European Trade Union Institute, ETUI.

Machinery Legislation

ETUI and the ADCO task force "Standardisation"

ETUI marks six years of cooperation with the market surveillance authorities of the Machinery Administrative Cooperation Group (Machinery ADCO Group)


Regulation (EU) No 1025/2012 on European standardisation has given more impetus to the activity of the ADCO task force “standardisation”, whose main objective is to get more action to improve standards for industrial products, without resulting in long delays or resorting to safeguard actions. The ETUI contribution to ADCO combines the activities associated to the ErgoMach platform and the ETUI involvement in the machinery and ergonomic work carried out in CEN and in the European Commission technical bodies.

On May 27, 2015, the ADCO task force "standardisation" met up at ETUI in Bruxelles, with the objective to make progress after the Machinery ADCO meeting in Cracow in October 2014. During that meeting, the ADCO task force "standardisation" stressed the need to discuss how improvements in defective standards can best be achieved in a cooperative manner. It was also reminded the official CEN/CENELEC view on this matter, whereby it is for national authorities (ADCO members) to take a direct interest by joining their national shadow groups or joining the WG directly to help with the drafting. However, this presents a number of challenges, including the time and cost involved at a time of falling budgets among Market Surveillance Authorities (MSA), and the number of standards listed under the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC.

Today no formal system is actually in place for interaction between the ADCO and the standards development process. Dialogue is needed, because as a minimum the ADCO needs to be involved at three milestones in the standards development process:1. The mandate – new work item stage; 2. The public enquiry, and 3. Consideration by the Commission for Listing at the OJ. Between these steps, ADCO should be monitoring the process as and when required with the cooperation of the CEN/CENELEC Consultant.

After a constructive discussion, the meeting at ETUI achieved consensus on the following points:

  • It would be important to make an inventory of the public authority experts already sitting in CEN/CENELEC TCs/WGs: this would facilitate exchange of views and possible cooperation projects. More importantly, any of these experts could be asked to inject into selected standards the technical recommendations elaborated and agreed within ADCO.
  • ADCO technical recommendations could be elaborated on the basis of evidence from 'Feedback' projects, accident reports, other studies like the ones carried out by KAN, endorsed as formal ADCO standpoints and delivered to: the European Commission (Machinery Working Group, the Reg.1025 Committee), Consultants, TC’s Chairman, WG’s Convenor, Machinery Sector Rapporteur.
  • ADCO Machinery could cover accidents & incidents associated with standards on a permanent basis during the regular ADCO meetings: potential standards shortcomings could be included in market surveillance reports. If consensus is evident, remedial action should be planned.

The meeting of the ADCO task force "standardisation" was attended by Marie-Laurence Guillaume, recently appointed Director of the Office of equipment and workplaces of the French Ministry of Work, to whom the members of the task force expressed the best wishes for a successful cooperation.


The meeting hosted by ETUI follows the ADCO task force meeting that took place on July 16th, 2014, at KAN, in Germany, where - under the chairmanship of Werner Sterk, Deputy director of the KAN Secretariat and Head of the Safety Technology Department - the task force discussed three critical topics:

  • How to ensure that ADCO’s representatives can present information to CEN directly at European level during all stages of standards preparation: better collaboration between authorities and standard makers can help resolve conflicting views, disagreements and misunderstandings at an early stage.
  • How to improve cooperation with CEN Consultants: their role is important in helping CEN comply with mandates, and in producing valuable information to the European Commission when implementing the Regulation 1025/2012.
  • How to involve the members of other “industrial” ADCO groups in order to share experiences and cooperate in joint projects funded by the European Union: the AdCo groups associated to the products directives share similar concerns on the quality of harmonised standards.

Members of the ADCO task force "Standardisation" Phil Papard, Linda Halvorsen, Corrado Mattiuzzo, Ludwig Finkeldei and Werner Sterk while preparing the flowchart describing the outcomes of the meeting at KAN.

Read more on the ETUI experience with ADCO task force.