On 10th October 2022 CEMA participated to the European Commission’s Machinery Expert Group (MEG), which gathers experts from Members States and stakeholders. The meeting, held remotely, provided a chance for stakeholders to get to know the new members of the Machinery unit of DG GROW (Mr. Medhi Hocine as new Head of Unit, Mr Peter Broertjes as new policy officer).

The main discussion item for the group was a progress update on the Machinery Regulation after the release of the Commission proposal in April 2021. The ongoing trilogue discussions – discussions between representatives of the Commission, the Parliament and the Council with the intent to find an agreement – have been delayed, so that a final conclusion is not expected before the end of the year.

The main subjects for which views are still diverging are:

  • the list of products subject to a specific conformity assessment (through a third-party validation), and the criteria to evaluate the need to add new products in this list,
  • the need for complementary paper information for consumer products, and
  • the implementation dates.

No clear timeline was given for the publication of this Regulation; the earliest publication is expected by Spring 2023.

The next focus for the Commission will be to ensure that harmonised standards are available for the implementation of the Regulation. For that purpose, the Commission would like to keep the texts unchanged if they are not impacted by the new Essential Health and Safety Requirements (EHSR). A meeting with representatives of CEN/CENELEC will be organised to find ways to set rules for that purpose.

On CEN/CENELEC side, an assessment is ongoing when it comes to the number of standards where the technical content would be unchanged, but the changes to be brought will be higher than expected by the Commission: for example, a majority of them does not fulfil the recent requests from the Commission – having a clear mention to the EHSR of the Machinery Directive covered in the standard, having dated normative references.

Member States and stakeholders should also quickly develop Guidelines to avoid different interpretations of requirements or statements given in the Regulation. This had not been considered as a priority by the Commission, as the text will be a Regulation and not a Directive anymore; nevertheless, the request was recorded, with the reminder that the Guidelines provide clarifications, not new rules.

One of the pillars to the recognition of harmonised standards lies in the work carried out by HAS consultants (HAS for HArmonised Standard), who act as representatives of the European Commission to assess that the content of standards for which a mandate was assigned are compliant with the EHSR of a specific regulation. This process is mostly used for the machinery sector, but it applies also for pressure equipment, outdoor noise, low-voltage equipment. The role and employment of HAS consultants are set by a contract between the Commission and a consulting company (Ernst & Young at the present time).

When it comes to the update of the list of harmonised standards giving presumption of conformity to Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC, an amendment is under preparation: it should be published in the OJEU at the end of this year or beginning of 2023.

Two references of published standards in the OJEU on products followed by CEMA were questioned:

  • EN 12525 “Front loaders – Safety": a formal objection was raised by the German authorities on the risk associated to the fall of loads onto the tractor cab. Despite the statement from CEMA to mention that the revision of the standard is already validated by CEN/TC 144 “Tractors and machinery for agriculture and forestry”, several authorities supported the request from Germany to have a warning notice included in the list of machinery standards in OJEU. In particular France explained that work is under development at national level to cover this aspect; a protection on the cab roof is not sufficient, as depending on the working conditions, the load may roll down the lifting arms.
  • EN ISO 11850 “Self-propelled forestry machinery – Safety” /A2: the second amendment provides an extension of the maximum height of the first step from 550 mm to 700 mm for two specific machineries: wheeled skidders and wheeled feller-bunchers. This change is likely to generate more accidents according the French authorities, who requested a warning notice in relation with this amendment as well.

The Machinery Expert Group was also the opportunity to have presentations on other items impacting machinery:

  • the release of the Cyber-Resilience Act (release on 15 September 2022), and the interplays with the Machinery Regulation, the Radio-Equipment Directive and the AI Regulation
  • the development of the Single Market Emergency Instrument intended to anticipate the impact linked to crisis
  • the revision of the Product Liability Directive, intended to take into account software and digital service