Inspections of machinery and equipment

The Finnish Government Decree on the Safety of Machinery (“Machinery Decree”) defines machinery as technical devices including machinery, interchangeable equipment, safety components, lifting equipment, chains, ropes and webbing, and removable mechanical transmission devices.

There are also devices that are excluded from the scope of the Machinery Decree even though they satisfy the definition of machinery. Examples include

  • safety components intended to be used as spare parts to replace identical components and supplied by the manufacturer of the original machinery
  • specific equipment for use in fairgrounds and/or amusement parks
  • machinery specially designed or put into service for nuclear purposes which, in the event of failure, may result in an emission of radioactivity
  • weapons, including firearms
  • certain means of transport (with the exclusion of machinery mounted on these vehicles)
  • seagoing vessels and mobile offshore units and machinery installed on board such vessels and/or units
  • machinery specially designed and constructed for military or police purposes
  • machinery specially designed and constructed for research purposes for temporary use in laboratories
  • mine winding gear
  • machinery intended to move performers during artistic performances
  • certain electrical and electronic products in so far as they are covered by the European Low Voltage Directive (2006/95/EC), such as ordinary office machinery
  • certain kinds of high-voltage electrical equipment, and
  • toys, personal protective equipment, medical devices, lifts and cable cars used to transport people.

Partly completed machinery

Partly completed machinery refers to assemblies that are almost machinery but that cannot in themselves perform a specific application such as manufacture a product or transport objects or substances. Examples of partly completed machinery include drive systems and machinery supplied without a control system. Partly completed machinery is only intended to be incorporated into or assembled with other equipment to form machinery that is capable of performing an application. Partly completed machinery cannot be CE-marked.

However, manufacturers of partly completed machinery still need to supply the same technical documents with their products as manufacturers of completed machinery. The documentation is designed to prove that the partly completed machinery in question satisfies the requirements that the manufacturer claims it does.

Partially completed machinery also needs to be supplied with a declaration of incorporation and assembly instructions.

Outdoor equipment intended for professional use

Occupational safety and health authorities also make sure that all equipment designed for professional use complies with the regulations concerning noise emissions from equipment operated outdoors.

Any non-conformances found during inspections carried out by Regional State Administrative Agencies’ Divisions of Occupational Safety and Health are reported to the regional Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, which refers the case to the Ministry of the Environment.

Manufacturers of equipment intended for outdoor use need to supply their products with an EC declaration of conformity and CE marking as well as a label indicating the equipment’s guaranteed sound power.

The operating instructions must indicate the measured and guaranteed sound power and the technique used to assess conformity. The law also specifies a ceiling for the sound power of certain kinds of equipment that must not be exceeded.

Laser devices intended for professional use

The Finnish Government Decree on laser devices and inspection of the same lays down requirements for certain battery-powered laser devices that are intended for professional use as well as a safety classification scheme for lasers. The Decree does not apply to certain laser devices that are purchased for use by the police, the Finnish Defence Forces or the Finnish Border Guard or to laser equipment that is incorporated into

  • machinery
  • low-voltage equipment
  • medical devices, or
  • telecommunication devices.

Separate provisions also apply to laser devices that are designed for the consumer market as well as to toys.

Occupational safety and health authorities are responsible for supervising the sale and commissioning of the kinds of laser devices that are governed by the Decree. The key requirement laid down in the Decree is that devices belonging to safety classes 2, 2M, 3R, 3B and 4 must undergo a type examination before they can be placed on the market, sold or commissioned.

Inspectors therefore need to check that all laser devices are supplied with a type-examination certificate and any instructions that are crucial for ensuring the safe use of the device in Finnish and Swedish. The device itself must carry a label showing its safety class and details of the type examination. All devices other than those that belong to class 1 must also carry a pictogram and a warning about radiation. The area from which the laser beam is emitted must be clearly marked.

Other equipment intended for professional use

The law also imposes obligations on employers: the Finnish Act on the Conformity of Certain Technical Devices to Relevant Requirements imposes obligations on manufacturers, importers and retailers of equipment other than machinery, personal protective equipment or laser devices, as well as other individuals who sell or supply technical equipment for professional use. The obligations also apply to employers who build such equipment for their employees to use. However, the Act does not apply to any equipment on the marketing or commissioning of which there are provisions elsewhere in the law.

Technical equipment and its components and properties must be designed so that the equipment is fit for its intended use and does not pose a risk to health or safety when used as intended.

Occupational safety and health authorities occasionally also have to deal with cases relating to the manufacture, sale and commissioning of technical equipment other than machinery and personal protective equipment, mostly in connection with occupational accident investigations. Occupational safety and health authorities always check whether the equipment in question falls under the remit of some other supervisory authority before carrying out a conformity inspection.