Section 8 of the 2005 Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act requires employers to ensure that machinery is designed, provided and maintained so as to be safe and without risk to health. The use of any machinery should be covered by a risk assessment in accordance with section 19 of this Act.
More specific technical requirements are contained in Chapter 2 of the 2007 Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations [S.I.No.299/2007 and S.I.No.732/ 2007] which deal with the use of work equipment. These Regulations transpose the “Use of Work Equipment” Directive into national law and also include the requirements for the statutory examination of lifting equipment. In respect of statutory examination of lifting equipment they apply not only to employers but also to those who hire out lifting equipment.
These regulations set down the minimum requirements for machinery in use including the requirement to ensure that it complies with the provisions of any relevant enactment implementing any relevant Directive of the European Communities.
Other parts of the “General Application” Regulations are also relevant to machinery safety such as those parts dealing with electricity, noise and vibration.
The duties on designers and manufacturers of machinery are set out in the Machinery Directive [2006/42/EC] which has been transposed into national law by the 2008 European Communities (Machinery) Regulations [S.I.No.407/2008].These Regulations apply to completed and partly completed machinery, interchangeable equipment, machine related safety components, lifting accessories, chains, ropes and webbing, and removable mechanical transmission devices such as PTO shafts. This Directive also applies to the import of non-compliant machinery including second-hand equipment, into the European Union making the importer responsible for bringing the machinery into conformity.
The European Commission has produced a detailed guide to the Machinery Directive.
The use of machinery is also addressed in legislation specific to certain industries such as offshore, construction, mines and quarries.