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Product information policies are changing. Is your company ready?

Service Manager contemplates new product information policies while standing next to Heavy Machinery

Time is Running Out

Everybody loves business-as-usual, especially where corporate regulation is involved.

But as new regulations are sweeping Europe’s Heavy Machine industry, with significant policy changes scheduled to take effect early 2024.

These regulations will impact product operation instructions and safety information for all machines and related equipment sold or used in the European Union.

The time to ensure compliance is just about up.

A Summary of New Information Policies

The current Machinery Directive (2006/42/EC) mandates over 800 harmonized informational standards. These standards ensure the safety of individuals who interact with all heavy machinery—manufacturing machines, agricultural equipment, etc.

The new regulatory revisions aim to:

  • Help maintain the single market
  • Create a level playing field for all machine operators
  • Promote a new level of availability for digital product instruction
  • Develop trust in digitally distributed product information
  • Promote the European Union’s Declarations of Conformity
  • Ensure availability of relevant product information throughout the full duration of a product’s lifetime
  • Implement written guides for informational standardization

These new Machinery Regulations will govern the writing style, access and availability of all relevant operational instructions.

They’ll also mandate distribution formats, and duration of availability.

New Requirements

The new regulations implement uniform standards for language clarity in all product documentation, forcing many companies to rewrite their existing technical documentation.

A new regulatory body will assess the mandatory compliance of all product information related to specific product categories.

In addition, these regulations:

  • Place new emphasis on digital information, requiring the digitization of all paper product documentation
  • Introduce common specifications for fallback options
  • Address autonomous and remote-controlled heavy equipment
  • Establish a new development process for Standardization Requests
  • Integrate new provisions for AI and cyber-security
  • Enact new rules regarding Health and Safety Requirements

Under the new regulations, all digital documentation must be accessible, downloadable and printable while all B2B documentation will become fully digitized.

All online documentation will remain available for a minimum period of at least ten years.

The policy updates will also mandate availability of any printed operational instructions and safety information for any non-professional end-user product.

These printed instructions must be available by customer request at the time of purchase. And, companies must deliver this documentation to the requesting user within one month.

Preparing for New Product Information Regulations

The regulatory commission aims for full adoption of these standards no later than Q1 2024.

These regulations will require a full overhaul of many company’s information reserves—in terms of content, format and availability—as well as careful restructuring of any new product documentation they might create.

Many companies will face a difficult timeline for making these changes and may even lack the resources required to ensure their content is fully compliant.

Unsure About Your Operation’s Compliance? Here’s What to Do

Content strategy experts. We’ll examine the  regulatory compliance of your product information, and help ensure it meets incoming standards for clarity, distribution and accessibility.

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