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The EU Machinery Regulation: A New Era for Technical Documentation

The European Union places high importance on ensuring the safety of machinery used within its borders. To achieve this, the recently implemented EU Machinery Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2023/1230) sets out strict requirements for the design, manufacturing, and operation of machinery. As a crucial element in demonstrating machinery compliance, technical documentation takes center stage under these new regulations.

What's Changed?

The Machinery Regulation builds upon the previous Machinery Directive (2006/42/EC) but introduces some key changes regarding technical documentation. Here's a breakdown of what manufacturers need to know:

  • Focus on Risk Assessment: The new regulation emphasizes a thorough risk assessment process. Technical documentation must now explicitly demonstrate how the identified risks have been mitigated through design and safety features.

  • Cybersecurity Considerations: For machinery with safety functions relying on software or connected to networks, the technical documentation needs to address potential cybersecurity risks and how they are addressed.

  • Digital Documentation Formats: While paper documentation remains acceptable for a transition period, the regulation paves the way for digital formats. Manufacturers can now provide instructions for use and declarations of conformity in digital formats, as long as accessibility for end-users is ensured.

What Does This Mean for Technical Documentation?

These changes necessitate a more comprehensive and future-proof approach to technical documentation. Here are some key considerations:

  • Detailed Risk Assessment Documentation: Technical documentation must go beyond simply listing hazards. It should detail the risk assessment process, including the methodology used, identified risks, and implemented mitigation measures.

  • Software and Cybersecurity Integration: For machinery with a digital element, the technical documentation needs to encompass software safety considerations and how potential cyber threats are addressed. This might involve documentation related to software development processes, vulnerability assessments, and security patching procedures.

  • Digital Transformation Readiness: Manufacturers should invest in tools and processes that facilitate the creation, management, and delivery of technical documentation in digital formats. This could involve implementing a CCMS (Component Content Management System) or CDP (Content Delivery Platform) to streamline content creation, ensure consistency, and enable easy access for end-users.

Benefits of a Compliant Approach

By adhering to the new Machinery Regulation requirements for technical documentation, manufacturers gain several advantages:

  • Simplified Market Access: Demonstrating compliance through well-structured technical documentation facilitates a smoother path to placing machinery on the EU market.

  • Enhanced Safety: Detailed documentation ensures a clear understanding of the machinery's risks and how to operate it safely, ultimately reducing accidents and injuries.

  • Improved Transparency: Comprehensive documentation fosters trust and transparency with regulators, authorities, and end-users.


The EU Machinery Regulation signifies a renewed focus on technical documentation as a cornerstone of machinery safety. By embracing a risk-based approach, integrating cybersecurity considerations, and preparing for digital documentation formats, manufacturers can ensure compliance and contribute to a safer environment for everyone involved.