Machinery safety, product liability rules to be updated
11 May, 2018
With a view to ensuring that legislation keeps up with emerging digital technologies and innovative products, the Commission published last Monday evaluation reports on EU machinery safety and product liability rules, the EU press service reported. According to the Commission, the EU is supporting industry modernisation with initiatives such as measures on artificial intelligence and an upcoming strategy on connected and automated driving, and Europe needs to seize the opportunities ahead.
The published results show that both Product Liability Directive and Machinery Directive are fit for purpose and conducive to innovation, according to Internal Market Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska. “European industry is competitive, not only because we have great innovative minds, but also because we have a conducive framework. We are happy to see that our existing legislation is fit for purpose in a changing world. It makes our EU products both safe and competitive,” she said.
The Machinery Directive sets general health and safety requirements for products, such as robots or 3D printers. Which technical solutions should be deployed to meet the high safety level is then left to manufacturers. For this reason, the Directive functions like an umbrella framework leaving leeway for products to be innovated, says the EU executive. The Product Liability Directive foresees that if a product causes damage to a person or their private property, the producer is liable to pay compensation. According to the evaluation, the Directive continues to strike a good balance between consumer protection and encouraging innovation in the EU.
The Commission says it will launch a study to further look into certain aspects of emerging technologies, such as issues arising from human-machine collaboration, which are not explicitly addressed by the Directive.