The standards and regulations for the design of lifts and provisions for safe operation and working have undergone steady improvement over many years. These improvements have been made possible due to technical developments allowing safety improvements to be designed into lifts. More recently, EC Directives have added requirements for safety features.
A lift repair or modernisation scheme should aim to bring the safety of replaced components and systems to current standards. It is important that the lift is surveyed and a scheme drawn-up which takes full account, not only of the components which may need up-grading, but also new features which should be included. The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, details requirements for guarding, controls and other items that must be adhered to by lift owners.
The recent EC Directive 95/216/EC Recommendations for Existing Lifts lists the following ten recommendations for all existing lifts to bring them towards modern standards:
- 1.Fit a car door and floor level indicator to all cars. Where the fitting of a car door results in unacceptable reduction in the entrance width, a multi-beam light curtain can be used to stop the lift if the entrance is obstructed.
- Car suspension cables should be subject to regular inspection and possible replacement (a regular and thorough regime for inspection and replacement of cables has been in use for many years by Pickerings Service).
- Modified controls to give gradual deceleration and accurate stopping of the lift car. Old single speed drive systems suffer from harsh stopping and poor levelling accuracy. Current technology allows two speed control of hydraulic lifts and variable frequency control of traction lifts to meet this recommendation.
- Make car and landing controls intelligible and usable by unaccompanied disabled persons. This is most easily done by following the requirements of the Building Regulations (England and Wales – Part M, Scotland – Part T).
- Multi-beam infra-red edges can be fitted to existing doors to allow doors to be re-opened due to any obstruction.
- Fit safety gears to any suspended lifts which may not have these.
- Alarm device in the lift car to establish a two way voice link to a high speed rescue service. Pickerings can provide emergency telephones connecting the lift user to our service network.
- Eliminate asbestos in the braking system or wherever it exists.
- Fit a device to protect against overspeed upwards of lifts with counterweight.
- Provide emergency car lighting (also providing power for the alarm device in 7)