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New interpretation paper from ministry clears things up

What is “substantial modification” to machinery?

The new interpretation paper on “Substantial modification to machinery” was published by the Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs (MBAS) on 09 April 2015. An English version is now available, so the contents of this important paper can be discussed with European and international customers.
It is a question which has often led to discussions and uncertainty in the past. The background: If a machine operator makes a modification of this kind, by amalgamating a number of incomplete machines into a whole machines or linking them up into a system, they become a manufacturer and must therefore comply with all the directives and, where applicable, standards of machine safety applicable to a manufacturer. Conversion of existing machines also raises the question as to whether a substantial modification has been made or not. Based on the definition, this kind of modification can be considered to have been made if a functional change (intended use), a performance increase or a change in safety technology has been carried out.
The interpretation paper published on 09 April 2015 in the Joint Ministerial Gazette (GMBl 2015, p 183), produced in conjunction with the BAuA (Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) now clarifies the issue.

English version of the interpretation paper - Download

Context Column

Photo: Dieter Poschmann /