An overview regarding the relevance of EU Directives when assessing the safety of laser products
In practice, there are often uncertainties about the relevance of safety regulations for laser products. Frequently, the questions arise: Which regulation has to be applied for a certain laser product? Is the product considered to be machinery covered by the Machinery Directive?
The European single market legislation provides the legal framework for a consistent safety level of products made available on the European market. There are specific European regulations regarding the safety of certain product categories such as the Low-Voltage Directive 2014/35/EU or the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC.
Moreover, it can be necessary to apply further European Directives, in addition to the Machinery Directive - in particular in cases of risks or if aspects arise which are not or only partially covered by the Machinery Directive, e.g. the Pressure Equipment Directive, the ATEX Directive or the EMC Directive.
Regarding products without specific regulations by European law, the General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) defines general safety and health requirements.
But which of these regulations are relevant to specific laser devices?
The Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) therefore provides an overview of the relevance of EU Directives to typical laser products. The main issue, though, is to point out which products are subject to the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC. The document provided here is intended to act as a guide for all concerned parties: In the field of construction and manufacture, for purchasers and users of laser products, as well as for market surveillance authorities, supervisory agencies of the German Social Accident Insurance Institutions, and testing bodies.
One essential component is a correlation table of typical laser products and associated regulations for ensuring the safety of such products. An attachment contains additional explanations and justifications as well as bibliographical references.
The document provided here reflects the professional opinion of a working group comprising experts in both laser and machine safety from the German Social Accident Insurance Institution for the energy, textile, electrical and media products sectors (Berufsgenossenschaft Energie Textil Elektro Medienerzeugnisse - BG ETEM) and BAuA. Besides some editorial changes, the second revision of this document also expands upon the first version, in particular by incorporating comments and suggestions from experts.