What is the background to CE Marking?

What does CE Marking apply to?

This applies to all equipment supplied for first time use in the EU

What is the intention of CE Marking?

The intention is that any equipment supplied in the EU should meet requirements common to all the member states.  If it does this, then movement between member states is promoted as it is immediately accepted by another country without having to meet additional local requirements.

The driver to this was the Machinery Directive which has been enacted in each member state.  In the UK, the regulation is the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008 and subsequent amendments.

Who polices CE Marking?

The short answer is nobody.  Apart from specific machinery listed in Schedule 4 of the regulations, there is no organisation that either:

The process is one of pure trust on the suppliers.  Unfortunately, there is great variation in the knowledge and abilities of different suppliers and a CE label is no indication that the machine is safe.  

Where does the buck stop?

The supplier has obligations under the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008.  The company who puts the equipment into use (ie the employer) has obligations under the Provision and use of Work Equipment Regulations.  It is the employer who has the final accountability for ensuring that the equipment is safe.  

The Process

The key steps to CE Marking

The manufacturer must:

Essential Health and Safety Requirements

These are listed in the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations. See a list of these.

Harmonised European Standards

Individual Harmonised European Standards may apply, dependant upon the actual features of the machine. See a list of these.

Technical file

Strictly, the technical file need not be compiled but there must be a system so that you are able to compile it.  In reality, it is generally better to compile one unless you have many similar machines which use common drawings, etc. It contains:

Declarations of Conformity and Incorporation

These are the legal certificates that the supplier must provide to the client which declare that the supplier has met his obligations under the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations.  Because they are legal documents, they should be signed by someone in authority.

If the equipment can function independently you must:

If the equipment cannot function independently and is supplied for assembly to other equipment which will form later a complete machine then you must:

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