Machinery can be described as "an assembly, fitted with or intended to be fitted with a drive system other than directly applied human or animal effort, consisting of linked parts or components, at least one of which moves, and which are joined together for a specific application".

The machinery sector is an important part of the engineering industry and is one of the industrial mainstays of the Community economy, and the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC provides the regulatory basis for the harmonization of the essential health and safety requirements for machinery at European Union level.

The Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC was published on 9th June 2006 and it is applicable from 29th December 2009, replacing the Machinery Directive 98/37/EC.