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Purchasing CE marked machinery
When purchasing CE marked machinery, you need to perform a risk assessment. A CE mark doesn’t guarantee that an independent competent body has looked at the safety of the machine. Furthermore, the manufacturer doesn’t necessarily know the environment the machine will be used in. As buyer you become responsible for the safety of the people who will work with the machine.
A CE mark is an indication that the machine is safe at the moment of putting on the market. But keeping the machine safe during the rest of its life-time is the responsibility of the owner. When selecting a machine you want to purchase, it is advised to perform some basic actions and checks before the purchase is made:* .
Reliability of the EC declaration
The EC declaration that must be provided should mention up-to-date directives and standards that are applicable to the machine. Also you can check the date and signature of this EC declaration, and whether the identity of the person who signed is described.
The manual should not only describe the functionality and usage instructions. It should also provide proper installation and maintenance instructions, and what to do in case of issues (trouble-shooting). It is also important to know if, and how the machine needs to be inspected and/or tested after installation. This can be an important point before your people start operating it.
Basic safety measures
Before purchase you could take a look at similar machines and get an idea of what you can and/or should expect regarding safety measures. For instance: Where is the CE mark located and does it provide the right information? Are the emergency stops positioned at the correct and desired locations? Are safety switches and guards positioned at locations where you should expect these (e.g. in the door of a milling machine)? In case of lifting and hoisting tools you can check if the Work Load Limit label is present and visible for the people who will use it.
One of the important things to check is if the intended use for this machinery in specifically your application is also in-line with the use as described in the manual. The manual can explicitly describe exclusions that might interfere with your application. If this is the case, and you are considering modifications in order to make the machine “fit for purpose”, please check our previous article about modifying existing machinery.
Risk assessment for all life phases
It is advised to perform a risk assessment of the machine as being used in specifically your environment and your intended use. In such a risk assessment you should include all life phases. In other words, do not only consider the daily operation, but also risks involved when setting and adjusting the machine, maintaining and servicing the machine and when dismantling the machine at the end of its life.
After you performed these actions, you can determine whether the machine you would like to purchase is suitable. If you need assistance in these kind of assessments, feel free to contact www.bkl.nl
To be continued ….The next article will be about how to keep the machine safe during its period of use.
*The list here is not complete, but provides main attention points.