Machinery Directive 

Redefined against Low-Voltage Directive 

In the future, manufactures of electrical machines no longer have to consult the results of their risk assessment to find out wether a machine is subject to the Low-Voltage Directive or the new Machinery Directive. KAN (Kommission Arbeitsschutz und Normung [Commission for Occupational Health and Safety and Standardisation]) has now announced that the product list mentioned under article 1 (2) of the new Machinery Directive (2006/42/EC) provides an acceptable solution for a clear interface of the two directives.

Up to now, it has not always been easy to decide whether electrical machines are subject to the Low-Voltage or the Machinery Directive. According to article 1, section 5, of the Machinery Directive (98/37/EC), machines that pose mainly electrical risks are subject to the Low-Voltage Directive (73/23/EEC or its codified version 2006/95/EC). However, the manufacturers first had to ascertain the main risks by a risk assessment, which often led to uncertainties. The responsible standardization committee has already conducted a risk assessment for the harmonized standards listed in the Official Journal of the EU. They might help manufacturers allocate their products correctly. As soon as the revised Machinery Directive becomes effective, it will be far easier to categorize products properly. Hitherto, the directives were distinguished form each other by the main risk. Now, they shall be distinguished by a list of six types of electrical machines which are always subject to the Low-Voltage Directive:

  • household appliances meant for household used
  • audio systems and video recorders
  • information-technology appliances
  • normal office equipment
  • electrical switches
  • electric motors

Unlike household appliances for household use, household appliances for professional use shall be subject to the Machinery Directive in the future, provided they meet the machinery definition.


Daniel Schädel
Tel:   +49 69 8306 518
Fax:  +49 69 8306 754