Close the gaps in the CE-Marking of equipment for plastics processing!
Amendment in the machine guidelines lets German legislators become active.
Frankfurt (FSK). “Liability and work safety hazards are slumbering at many plastics processors due to the non-existence of CE-markings on machines and production lines as called for by Equipment Safety Laws'', is how Rebecca Ebermann-Finken, the chairwoman of the workgroup for environment and work safety in the FSK (Specialist Association for Foamed Plastics), summed up the results on this subject at the FSK’s specialist workshop.
Although there is a EU-Machine Guideline MRL (Maschinen-Richtlinie 98/37/EG),which has been in effect since 1998 and is implemented in the German 9th ordinance regarding Equipment Safety Law, the responsibility of the companies for correct CE-marking is overlooked in 70% of the cases, said the specialist group chairwoman Ebermann-Finken. This was also confirmed by the experts, Gerhard Bartel from the machine manufacturing company Hennecke as well as Peter Jablonowski from the company Bayer Industrie Services, who pointed out the general conditions and responsibilities of suppliers from the various legal foundations.
So it happens that in operating practices the responsibility of the plastic processing firms is underestimated. Every production plant that receives machines and forms from various suppliers and sets these up as a production line must, as plastic processors, follow up on CE-marking including evaluation of hazards and safety measures said Rebecca Ebermann-Finken. This is particularly true if own “substantial alterations” were made to the delivered machines or production equipment. The CE-marking is an important factor when buying used equipment or when importing such equipment. Often the expense of the CE-marking is forgotten when looking at an alleged low price. Used machines are often lacking the necessary documents of origin such as the declaration of conformity and operating instructions with corresponding safety information. Also “low-cost suppliers” of new machines from abroad often do not deliver the necessary documents with unfortunate consequences for the buyer. It is quite often the case that larger plastic processors often have their own tool shop so that marking, with the evaluation of hazards and safety measures for work safety, are necessary here too.
Many companies are not aware of the liability risks, even under the aspects of criminal liability, is the conclusion which was reached by the FSK practical workshop. Particularly fatal work accidents, which have also happened in the plastic manufacturing business, have resulted in criminal proceedings not only for the management. The loss of insurance proceeds may be yet another consequence. The liability of persons responsible in these companies will be pushed back into the spotlight of legislators and surveillance authorities when the amendment of the EU guideline is implemented in German law. The conclusion of the FSK workshop “Liability, risks and responsibility in machine guidelines and CE-marking in plastic processing production companies”, with approx. 40 experts from various areas of plastic processing participating, is that the machine guideline will become an amendment implemented in national law (e.g. in German Equipment Safety Laws) by the end of 2009. It was agreed to keep in touch through the FSK advisory boards and to check against one another regarding questions concerning the practical implementation. For further information from the FSK on this matter www.fsk-vsv.de or 0692992070