VDMA warns on non-compliant machines

By Helen Wright11 June 2012

The German Engineering Federation (VDMA) has issued new guidelines that outline the risks of buying or selling non-compliant machines in the EU.

Aimed at contractors and dealers, the guidelines warn of legal and reputational ramifications of handling machines that do not hold a CE-mark - a mandatory conformance certificate for many products placed on the market in the European Economic Area.

The consequences of using illegal machines include financial penalties and even imprisonment resulting from violations of health and safety or environmental legislation. For instance, in Belgium penalties of up to €20,000 can be applied, while in the UK an unlimited fine and a three-month prison sentence can be handed down for offences against the Manslaughter Act and Consumer Protection Act, according to the guidelines.

The guidelines also state that the use of non-compliant machines could also result in loss of insurance and warranty, and customers could also refuse to pay for illegal machines. In addition, national authorities have the right to impose sanctions on employers infringing their obligation to provide safe and compliant equipment to their employees.

The VDMA also warned that contractors could be excluded from public tenders if they are discovered with non-compliant machines, and their reputation could be damaged if a violation is made public.

The sale, use and purchase of non‑compliant construction equipment in the EU is a problem for the European construction equipment industry, which has strict quality standards.

Various trade bodies including VDMA, the Committee for the European Construction Equipment Industry (CECE), European Construction Industry Federation (FIEC) and the Italian construction equipment association (Unacea) have repeatedly called for increased market surveillance.

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