Harmonisation work on EU standards

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On 18.3.2019, the EU Commission published its Implementing Decision (EU) 2019/436 in the Official Journal, outlining the changes to the list of harmonised standards for machines with regard to the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC. It updated the list of standards, whose application triggers presumption of conformity in accordance with the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC.

A complete list of harmonised standards was published in the Official Journal of the European Union until the above decision came into force. The publication was valid until the next complete catalogue was published. The last version of this catalogue, containing an overview of all the standards harmonised under the Machinery Directive, appeared on 9 March 2018.

Since that first decision, further decisions have appeared at regular intervals, for which you must observe the procedure described above. You’ll find an overview of these decisions on the EU Commission’s homepage. There you’ll find a summary of all the harmonised standards published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The summary includes all the standards for which there was presumption of conformity at the time the list was prepared, as well as the standards that have already been withdrawn from the Official Journal.

However, this summary has no legal force. The EU Commission provides this summary for information purposes only. Although every possible precaution has been taken to ensure that the summary is regularly updated and is correct, errors can occur and the summary may be incomplete at a certain point in time. So the user has no alternative but to watch out for the standards relevant to them in the implementing decisions.

International standardisation work is important, but without harmonisation to European directives and regulations, it is incomplete in practice and does not achieve its objective. In the worst case, differing product and safety requirements at IEC and ISO level could become CEN/CENELEC versions of standards – that’s a very critical situation for commercial enterprises as global market players!

Today, standards are almost always developed and published at international IEC and ISO level. In an ideal scenario, they should be adopted unchanged into the European body of standards. In the EU, responsibility for adoption as harmonised standards lies with the European Commission. This has delegated the comparison with the essential health and safety requirements of the EU/EC directives / regulations to harmonised standards consultants (HAS Consultants). Until January 2022, approval, coordination and budget monitoring was administered by the consultancy firm ERNST & YOUNG (E&Y), acting as HAS contractor. However, the EU budget for this advisory function was spent by October 2021 and the harmonisation process stalled. http://www.pilz.com

The new contract, again with E&Y as contractual partner, has now been in place since August 2022. In the meantime, harmonisation work has been more or less on ice. The result is a not inconsiderable harmonisation backlog, which must now be processed step by step, so that publication in the Official European Journal can take place as soon as possible.

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