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Machinery and tools, general

General information on machine protection

The EU’s Machine Directive was implemented in Danish legislation in 1993.
The requirements of the Machine Directive in respect of safety and marketing are applicable to all machines manufactured after that date. The Directive is also applicable to all used machines imported from countries outside the EU.

Machines produced before 1 January 1993 must still be compliant with Danish regulations.

Purchasing machinery

Before buying a new machine, it is necessary to assess:

  • Where and how it will be used.
  • Who will use it.
  • What health and safety risks may occur.
  • What the machine is like in relation to equivalent machines.
  • How daily cleaning and maintenance take place.
  • Are the noise and vibration levels acceptable.

When you buy a new machine, check whether it comes with usage instructions in Danish, and whether a copy of the EU declaration of conformity is supplied. The usage instructions must include information on how you should set up, use and maintain the machine.

Obligations of the supplier

On delivery, machines must be fitted with the necessary protective equipment. They must also be designed to be as user-friendly and as quiet as possible.


They must also include warnings and information on other types of hazard which may occur despite the safety arrangements.

All new machines must be provided with a rating plate which provides the name and address of the manufacturer, the series and type designation, any serial number and the year of manufacture. The machines must also be provided with a CE label which indicates that the machine is compliant with the requirements of the Machine Directive and hence Danish legislation. This label must be clear and durable.

When the machine is CE-labelled, the manufacturer must also supply an EU declaration of conformity with each individual machine.

The name and address of the importer must be stated on the machine.

Usage instructions

Usage instructions in Danish must be provided with all machines.
The usage instructions must include the necessary information on how you can use the machine safely.

The usage instructions must also include information on how to:

  • Start the machine.
  • Use the machine.
  • Operate the machine.
  • Set up the machine.
  • Install the machine.
  • Set the machine.
  • Maintain and repair the machine.

Any safety inspection requirements must also be specified in the usage instructions. They must also include information on the necessary training and any use of personal protective equipment, as well as information on vibration and noise levels.

The usage instructions include the plans and diagrams required to allow you to use the machine, maintain it, inspect it, check it and repair it, as well as other useful information on the subject of safety. The usage instructions must be readily accessible.

The usage instructions must be specified directly on the machine insofar as this is possible.

Obligations of the user

Machines and similar must always comply with the requirements for technical aids. It is up to employers, business managers, supervisors, repairers and other employees to ensure that this is the case. This is independent of the obligations of the manufacturer and the supplier. Users must also ensure that machines and technical aids are used appropriately in a proper manner with regard to health and safety.

Protective equipment or safety elements must not be removed when you use the machine. Employees must immediately reports faults with the machine or its protective equipment to the person responsible.

Be aware that there are special regulations for children and minors. Minors under 18 normally must not operate machines with fast-moving cutting tools, such as circular saws, metal circular saws, clipping and cutting machines, clippers, milling and planing machines, etc.

However, these machines may be operated by minors under 18 if the machines are shielded in such a way as to render the moving and machining parts inaccessible during operation and there are no other hazards associated with the machine. However, this is possible only if minors receive thorough instruction on how to use the machine.

There must be usage instructions in Danish which indicate how to set up, operate and maintain the machine in connection with work.

Special rules for machines

There are special rules and guidelines for a number of machines and technical aids:

  • Executive orders with technical regulations, the provisions of which must be complied with.
  • At guides, how to use the machine properly. However, this may well be done in other ways as long as at least an equivalent safety level is achieved.

A number of standards have been compiled in connection with the Machine Directive. When a machine is produced in compliance with a harmonised standard, it is possible to assume that the machine is compliant with the requirements of the Machine Directive and hence Danish legislation.


There are no general requirements for approval of machines – although type testing and type approval are required for a number of hazardous machines.

If you are in any doubt as to whether a machine is compliant with applicable rules, you can request information from the Working Environment Authority.


The rules on machine protection are applicable to all machines, irrespective of how they are used and who uses them. These rules are also applicable to machines which are used entirely for private purposes (e.g. hobby machines).

Inspection of machines

It is the obligation of the employer (user) to inspect machines and machine systems regularly in order to ensure that they are entirely safe.

The usage instructions must specify when and how regular maintenance is to take place. Here, it is necessary to comply with the supplier’s instructions.

Inspection should take place at intervals set for each individual machine, e.g. in relation to how often it is used.

The supplier or another expert must carry out the inspection.

Setting up machines

Machines must be set up such that it is possible to work with them comfortably and without risk. There must also be somewhere to repair and maintain the machines.

Design of machines

Machines must be designed such that they do not pose a risk to safety or health when they are installed and maintained and when they are used for the purpose for which they have been designed.

That is to say, they must be designed so that the following elements cannot cause injury:

  • Moving machine elements.
  • Machine elements or materials which are flung out.
  • Development of e.g. smoke, gas, dust, hazardous substances and materials.
  • Noise.
  • Vibration.
  • Electricity.
  • Heat.
  • Cold.
  • Radiation.
  • Fire.
  • Explosion.

It must not be possible to reach or fall into the hazardous area.

It must be possible to carry out work at or with the machine in appropriate working positions.

Protection devices

Protection devices must be able to withstand both physical and chemical influences such as heavyhanded handling and loads from foreseeable misuse.

Mobile safety screens and similar must be connected to the machine in such a way that hazardous machine movement can take place only when the screens are in their safety position.

Protection devices must be inspected regularly, and their function and condition must be checked as indicated by the supplier.


Shields must prevent people from touching hazardous machine elements or tools, or such things being thrown out and causing accidents.
Shields are also used against the risk of radiation, e.g. in the case of heat, light, radioactivity and lasers, and against cold and draughts.


Operating buttons and handles

Buttons, handles and pedals for operation of machines must be designed and positioned so as to prevent incorrect operation. They must be designed correctly from an ergonomic standpoint.

Start buttons must be recessed, covered or subject to requirements so that the machine cannot be started accidentally. Start buttons should ideally be white or green, but they may also be grey or black.

Positioning of operation points

From the operation point, there must normally be a complete overview of the machine’s risk zones. If this is not possible (e.g. in the case of larger, combination machinery), the starting arrangement must automatically give a clear warning signal in plenty of time before the machine starts.

Stop device

Every machine much be fitted with a stop device which can be operated quickly, easily and without risk from a normal operation point. The stop button must normally be red. If there are a number of operation points on one and the same machine, the stop buttons at the other operation points must be designed as emergency stop buttons.

Emergency stop

There must be emergency stops on machines if such emergency stops may limit accidents or prevent near-accidents. There must be emergency stops in the hazardous locations in addition to the normal stop device. If necessary, the emergency stop must be combined with an automatic brake.

The emergency stop must be red and positioned so that it can be seen and operated easily. The emergency stop may be mushroom-shaped, a bar or a line. The word NØDSTOP [EMERGENCY STOP] must appear on or beside an emergency stop. However, the text may be omitted if the emergency stop is a red mushroom shape with a yellow base plate. In some situations, emergency stops may also be integrated into operation pedals, pedals for operation of thread cutting machines and plate rollers. A gentle pressure on the pedal operates the machine, but if the pedal is fully depressed, it stops. That is to say, an emergency stop is built in.

The machine may only be restarted using the normal starting arrangement once the emergency stop has been returned manually to the “ready” position.
If failure of the general operating devices may be hazardous, there must also be an emergency stop together with the operating devices.

Remote control

Radio and other wireless controls are typically used in connection with the operation of cranes, lifting supports, winches, stationary and mobile machines and gates.

It must be possible to carry the operating unit in such a way that it cannot be lost. All hazardous machine movements must normally be controlled by holding them down (dead man’s control function).

The unit must normally be fitted with an emergency stop, a locking option, indicator lamp and durable operating symbols or text which can be understood easily. The driver must normally be able to emit a warning signal, e.g. a horn signal. The receiver must be protected against signals from “foreign” transmitters.

If a signal is stopped, disrupted or is not received, this must normally result in all movements stopping and braking.

When remotely controlled aids are used, there must be signs put up in appropriate places which warn of the fact that remotely controlled aids are in use.

It must be possible to switch off the power supply to a machine quickly and safely.

Hold-down button (dead man’s control)

A hold-down contact is a starter device which ensures that a machine can run only as long as the contact is held down. Anyone operating a hold-down contact must have a complete overview of hazardous machine movements. If the operating device is released, the operator must not be able to reach into the hazard zone until the hazard has been prevented, e.g. when the movement has stopped.

In special cases, it is necessary to stop the movement of the machine both when releasing the operating device and when using force to operate it, i.e. depressing it fully. A three-position contact (panic contact) can be used in these instances.

Two-handed operation

Two-handed operation prevents the operator inserting a hand into the hazardous area of a machine.

Two-handed operation must be positioned and designed such that:

  • Machine movement can commence only if both hands are used simultaneously (it is recommended that the simultaneity required should be set to between 0.2 sec. and 1 sec.).
  • Machine movement stops in less time than it takes to move a hand from two-handed operation to the hazardous area if just one of the operating devices is released.
  • The machine can only be set in motion once again when both operating devices are returned to their starting position.
  • Accidental and incorrect operation are prevented.


A machine must be fitted with brakes if it continues running once the motor has been switched off (run-on) and hence there may be a risk of accidents.

The brakes must normally operate automatically when the power has been switched off. If they do not do so, it must be possible to operate the brakes from the operation point. There must be a sign on the machine with clear, durable text.