The EU’s new Machinery Regulation is expected to be published in the Official Journal early in July and applied 42 months later, from January 2027. The UK will have to decide how to respond to the Regulation, which will supercede the 2006 Machinery Directive from which current UK rules are derived.
One aim of the Regulation is greater consistency of application across the EU. Orgalim, the umbrella trade body in Brussels, notes that changes include:
- The integration of Artificial Intelligence related to safety functions
- Integration of cyber security-related provisions for safety control systems and compliance-related software and data
- Autonomous and remote-controlled machinery
- Digitalisation of instructions for use, assembly instructions and EU Declaration of Conformity and Incorporation
- Greater mandatory Notified Body conformity assessment, across six product categories
- Common specifications as a fallback option when suitable harmonised standards are not available
The UK government will bring forward secondary legislation covering the Regulation for Northern Ireland, under the terms of the Windsor Framework. Consideration for Great Britain is more complicated and is already starting.
A new Product Safety Review (PSR) consultation is expected to be published shortly – after considerable delay – and is likely to cover high-level issues such as overall approach, including conformity marking, regulation of online trade and overall market surveillance and enforcement policy. That will be an opportunity for sectors to propose greater involvement in market surveillance, which is of interest to some trade associations.
The PSR consultation will be followed by more detailed formal reviews at sector level, including one covering machinery. The dominant – though not unanimous – view from industry bodies at present is that the Machinery Regulation should be adopted for GB because, while aspects of the Machinery regulation are unpopular, those negatives are outweighed by the benefits of alignment. Comments welcome on this issue.