MEP calls for machine register

By Sandy Guthrie04 July 2013

Elisabetta Gardini MEP

Elisabetta Gardini MEP

In an attempt to clamp down on the importation of non-compliant machinery, an Italian member of the European Parliament has called on the European Commission for mandatory registration of construction equipment.

The MEP, Elisabetta Gardini, has submitted two questions to the Commission on the issues of the importation of non-compliant construction equipment and on the lack of a registry – at EU or national level – to make the location, ownership and rate of obsolescence of those vehicles known.

She said that despite huge investments in research and development to produce compliant machines, European manufacturers of construction equipment were penalised compared to others who did not respect the rules.

Ms Gardini added that there were other elements of this that should be taken into consideration when non-compliant machines were used. She cited the effects on employment levels, on operators that use machines which could have lower than normal security systems, and on the environment, as a non-compliant machine may not respect regulations on gas and noise emissions.

Her other point addressed to the Commission queried the lack of a method of surveying the near 250,000 construction machines placed on the EU market every year.

“Once sold,” she said, “we know practically nothing of these machines.”

She said that there was no way of knowing where they were and for how long they had been used, what their level of wear was and whether they complied with European law.

Her question also pointed out that in the case of natural disasters, the authorities encountered difficulties quickly locating the proper equipment that was present locally.

The Commission replies to questions such as these in 60 days at most.

Enrico Prandini, vice president of Italian construction equipment trade association Unacea, said he was pleased to learn of Ms Gardini’s initiative.

“Market surveillance and a construction equipment registry are strictly linked,” he said. “Mandatory machine registration is the keystone to prevent the input of non-compliant machines in the European market.

“In addition, the registry would be an important instrument to fight against thefts and to find out the more obsolete and polluting machines.” He said this would enable local, focused incentives to protect the environment and increase building site safety.

EC proposal

Unacea and its European federation, the Committee for European Construction Equipment (CECE), said they appreciated February’s European Commission proposal on market surveillance – Product Safety & Market Surveillance Package.

They said it contained important improvements, such as the standardisation of market surveillance rules between consumer and capital goods, an enhanced co-operation among member countries, the harmonisation of the procedures, and the possibility of petitioning the surveillance authorities over non-compliance.

In addition to these measures, Unacea and CECE are proposing some enhancements. These include a better harmonisation of penalties to avoid a situation where non-compliant machines are placed on the market in countries with more affordable fines.

They are also suggesting the channelling of at least a portion of the penalties into financing surveillance activities, plus an obligation for offenders to pay for the machine inspection, along with the removal of a non-compliant machine from the market or its destruction.

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