Minimum health and safety standards while using work equipment

Directive 2009/104/EC — minimum safety and health requirements for the use of work equipment by workers at work

It lays down minimum health and safety requirements for the use of work equipment in the workplace.

It is the second individual directive within the meaning of Directive 89/391/EEC which introduces general rules to encourage improvements in the health and safety of workers at work.

It codifies and repeals Directive 89/655/EEC which had been substantially amended several times.

Key Points

Employers must take every measure to ensure the safety of the work equipment made available to workers.

In selecting the work equipment, employers must pay attention to the specific working conditions which exist at the workplace with a view to the safety and health of workers. Where risks cannot be fully eliminated during the operation of the work equipment, employers must take appropriate measures to minimise them. Where EU legislation governing work equipment exists, employers must ensure that the equipment meets its requirements or the requirements laid down in Annex I of this directive.

Employers are responsible for ensuring work equipment is:

maintained regularly to remain compliant with legal requirements;
installed correctly and is operating properly by ensuring the inspection/testing of the work equipment by suitably qualified persons. Results of inspections must be recorded and kept.
Where work equipment is likely to involve a specific risk to worker health and safety, employers must ensure access to it is restricted only to those given the task of using it. Employers must also ensure that only specially designated workers carry out repair, modification, maintenance or servicing work.

Employers must also take fully into account ergonomic principles and occupational health aspects with respect to workers while using work equipment.

Employers must provide workers with adequate and clear information (where appropriate in written form) on the work equipment, concerning:

the conditions of use,
foreseeable abnormal situations,
conclusions drawn from experience.
Employers must ensure that workers are appropriately trained, especially with regard to specific-risk equipment, and are made aware of any risks which the use of equipment may entail.

Application & Background

It has applied since 23 October 2009. The Directive 2009/104/EU codifies and replaces Directive 89/655/EEC and its subsequent amendments. The original Directive 89/655/EEC had to become law in the EU countries by 1992.

For more information, see:

Health and safety at work (European Commission)
Directive 2009/104/EC – use of work equipment (European Agency for Health and Safety at Work).


Directive 2009/104/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 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) (codified version) (OJ L 260, 3.10.2009, pp. 5-19)


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) (OJ L 393, 30.12.1989, pp. 13-17)

Successive amendments to Directive 89/655/EEC have been incorporated into the original document. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

Council Directive 89/391/EEC of 12 June 1989 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work (OJ L 183, 29.6.1989, pp. 1-8)


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