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Use of work equipment

This summary has been archived and will not be updated, because the summarised document is no longer in force or does not reflect the current situation.

Use of work equipment

To implement minimum practical measures with a view to encouraging an improvement in the health and safety of workers when using work equipment.


Council Directive 89/655/EEC of 30 November 1989 concerning the minimum safety and health requirements for the use of work equipment by workers at work (second individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC) [See amending acts].


Employers' obligations:

  • to base the choice of work equipment on the specific working conditions and hazards existing for workers in order to eliminate or at least minimise those hazards. Equipment made available to workers for the first time after 31 December 1992 must comply with the minimum requirements laid down in the Annex, in as far as no other Community Directive is applicable or is so only partially; work equipment already made available for use by 31 December 1992 must comply with the minimum requirements no later than four years after that date. Use, maintenance or repair of work equipment involving a specific risk may only be carried out by the workers who have been specifically designated to the task;
  • to provide workers with adequate information and written instructions on work equipment, containing at least adequate safety and health information;
  • to provide the workers using the equipment with adequate training, including training on any risk which such use might entail;
  • to ensure that where the safety of work equipment depends on the installation conditions it will be subject to an initial inspection and inspection after each time it is reassembled;
  • to ensure that the work equipment is subject to periodic inspections and special inspections after any occurrence liable to jeopardise its safety;
  • to take fully into account the work station and position of workers while using work equipment, as well as the ergonomic principles, when applying the minimum safety requirements;
  • to ensure that workers are aware of the potential dangers to which they are exposed in their immediate working environment;
  • to provide for the consultation and participation of workers on matters covered by the Directive.

Amendment of the Annex

The addition of supplementary minimum requirements applicable to specific work equipment shall be adopted by the Council (procedure laid down in Article 138 of the Treaty). Directive 2001/45/EC, for example, introduced minimum requirements with a view to improving the health and safety of persons working at a height (ladders, scaffolding and ropes), thus helping to bring about a significant reduction in the number of falls.

Technical adjustments shall be adopted by the Commission (procedure laid down in Directive 89/391/EEC).



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 89/655/EEC



Official Journal L 393 of 30.12.1989

Amending act(s)

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2001/45/EC



OJ L195 of 19.7.2001

Directive 95/63/EC



OJ L 335 of 30.12.1995

Directive 2007/30/EC



OJ L 165 of 27.6.2007

Last updated: 07.04.2008