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Handling and use of machines, tools and other technical devices

Machines and other technical devices used at work should ensure safe and healthy working conditions. As an employer, you must equip machines and other technical devices that do not meet such requirements with appropriate safety features.

Key requirements

Machines and other technical devices used in work processes should, in particular, protect workers against injury, hazardous chemical substances, electric shock, excessive noise, mechanical vibration and radiation, as well as other harmful and hazardous working environment factors, and take into account the principles of ergonomics.

Employers should equip machines and other technical devices that do not meet these requirements with appropriate safety features.

If the construction of safety features depends on local conditions, employers are responsible for equipping machines or other technical devices with appropriate safety features.

New machines, tools and technical devices should meet conformity assessment requirements, as confirmed by appropriate marking, including CE marks, declarations of conformity and required instructions.

Machines and other technical devices must be handled by persons duly trained in their safe operation and informed about the risk associated with the handling and about the rules of protection against hazards. Machines and other technical devices should be handled in accordance with manuals. Occupational health and safety manuals must be made available to workers for permanent use.

Machines should be equipped with clearly identifiable and appropriately marked devices for isolating them from all energy sources. Turning on the power supply cannot pose a risk to persons handling machines.

Moving components and other parts of machines, especially power transmission parts, which pose a risk on contact (including belts, gears and chains) should be covered with guards or secured with other protective devices. The guards and other protective devices should be appropriately durable and equipped with safety components coupled with control systems, so that:

  • machines immediately stop when they are removed, opened or deactivated
  • machines do not automatically start when they are put back on, closed or activated.

Service work should be performed by competent personnel in accordance with the principles set forth in manuals.

Machines damaged while in operation must be immediately stopped, disconnected from power sources and appropriately marked or protected against use. Repairs should be carried out by competent personnel, in compliance with occupational health and safety manuals.

Occupational health and safety requirements and ergonomic requirements should be observed during the assembly, disassembly and operation of machines, including handling, in accordance with the manuals. Machines should be placed, installed and used in such a way as to minimise occupational risks, especially by:

  • ensuring that there is sufficient space between the moving parts of machines and moving or fixed elements in their environment
  • ensuring that all used or produced materials or energy are safely supplied to workstations and taken away.


  • Machine controls that affect safety must be clearly visible and identifiable, and appropriately marked.
  • Controls cannot give rise to any hazards, especially as a result of unintentional use.
  • All machines should be fitted with control devices by means of which they can be safely brought to a complete stop. The stop control should have priority over the other controls. It should be possible to start machines only by deliberate action on control devices.
  • Where necessary due to hazards presented by machines and their normal stopping time, the machines should be fitted with emergency stop devices.

Joint handling of machines

If machines are handled jointly or if they pose a hazard to the surroundings, warning and alarm devices must be provided – generating easily perceived and understood signals. Multi-station machines should be equipped with acoustic or light signal devices, automatically emitting signals whenever the machines are started. The signals should be received at all the stations.


  • Moving components and other parts of machines which pose a risk on contact should be covered with guards up to a height of at least 2.5 m above the floor level (platform) at a workstation or equipped with other effective protective devices. The exceptions are cases where these requirements cannot be met due to the function of machines.
  • Belts, chains, bands, gears and other drive system components, as well as machine parts that pose a risk of falling down, located above workstations or passages at over 2.5 m above the floor level should be covered with durable guards, at least at the bottom.
  • Guards used in machines should prevent direct access to the danger zone. Partial guards (made from mesh, perforated metal sheets, rods, etc.) should be placed at such a distance from dangerous components that the given size and shape of the openings make it impossible to directly touch these components. Safety distances are specified in Polish standards.
  • Machines should be marked with safety symbols and colours.

Requirements for protective devices

Protective devices used in machines should meet the following general requirements:

  • ensure the safety of workers who directly handle machines and persons in their vicinity;
  • be reliable, appropriately durable and strong;
  • function automatically, independently of operators (where this is appropriate and feasible);
  • not be easily removed or detached without the aid of tools;
  • not make it difficult to perform or monitor technological operations or create hazards and put additional physical or psychological strain on workers.

Protective devices in particularly dangerous machines should be designed in such a way that:

  • the machines or their dangerous components stop immediately when the protective devices are removed, opened or deactivated, or guards cannot be removed or opened when covered components are in motion;
  • machines do not automatically start when the protective devices are put back on, closed or activated.

Please note! Machines cannot be used without required protective devices or if these devices are incorrectly applied.


Machines, tools and protective devices used in them should be maintained in good working order and kept clean so that they do not endanger workers’ safety or health when operated. They must be used only in the processes and under the conditions for which they are intended.

Service work should be performed by competent personnel in accordance with manuals.

Handling of machines in motion

  • Machines which are in motion cannot be left unattended or unsupervised, unless operation and maintenance manuals provide otherwise.
  • Employers must determine the types of machines that require constant attendance and could cause a disaster, explosion or fire if left unattended, and determine detailed conditions for handling and supervising these machines.
  • Machines which are in motion cannot be repaired, cleaned or lubricated, except for lubrication by means of special devices specified in operation and maintenance manuals.
  • Workers responsible for handling machines with moving components cannot work in clothes with looses (hanging) parts (such as loose sleeves, ties, scarfs, tails) and without headgear covering their hair.

The portal is supervised by the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology. Project partners: Łukasiewicz - Poznań Institute of Technology, Polish Chamber of Commerce. The project is co-financed from the Digital Poland Programme by the European Union from the European Regional Development Fund and is a continuation of the project \"Central Register and Information on Economic Activity\" financed from the Innovative Economy Programme and the project \"Simplification and digitization of procedures\" financed from the Human Capital Programme.

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