2.2 The European safety standard system
2.2.1 Correlation between directives and harmonized European standards
Harmonized European standards specify the basic requirements of the EU Directives for safety and health protection as they are named, for example, in Annex I of the Machinery Directive. According to Machinery Directive, Article 5 (2), upon reaching the protection level of an applicable harmonized European standard, the corresponding requirement from the directive is simultaneously considered satisfied (i.e., compliance with the corresponding directive).
Unlike directives and their national implementation in the national law of the Member States, standards are not legally binding. If the level of protection described in such standards is achieved by other means, such solutions are possible as well. The difference between satisfying a relevant harmonized standard and a solution that takes a different approach does, however, have consequences. The manufacturer must provide additional documentation that verifies compliance with the directive. Differences may also arise during the conformity procedure if there are deviations from harmonized standards or if no applicable harmonized standard is available, see the versions in Chapter 2.1.1 for further information.