Building owners and operators aren’t always certain about the responsibilities that fall upon them with regards to their lift safety. Here, we give our top 10 snippets of information that could save a world of pain should your lifts become unsafe.
1. Owners’ Duties for Lift Safety
Lifts that are used by people in the workplace are subject to regulations that require owners to ensure that lifts are maintained and examined periodically. Escalators and moving walks are not subject to LOLER, but should also have a similar regime. Elsewhere, the Health and Safety at Work Act might apply and so a similar regime of maintenance and examination would be ‘reasonably practical’.
2. Fire Safety Regulations
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO) places various obligations on the “responsible person” in the building to ensure that equipment for fire safety is regularly maintained – including lifts used for evacuation or firefighting.
3. Appoint a Maintenance Contractor
Proper maintenance helps to keep users safe by detecting safety problems early. These might include faulty door edges or uneven levelling, particularly in older lifts, as well as more serious failures. With the ever-increasing number or personal injury claims from users, a good maintenance programme is essential for ensuring that equipment runs reliably, safely and is protecting the value of your assets by maximising the lifespan of the equipment.
4. Passenger Lift Safety Examination Every 6 Months
Under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER), an independent, competent party must perform a thorough examination of lifting equipment to check for safety. This differs from routine maintenance, although the reports through a safety examination can be used to give an indication of the effectiveness of any maintenance. These reports should be shared with the maintenance contractor, who should then carry out any recommended repairs as a matter of urgency.
5. Prepare Arrangements in Case of Trapped Passengers
These arrangements will typically be recommended by your maintenance contractor. If other parties are to be used, the owner should ensure that they are suitably competent, regularly trained and assessed. For some types of equipment – such as gearless lifts, lifts with bidirectional safety fears etc. – it is strongly recommended that only a lift engineer should undertake this activity. Untrained individuals have caused serious accidents in the past, and could cause more damage than it is worth.
6. Fit an Alarm and Ensure it is Connected to Rescue Services
New lifts since July 1999 have been required to have an alarm communication device to allow trapped passengers to call for help. These have also been fitted to many lifting platforms and older lifts. The connection to the rescue service should be constantly checked and maintained e.g. telephone line used for many auto-dialler type alarm devices.
If the connection fails or two-way communication is out of order, it is the owner’s responsibility to decide on the action required. Options include removing the lift from service, or providing another alarm service as a temporary measure.
7. Control the use of Lift Landing Door Unlocking Keys
When lifts of lifting platforms are first put into service, the installer should provide the owner with a lift landing door unlocking key with a label about its use. This should be kept secure and given only to persons who are trained and competent to do use it. There have been serious incidents, including fatalities, which have resulted from inappropriate use of unlocking keys.
8. Guidance on Safe Working Lifts
This safety guidance – which includes lifts, escalators and lifting platforms, as well detailing owners’ responsibilities – can be found in useful British Standard documents BS 7255 safe working on lifts, BS7801 safe working on escalators and moving walks, and BS9102 safe working on lifting platforms.
9. Have your Lift or Escalator Safety Levels Surveyed
BS EN 81-80 provides a basis of surveying the safety of existing lifts and prioritising safety improvements; BS EN 115-2 is the equivalent standard for escalators and moving walks. Other standards provide a means for surveying lifts for improvements in accessibility (BS EN 81-82) or vandal resistance (BS EN 81-83).
10. Undertake Regular, Simple Checks
It doesn’t take much time to ensure that lifting equipment is running correctly. Many situations can be easily checked by the person responsible, e.g. checking that the lift stops level at each floor, that the alarm system is functioning correctly, and that escalators are running full cycle.
At Guideline, we can provide more details on all of the above and are just a call or email away. If you would like to learn more, or are concerned about your own lift safety protocol, get in touch with Guideline here.