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9. Ordinance to the Product Safety Act (9th ProdSV - Machinery Regulation) and electrical products

When do products fall under the Low Voltage Directive, when under the Machinery Directive?

If electrical products are machines at the same time, two directives are also in principle suitable. Which of them actually applies is clearly regulated.

Many electrical products are also machines within the meaning of the European Machinery Directive 2006/42 / EC and the 9th ProdSV, which translates this directive into German law. Historically, however, in the past, many such machines have been governed by the low-voltage directive. The application areas of the Low Voltage Directive 2014/35/EU (2006/95/EC) and the old Machinery Directive have been defined according to the Risk Principle in the Machinery Directive (98/37/EC Article 1, para 5).

When a machine was mainly exposed to electricity hazards, it fell exclusively within the scope of the Low Voltage Directive. This approach led to uncertainties among users, which could not be completely eliminated by the explanations given in the guideline on the Low Voltage Directive.

The new Machinery Directive excludes certain electrical products

The distinction is made in the new Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC, which has been in force since 29 December 2009, by the exclusion of certain groups of electrical products from the scope of application. Article 1 (2) excludes the following electrical products:

k) electric and electronic products of the following types, as covered by Directive 2014/35/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on the reconciliation of the legislations of the Member States relating to electrical equipment designed for use within certain voltage limits:

  • household appliances intended for domestic use,
  • audio sets and VCRs,
  • information technology equipment,
  • ordinary office machines,
  • low-voltage switchgear and control units,
  • electric motors;

l) the following types of high voltage electrical equipment:

  • switchgear and control units,
  • transformators.

The Guide to application of Directive 2006/42/EC - 1st Edition, December 2009) contains the explanations for the above mentioned product groups in §§ 63 - 70.

The instructions given in the guide (§ 63) are particularly important for electrical products which are dealt with in the series of standards DIN EN 60335: "Safety of electrical appliances for domestic use and similar purposes".

Differences between work equipment and consumer products

In household appliances, which can be used both as a means of work (commercial) and as a consumer product (in households), so-called migration products, the manufacturer decides which directive applies. If the manufacturer states in the operating instructions or in the declaration of conformity that the appliance is intended for domestic use, this appliance is assigned to the Low Voltage Directive. This means that the device must meet the safety and health requirements of the low-voltage directive. In addition, the conformity assessment procedure shall be carried out in accordance with the provisions of the Low Voltage Directive. If the manufacturer determines the device for commercial use, the machine guideline is to be applied.

Both the Low Voltage Directive and the Machinery Directive fully cover all hazards arising from an electrical product that is also a machine in the sense of the Machinery Directive. Therefore only the Low Voltage Directive 2014/35/EU or the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC may be listed in the declaration of conformity.