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Modified Machinery and UK Law


A lot of machinery used in workplaces such as factories, engineering works or agricultural land is either refurbished or modified. Sometimes this happens prior to a change of ownership as it is intended to be re-supplied as second-hand equipment, or it may be modified by the owner for their own use.

Such changes to the original machinery are subject to the law, with the extent of the modifications possibly inciting new legal obligations for either the owner or operators of the machinery. If the machinery has been modified or rebuilt to such an extent that it could be considered as an entirely new machine, it will likely be subject to a new conformity assessment with regard to the CE marking requirements of the Machinery Directive, and this is the case even if the original machine was already compliant with the CE marking requirements before its modification. A refurbished machine where some parts have been replaced with newer parts that are the same or similar versions, then reapplying for the CE marking is not required.

This grey area can be confusing so here we will look at a bit closer at the legal requirements of refurbished or modified machinery.

Legal Requirement of Modified Machinery

Any changes made to the original design, function or safety of a machine – or assembly of machines working in unison – must be assessed by the owners and operators of the machinery to ensure they abide by the law.

Substantial changes can mean the machine might be considered a new machine in the eyes of the law, for which you must undertake the full set of conformity assessments to ensure the upgraded version of the machinery meets all the relevant requirements of any European product supply directives, primarily the Machinery Directive. Even in the aftermath of the impending Brexit, these requirements will remain in place for all UK businesses until such time that a proper re-assessment of the law can be undertaken.

UK law requires all industrial machinery to be safe to use, even if the modifications do not require a new application for the CE marking or future equivalent. If the machinery is going to be sold on and re-supplied after the modifications, then the seller must meet their obligations as a supplier of equipment for use at work as outlined in section 6 of the HSW Act.

Other Legal Requirements of Modified Machinery

Further ensuring that all refurbished and modified machinery is safe to use in the workplace, there are several other industry regulations and official requirements that either all machinery types or some specific machinery must meet.

These include:

  • Electricity at Work Regulations
  • Pressure Systems Safety Regulations
  • Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations

As an industrial gearbox supplier and an industrial motor supplier (amongst the many other machinery parts they supply), YB Components seeks only to supply suitable components for the correct machinery and can advise any companies seeking replacement parts. Local stocks are kept so that same day delivery can be offered to businesses based in and around Yorkshire, while fast and free shipping is available all over the UK as well as around the world.

If you require any industrial gearboxes or industrial motors, then contact YB Components who are the UK’s leading industrial machinery parts suppliers.