This page should answer the majority of your questions. If you have anything else to ask, just get in touch.
Q: Do all new products have to be CE marked?
No. This only applies to those products that come under one of the relevant product supply Directives that require CE marking, for example:
- Pressure equipment
- Low-voltage electrical equipment
- Equipment for use in potentially explosive atmospheres
Products that do not fall under these Directives - such as manually-powered machinery (except those used for lifting), tools and ladders - must not be CE marked.
Q: Does a combination of machines have to be CE marked?
Yes. When you combine a series of complete machines and / or partly completed machines so they operate as a single assembly line (ie under a single control system), you have to:
This must be done for the complete assembly line as a whole, even if each individual machine has its own CE mark. The technical file only needs to contain the design details and drawings of any control systems and other parts you've had to supply or modify, and the Declarations of Conformity / Incorporation for each of the items in the line.
Q: When did the new, amended, Machinery Directive become law?
Directive 2006/42/EC must have been transposed into the national legislation of all 27 member states by 29 June 2008 and became the national law in each member state from 29 December 2009.
Q: Can other national laws be used instead of the Machinery Directive?
The Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC is European law and supersedes all other national Laws or Regulations regarding the design manufacture and supply of machinery, including lifting platforms and stair lifts.
Q: What is an essential safety and health requirement?
The Essential Health and Safety Requirements of the EC Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC are written with the intention to make manufacturers look for, understand, and prevent any hazards produced by the movement of the machinery. Lift tables, dock levellers, vehicle tail lifts and many more products provided by ALEM members are regulated by the relevant Essential Health and Safety Requirements of the EC Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC.
Q: Are there any extra checks needed other than by the manufacturer?
Not always. According to the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC Annex IV, if the lifting height (travel) of a product exceeds 3.0 metres,it must either:
- Be EC type tested and certified by an accredited European Notified body OR
- Fully comply with the harmonised EN standard OR
- The manufacturer must have a quality assurance system, such as ISO 9001, approved by an accredited notified body, which covers both product development and manufacture
Q: Who does any extra checks that are needed when the travel height is over 3 metres?
Accredited European Notified Bodies such as, for example, TUV, DNV, IMQ, Liftinstituut, etc., have issued EC type test Certificates for European manufacturers of lifting products for travel heights of 3.0 m. and higher with the risk assessments made in conformity with the applicable Essential Health and Safety requirements of the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC
Q: How do I know that a lift table, or other product, with a travel height over 3 metres is safe?
A lift table or other product with a travel height over 3 metres will have been risk assessed by the manufacturer to meet all the relevant Essential Health and Safety Requirements of the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC. If it does not fully comply with the European standard, or if the manufacturer does not have a quality assurance system, such as ISO 9001, approved by an accredited notified body, which covers both product development and manufacture, then it must be EC type tested by an accredited European Notified Body who will issue a Type Examination Certificate. Once one of these conditions has been met the manufacturer signs, and issues with the machine, a Declaration of Conformity and affixes the CE mark, thus officially declaring it to be safe for use and allowing it to be legally sold in any EU member state irrespective of other national standards or regulations.
Q: Can I demand information from the manufacturer's technical file?
No. This file contains confidential information that the manufacturer does not have to release to their customers. However, manufacturers must supply full instructions for the safe use of the product, as well as certain other information, such as the noise and vibration levels of the machinery, and how to combine the item with other products (if this is envisaged).European member state market surveillance authorities have the right to demand information from the technical file, but they have a legal duty to keep the relevant information confidential.
Q: Can an EU national authority refuse to allow products that meet the requirements of the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC to be supplied?
To prevent or restrict the supply of a legitimately CE-marked product is a serious violation against the free movement of goods, services and capitals within the EU member States.
Q: What does an EU national authority have to do if it wants to restrict the supply of any product?
If national authorities do not accept that a legitimately CE-marked product is safe to use they have to file a Safeguard Clause and contact the European Commission and the manufacturer, stating in writing the legal reasons why they have stopped this product from being supplied and installed.
Q: What are the main requirements of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER)?
The main requirements are essentially that any risks to people's health and safety arising from the use of work equipment are prevented or controlled by:
- Selecting and providing the right equipment for the job
- Ensuring work equipment is safely used by trained people
- Inspecting and maintaining work equipment so it remains safe
These requirements must be met by employers, the self-employed and by people who have control over work equipment. There are also other more detailed requirements in PUWER, for example compliance with European Community requirements and the guarding of dangerous parts. There are particular provisions in PUWER relating to mobile work equipment, woodworking machinery and power presses.
Q: What is work equipment?
Work equipment is any machinery, appliance, apparatus, tool or installation for use at work, whether exclusively used at work or not. The scope of work equipment is therefore extremely wide.
Q: Who should carry out maintenance?
Maintenance work  should only be undertaken by those who are competent to do so, who have the necessary knowledge and experience to:
- Know what to look at
- Know what to look for
- Know what to do, and
- Be aware of, and able to avoid, unnecessary risks to themselves and others
In some cases, workers undertaking maintenance on certain types of equipment should have specific training  is relevant to that work.
Q: What does LOLER apply to?
LOLER (the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations) apply to any lifting equipment used at work - including employees' own lifting equipment - for lifting or lowering loads, including attachments used for anchoring, fixing or supporting it. However, the Regulations do not extend to fixed anchor points that form part of a building or structure.
LOLER covers a wide range of equipment, including:
- Fork-lift trucks
- Lift tables
- Mobile elevating work platforms
- Vehicle inspection platform hoists
The Regulations also include lifting accessories, such as chains, slings, eyebolts etc.
Q: When do the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) apply?
LOLER applies to work equipment used for lifting operations (ie 'operations concerned with the lifting or lowering of a load'). The Regulations also apply to the safe installation, marking and thorough examination / inspection of lifting equipment. These requirements must be met by employers, the self-employed and by people who have control over work equipment. The recording of examinations and inspections is also required by LOLER, and those conducting them have duties under the Regulations for reporting serious defects - both to the user and to the relevant enforcing authority.
Q: What is lifting equipment?
Lifting equipment is any work equipment where the principal function is to lift and lower loads. This term also applies to any accessory used to attach or support the equipment doing the lifting. Equipment that lifts only as an incidental aspect of its main function (eg a pallet truck, or a system for conveying parts through an oven) is not considered lifting equipment.
Q: What is a LOLER thorough examination?
This is a complete and thorough check of the equipment and safety-critical parts, carried out at specified intervals by a competent person and concluded with a written report. The report must include the date of the thorough examination and the date the next one is due. It should also specify any defects that are / are about to become a danger to people. Where serious defects are identified, the competent person carrying out the examination must report this verbally to the dutyholder and then provide this information in a written report. A copy of the report must also be sent to the relevant enforcing authority.
Q: My lifting equipment is already serviced regularly. Is a thorough examination still required?
Yes. Thorough examination of lifting equipment must be carried out in all cases, taking place every 12 months; or every 6 months when used to lift people, or for any lifting accessory. The examination intervals may differ, where there is a written scheme drawn up by a competent person, which may specify other intervals that may be shorter or exceptionally longer.
If your service included the fitting of any new parts covered by LOLER then a thorough examination must also be carried out before use. Thorough examination may also be required following any:
- Accident or dangerous occurrence
- Significant change in conditions of use
- Long periods of inaction
Q: Can the organisation servicing my equipment also carry out the thorough examination?
Yes. But the competent person undertaking the thorough examination should not be the same person who services / maintains the equipment, as they would be responsible for assessing their own work. A competent person should be sufficiently independent and impartial in to make objective decisions. Although a competent person that undertakes thorough examinations is usually employed by a different company, they may be employed by the equipment user, provided they have sufficient independence to act impartially.
Q: Where can I find answers to other questions about CE marking and safety?
Use the link below to the HSE FAQs for Work equipment and Machineryhttp://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/faq.htm
Q: Who can I ask a question about a specific product?
If the product is one which is covered by ALEM you can either contact the supplier direct of the ALEM Secretary General using the 'Contact Us' tab on this site.