EN ISO 20607: Safety of Machinery - Instruction Handbook - General Drafting Principles

Last edit: 26/07/2023

The standard EN ISO 20607 has been published in july 2019.

This standard is part of the approach, already applied for some years by the Machinery Directive, which consist in discussing new standards only at international level (ISO or IEC) and, only after their approval, adopting them at European level.

The standard falls into category B1, group of standards that deals with a specific aspect of safety: in this case, the safety aspect dealt with is the preparation of the Instructions Handbook of a machine.


part of the information for use provided by a machine manufacturer to the machine user that contains instructions and advice concerning the use of the machinery during all phases of its life cycle.

Instruction handbook is a subset of information for use. 


This standard specifies the requirements that the manufacturer of a machinery must follow for the preparation of safety-related parts of an instruction manual.

This standard provides more details with respect to the general requirements reported in the EN ISO 12100 standard, focusing more on the structure, presentation of the contents and the characteristics that the instruction handbook of a machine must have.

The purpose of the instruction handbook is to provide, in a clear and effective way, information for the correct and safe use of the machine; to achieve this, the "Read, Think, Use" communication process should be followed when writing a manual.

The Instruction Handbook must take into account the type of personnel which will use the machine and so it must be:

  1. Comprehensible
  2. Easy and short


Annex "C" of this standard provides some examples and reccomendations in regards. Following are reported some of these examples:

Reccomendation Sentence to avoid Preferred Sentence
Use the active voice.

Make sure that each energy source is disconnected.

Disconnect each source of energy. 

Speak directly to the user.

The operator must verify that nobody is inside the dangerous area.

Verify that nobody is inside the dangerous area.

Each instruction shall contain only one operation.

To restore machine operation, first check for the absence of personnel inside the dangerous area, exit, close the access gate and press the reset button.

To restore machine operation:

  1. check for the absence of personnel inside the dangerous area 
  2. Exit the dangerous area 
  3. Close the access gate
  4. Press the reset button
Avoid words that weaken the instruction.

It is possible to turn off the machine.

Turn off the machine.
Omit no verbs.

Pressure regulator at 6 bar.

Set the pressure regulator at 6 bar.
Use bullets when the order is unimportant.

On the main pushbutton panel the start button, the stop button, the reset button and the emergency button are present.

On the main pushbutton panel, the following commands are present:

  • Start Button
  • Stop Button
  • Reset Button
  • Emergency Button
Use a list with letters or numbers when the order is important.

Turn the main switch disconnector, block the switch disconnector in place with a padlock, extract the key from the padlock;

  1. Turn the main switch disconnector;
  2. Block the switch disconnector in place with a padlock;
  3. Extract the key from the padlock;
Make instructions as specific as possible.

Check the pressure.

Make sure that the pressure is between 5 and 10 bar.

Use the active form.

The pressure is regolated by the operator.

The operator regulates the pressure.

Be specific and unambiguous.

Try to set the right pressure.

The pressure shall not exceed 6 bar.

Use no double negatives.

Don't do maintenance works on the machine until having disconnected each power supply.

  1. Disconnect each power supply;
  2. Do the maintenance operations.


Signs and Warnings:

Warnings and danger / safety symbols must be easily distinguishable from the other contents of the manual. Annex "B" provides some advices regarding formatting notices, so that more emphasis is placed on the most important informations.

A conventional method is to use bold letters, italics, text boxes and / or colors (being careful not to overdo it). Use of capital letters or underlined texts should be avoided as much as possible.

The safety symbols must comply with the ISO 7000 and ISO 7010 standards while the coloring of the warnings must comply with the ISO 3864-2 standard.


Example of Structure of an Instruction Handbook:

An instruction manual should be structured as follows (where applicable):

  1. Basic parts of an instruction handbook (summary, introduction, etc…)
  2. Safety
  3. Machine overview
  4. Transportation, handling and storage
  5. Assembly, installation and commissioning
  6. Original equipment manufacturer settings
  7. Operation
  8. Inspection, testing and maintenance
  9. Cleaning
  10. Fault finding/troubleshhoting and repair
  11. Dismantling, disabling and scrapping
  12. Annexes
  13. Index, glossary


The standard details the characteristics and information that can be reported in each of the "paragraphs" listed above.

Language and Format

EN ISO 20607 – cap 6.2:

The instruction handbook shall be provided in the language(s) as agreed with the customer.


EN ISO 20607 – cap. 7:

The instruction handbook shall be provided in the form(s) as agreed with the customer […]

In principle, the instruction handbook can be provided in one or more of the following forms:

  1. as a paper publication;
  2. via an electronic storage medium made available with the machine;
  3. by accessing an external server, website or storage location with information who to access available with the machine;
  4. by accessing an internal server or storage location;
  5. by means of visual and/or auditory forms


GT Engineering, in addition to carrying out the risk analysis, the validation of the safety system and the verification of the conformity of the electrical equipment of your machinery, produces the technical documentation and the Instruction Handbook in compliance with the EN ISO 12100 and EN ISO 20607 standards.

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