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Reading EU directives can be a bit of a shock. They lack the focus of home grown UK regulations.

Here is an extract from the daughter directive on work equipment (here is the link to the full text). Where text is in bold, I have added the emphasis.

“Directive 2009/104/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 concerning the minimum safety and health requirements for the use of work equipment by workers at work (second individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC)

Whereas:

(1) [not included]

(2) This Directive is an individual directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Council Directive 89/391/EEC of 12 June 1989 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work [5]. Therefore, the provisions of Directive 89/391/EEC are fully applicable to the scope of the use of work equipment by workers at work, without prejudice to more stringent or specific provisions contained in this Directive.

(3) Article 137(2) of the Treaty provides that the Council may adopt, by means of directives, minimum requirements for encouraging improvements, in particular, of the working environment so as to protect workers’ health and safety.

(4) Pursuant to the said Article, such directives must avoid imposing administrative, financial and legal constraints in a way which would hold back the creation and development of small and medium-sized undertakings.

(5) The provisions adopted pursuant to Article 137(2) of the Treaty do not preclude any Member State from maintaining or introducing more stringent measures for the protection of working conditions provided they are compatible with the Treaty.

(6) Compliance with the minimum requirements designed to guarantee a better standard of safety and health in the use of work equipment is essential in order to ensure the safety and health of workers.

(7) The improvement of occupational safety, hygiene and health is an objective which should not be subordinated to purely economic considerations.

(8) – (12) [not included]

CHAPTER I           GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 1                Subject matter

1. This Directive…lays down minimum safety and health requirements for the use of work equipment by workers at work, as defined in Article 2.

2 [not included]

Article 2               Definitions

For the purposes of this Directive, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

(a) “work equipment” : any machine, apparatus, tool or installation used at work;

(b) “use of work equipment” : any activity involving work equipment such as starting or stopping the equipment, its use, transport, repair, modification, maintenance and servicing, including, in particular, cleaning;

(c)-(d) not included]

(e) “operator” : the worker or workers given the task of using work equipment.

CHAPTER II          EMPLOYERS’ OBLIGATIONS

Article 3               General obligations

1. The employer shall take the measures necessary to ensure that the work equipment made available to workers in the undertaking or establishment is suitable for the work to be carried out or properly adapted for that purpose and may be used by workers without impairment to their safety or health.

In selecting the work equipment which he proposes to use, the employer shall pay attention to the specific working conditions and characteristics and to the hazards which exist in the undertaking or establishment, in particular at the workplace, for the safety and health of the workers, and any additional hazards posed by the use of the work equipment in question.

2. Where it is not possible in this way fully to ensure that work equipment can be used by workers without risk to their safety or health, the employer shall take appropriate measures to minimise the risks.

Article 4               Rules concerning work equipment

1. Without prejudice to Article 3, the employer shall obtain and/or use:

(a) work equipment which, if provided to workers in the undertaking or establishment for the first time after 31 December 1992, complies with:

(i) the provisions of any relevant Community directive which is applicable;

(ii) the minimum requirements laid down in Annex I, to the extent that no other Community directive is applicable or is so only partially;

(b) [not included]

(c) [not included]

2. The employer shall take the measures necessary to ensure that, throughout its working life, work equipment is kept, by means of adequate maintenance, at a level such that it complies with point (a) or (b) of paragraph 1 as applicable.

3. Member States shall, after consultation with both sides of industry, and with due allowance for national legislation and/or practice, establish procedures whereby a level of safety may be attained corresponding to the objectives indicated by Annex II.

Article 5               Inspection of work equipment

1. The employer shall ensure that where the safety of work equipment depends on the installation conditions, it shall be subject to an initial inspection (after installation and before first being put into service) and an inspection after assembly at a new site or in a new location by competent persons within the meaning of national laws and/or practices, to ensure that the work equipment has been installed correctly and is operating properly.

2. In order to ensure that health and safety conditions are maintained and that deterioration liable to result in dangerous situations can be detected and remedied in good time, the employer shall ensure that work equipment exposed to conditions causing such deterioration is subject to:

(a) periodic inspections and, where appropriate, testing by competent persons within the meaning of national laws and/or practices;

(b) special inspections by competent persons within the meaning of national laws and/or practices each time that exceptional circumstances which are liable to jeopardise the safety of the work equipment have occurred, such as modification work, accidents, natural phenomena or prolonged periods of inactivity.

3. The results of inspections shall be recorded and kept at the disposal of the authorities concerned. They must be kept for a suitable period of time.

When work equipment is used outside the undertaking it shall be accompanied by physical evidence that the last inspection has been carried out.

4. Member States shall determine the conditions under which such inspections are made.

Article 6               Work equipment involving specific risks

When the use of work equipment is likely to involve a specific risk to the safety or health of workers, the employer shall take the measures necessary to ensure that:

(a) the use of work equipment is restricted to those persons given the task of using it;

(b) in the case of repairs, modifications, maintenance or servicing, the workers concerned are specifically designated to carry out such work.

Article 7               Ergonomics and occupational health

The workplace and position of workers while using work equipment and ergonomic principles shall be taken fully into account by the employer when applying minimum health and safety requirements.

Article 8               Informing workers

1. Without prejudice to Article 10 of Directive 89/391/EEC, the employer shall take the measures necessary to ensure that workers have at their disposal adequate information and, where appropriate, written instructions on the work equipment used at work.

2. The information and the written instructions shall contain at least adequate safety and health information concerning:

(a) the conditions of use of work equipment;

(b) foreseeable abnormal situations;

(c) the conclusions to be drawn from experience, where appropriate, in using work equipment.

Workers shall be made aware of dangers relevant to them, work equipment present in the work area or site, and any changes affecting them, inasmuch as they affect work equipment situated in their immediate work area or site, even if they do not use such equipment directly.

3. The information and the written instructions shall be comprehensible to the workers concerned.

Article 9               Training of workers

Without prejudice to Article 12 of Directive 89/391/EEC, the employer shall take the measures necessary to ensure that:

(a) workers given the task of using work equipment receive adequate training, including training on any risks which such use may entail;

(b) workers referred to in Article 6(b) receive adequate specific training.

Article 10…

CHAPTER III        MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

Article 11             Amendment of the Annexes

[Not included]

Article 12             Final provisions

[Not included]

Article 13             [Repeals] [Not included]

Article 14             [Entry into force] [Not included]

Article 15             [Not included]

Done at Strasbourg, 16 September 2009.

ANNEX I               MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS

(referred to in points (a)(ii) and (b) of Article 4(1))

1. General comment

The obligations laid down in this Annex apply having regard to this Directive and where the corresponding risk exists for the work equipment in question.

The following minimum requirements, inasmuch as they apply to work equipment in use, do not necessarily call for the same measures as the essential requirements concerning new work equipment.

2. General minimum requirements applicable to work equipment

2.1. Work equipment control devices which affect safety must be clearly visible and identifiable and appropriately marked where necessary.

Except where necessary for certain control devices, control devices must be located outside danger zones and in such a way that their operation cannot pose any additional hazard. They must not give rise to any hazard as a result of any unintentional operation.

If necessary, from the main control position, the operator must be able to ensure that no person is present in the danger zones. If this is impossible, a safe system such as an audible and/or visible warning signal must be given automatically whenever the machinery is about to start. An exposed worker must have the time and the means quickly to avoid hazards caused by the starting or stopping of the work equipment.

Control systems must be safe and must be chosen making due allowance for the failures, faults and constraints to be expected in the planned circumstances of use.

2.2. It must be possible to start work equipment only by deliberate action on a control provided for the purpose.

The same shall apply:

– to restart it after a stoppage for whatever reason,

– for the control of a significant change in the operating conditions (e.g. speed, pressure, etc.),

unless such a restart or change does not subject exposed workers to any hazard.

This requirement does not apply to restarting or a change in operating conditions as a result of the normal operating cycle of an automatic device.

2.3. All work equipment must be fitted with a control to stop it completely and safely.

Each work station must be fitted with a control to stop some or all of the work equipment, depending on the type of hazard, so that the equipment is in a safe state. The equipment’s stop control must have priority over the start controls. When the work equipment or the dangerous parts of it have stopped, the energy supply of the actuators concerned must be switched off.

2.4. Where appropriate, and depending on the hazards the equipment presents and its normal stopping time, work equipment must be fitted with an emergency stop device.

2.5. Work equipment presenting risk due to falling objects or projections must be fitted with appropriate safety devices corresponding to the risk.

Work equipment presenting hazards due to emissions of gas, vapour, liquid or dust must be fitted with appropriate containment and/or extraction devices near the sources of the hazard.

2.6. Work equipment and parts of such equipment must, where necessary for the safety and health of workers, be stabilised by clamping or some other means.

2.7. Where there is a risk of rupture or disintegration of parts of the work equipment, likely to pose significant danger to the safety and health of workers, appropriate protection measures must be taken.

2.8. Where there is a risk of mechanical contact with moving parts of work equipment which could lead to accidents, those parts must be provided with guards or devices to prevent access to danger zones or to halt movements of dangerous parts before the danger zones are reached.

The guards and protection devices must:

– be of robust construction,

– not give rise to any additional hazard,

– not be easily removed or rendered inoperative,

– be situated at sufficient distance from the danger zone,

– not restrict more than necessary the view of the operating cycle of the equipment,

– allow operations necessary in order to fit or replace parts and for maintenance work, restricting access only to the area where the work is to be carried out and, if possible, without removal of the guard or protection device.

2.9. Areas and points for working on, or maintenance of, work equipment must be suitably lit in line with the operation to be carried out.

2.10. Work equipment parts at high or very low temperature must, where appropriate, be protected to avoid the risk of workers coming into contact or coming too close.

2.11. Warning devices on work equipment must be unambiguous and easily perceived and understood.

2.12. Work equipment may be used only for operations and under conditions for which it is appropriate.

2.13. It must be possible to carry out maintenance operations when the equipment is shut down. If this is not possible, it must be possible to take appropriate protection measures for the carrying-out of such operations or for such operations to be carried out outside the danger zones.

If any machine has a maintenance log, it must be kept up to date.

2.14. All work equipment must be fitted with clearly identifiable means to isolate it from all its energy sources.

Reconnection must be presumed to pose no risk to the workers concerned.

2.15. Work equipment must bear the warnings and markings essential to ensure the safety of workers.

2.16. Workers must have safe means of access to, and be able to remain safely in, all the areas necessary for production, adjustment and maintenance operations.

2.17. All work equipment must be appropriate for protecting workers against the risk of the work equipment catching fire or overheating, or of discharges of gas, dust, liquid, vapour or other substances produced, used or stored in the work equipment.

2.18. All work equipment must be appropriate for preventing the risk of explosion of the work equipment or of substances produced, used or stored in the work equipment.

2.19. All work equipment must be appropriate for protecting exposed workers against the risk of direct or indirect contact with electricity.

3. Additional minimum requirements applicable to specific types of work equipment

3.1. Minimum requirements for mobile work equipment, whether or not self-propelled

3.1.1. Work equipment with ride-on workers must be fitted out in such a way as to reduce the risks for workers during the journey.

Those risks must include the risks of contact by workers with, or trapping by, wheels or tracks.

3.1.2. Where an inadvertent seizure of the drive unit between a mobile item of work equipment and its accessories or anything towed might create a specific risk, such work equipment must be equipped or adapted to prevent blockages of the drive units.

Where such a seizure cannot be avoided, every possible measure must be taken to avoid any adverse effects on workers.

3.1.3. Where drive shafts for the transmission of energy between mobile items of work equipment can become soiled or damaged by trailing on the ground, facilities must be available for fixing them.

3.1.4. Mobile work equipment with ride-on workers must be designed to restrict, under actual conditions of use, the risks arising from work equipment roll-over:

– by a protection structure designed to ensure that the equipment does not tilt by more than a quarter turn, or

– by a structure giving sufficient clearance around the ride-on workers if the tilting movement can continue beyond a quarter turn, or

– by some other device of equivalent effect.

These protection structures may be an integral part of the work equipment.

These protection structures are not required when the work equipment is stabilised during operation or where the design makes roll-over impossible.

Where there is a risk of a ride-on worker being crushed between parts of the work equipment and the ground, should the equipment roll over, a restraining system for the ride-on workers must be installed.

3.1.5. Fork-lift trucks carrying one or more workers must be adapted or equipped to limit the risk of the fork-lift truck overturning, e.g.:

– by the installation of an enclosure for the driver, or

– by a structure preventing the fork-lift truck from overturning, or

– by a structure ensuring that, if the fork-lift truck overturns, sufficient clearance remains between the ground and certain parts of the fork-lift truck for ride-on workers, or

– by a structure restraining the workers on the driving seat so as to prevent them from being crushed by parts of the fork-lift truck which overturns.

3.1.6. Self-propelled work equipment which may, when in motion, engender risks for persons must fulfil the following conditions:

(a) the equipment must have facilities for preventing unauthorised start-up;

(b) it must have appropriate facilities for minimising the consequences of a collision where there is more than one item of track-mounted work equipment in motion at the same time;

(c) there must be a device for braking and stopping equipment. Where safety constraints so require, emergency facilities operated by readily accessible controls or automatic systems must be available for braking and stopping equipment in the event of failure of the main facility;

(d) where the driver’s direct field of vision is inadequate to ensure safety, adequate auxiliary devices must be installed to improve visibility;

(e) work equipment designed for use at night or in dark places must be equipped with lighting appropriate to the work to be carried out and must ensure sufficient safety for workers;

(f) work equipment which constitutes a fire hazard, either on its own or in respect of whatever it is towing or carrying, and which is liable to endanger workers must be equipped with appropriate fire-fighting appliances where such appliances are not available sufficiently nearby at the place of use;

(g) remote-controlled work equipment must stop automatically once it leaves the control range;

(h) remote-controlled work equipment which may in normal conditions engender a crushing or impact hazard must have facilities to guard against this risk, unless other appropriate devices are present to control the impact risk.

3.2. Minimum requirements for work equipment for lifting loads

3.2.1. When work equipment for lifting loads is installed permanently, its strength and stability during use must be ensured, having regard, in particular, to the loads to be lifted and the stress induced at the mounting or fixing point of the structures.

3.2.2. Machinery for lifting loads must be clearly marked to indicate its nominal load, and must where appropriate be fitted with a load plate giving the nominal load for each configuration of the machinery.

Accessories for lifting must be marked in such a way that it is possible to identify the characteristics essential for safe use.

Work equipment which is not designed for lifting persons but which might be so used in error must be appropriately and clearly marked to this effect.

3.2.3. Permanently installed work equipment must be installed in such a way as to reduce the risk of the load:

(a) striking workers;

(b) unintentionally drifting dangerously or falling freely;

(c) being released unintentionally.

3.2.4. Work equipment for lifting or moving workers must be such as to:

(a) prevent the risk of the car falling, where one exists, by means of suitable devices;

(b) prevent the risk of the user himself falling from the car, where one exists;

(c) prevent the risk of the user being crushed, trapped or struck, in particular through inadvertent contact with objects;

(d) ensure that persons trapped in the car in the event of an incident are not exposed to danger and can be freed.

If, for reasons inherent in the site and in height differences, the risks referred to in point (a) cannot be avoided by any safety measures, an enhanced safety coefficient suspension rope must be installed and checked every working day.

ANNEX II              PROVISIONS CONCERNING THE USE OF WORK EQUIPMENT

(referred to in Article 4(3))

General comment

This Annex applies having regard to this Directive and where the corresponding risk exists for the work equipment in question.

1. General provisions for all work equipment

1.1. Work equipment must be installed, located and used in such a way as to reduce risks to users of the work equipment and for other workers, for example by ensuring that there is sufficient space between the moving parts of work equipment and fixed or moving parts in its environment and that all forms of energy and substances used or produced can be supplied or removed in a safe manner.

1.2. Work equipment must be erected or dismantled under safe conditions, in particular observing any instructions which may have been furnished by the manufacturer.

1.3. Work equipment which may be struck by lightning while being used must be protected by devices or appropriate means to counter the effects of lightning.

2. Provisions concerning the use of mobile equipment, whether or not self-propelled

2.1. Self-propelled work equipment shall be driven only by workers who have been appropriately trained in the safe driving of such equipment.

2.2. If work equipment is moving around in a work area, appropriate traffic rules must be drawn up and followed.

2.3. Organisational measures must be taken to prevent workers on foot coming within the area of operation of self-propelled work equipment.

If work can be done properly only if workers on foot are present, appropriate measures must be taken to prevent them from being injured by the equipment.

2.4. The transport of workers on mechanically driven mobile work equipment is authorised only where safe facilities are provided for that purpose. If work must be carried out during the journey, speeds must be adjusted as necessary.

2.5. Mobile work equipment with a combustion engine may not be used in working areas unless sufficient quantities of air presenting no health or safety risk to workers can be guaranteed.

3. Provisions concerning the use of work equipment for lifting loads

[Not included]

4. Provisions concerning the use of work equipment provided for temporary work at a height

[Not included]

ANNEX III (Not included)

ANNEX IV Not included)”

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