in which business and society can make the best use of AI. It refers to the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC as the key piece of legislation on robots.

This initiative should be seen in the context of the fourth priority policy area under President Juncker’s ‘agenda for jobs, growth, fairness and democratic change’, i.e. a deeper and fairer internal market with a strengthened industrial base.

The Machinery Directive has two overall objectives:

  • ensuring a high level of safety and protection for users of machinery and other people exposed to it; and
  • securing the free movement of machinery in the internal market.

The products that it covers range from lawnmowers to 3D printers, from powered hand-tools to construction machinery, and from robots to complete automated industrial production lines. An additional objective, protecting the environment, is limited to the machinery used in pesticide applications.

This initiative addresses the issues identified in an evaluation of the Directive, which was carried out as part of the Commission’s regulatory fitness and performance (REFIT) programme. The evaluation concluded (see SWD (2018)160) that the Directive is generally relevant, effective, efficient and coherent, and has EU added value, but that there was a need for specific improvements and simplification.

While the evaluation indicates that the Directive allows for technological developments in a digital era, given that it is underpinned by the ‘new approach’ principles which sets mandatory basic requirements, leaving the technical details to meet those requirements to standardisers, further analysis is needed as regards its effectiveness and fitness for purpose going forward, with respect to developments in digitalisation, such as IoT, AI and the new generation of autonomous robots.


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