What is Machinery Directive (MD)?

What is it?

The Machinery Directive – MD – is the core European legislation regulating mechanical engineering products. In this Directive, machinery is described as “an assembly, fitted with or intended to be fitted with a drive system other than directly applied human or animal effort, consisting of linked parts or components, at least one of which moves, and which are joined together for a specific application”. The current Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC has been in force since 29 December 2009.

This Directive provides the regulatory basis for the harmonisation of the essential health and safety requirements applicable to machinery at EU level. Before placing a machine on the EU market, the manufacturer has to drew up a technical file and to ensure that his machinery complies with the Directive through an assessment process.

Afterwards, the manufacturer or his authorised representative has to draw up a Declaration of Conformity or a Declaration of Incorporation for partially completed equipment. After CE marking the product, the machinery may be placed on the market. 

Why is it important?

For the industries of the mechanical engineering sector, the Machinery Directive is one of the most important pieces of legislation. It ensures that machinery placed on the EU market fulfil their aims, to promote the free movement of goods (machinery) within the European Union and to guarantee a high level of protection to European workers and citizens.


The directive applies to machinery as well as interchangeable equipment, safety components, lifting accessories, chains/ropes/webbing, removable mechanical transmission devices and partly completed machinery.Machinery that is covered by more specific directives is excluded from the scope.

This includes

  • agricultural and forestall tractors
  • motor vehicles and their trailers
  • certain electric and electronic products such as household appliances or office equipment

>> The Medical Devices Directive (93/42/EEC)

>> Simple pressure vessels directive – Eurocert

>> European Standards (ENs)


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