Legal definitions of lifts and safety components, your responsibilities and how to comply with legal regulations.
UK installers, manufacturers and importers of lifts and safety components for lifts must comply with the Lifts Regulations 1997, as amended by the UK Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008.
Under the Regulations, lifts that travel faster than 0.15 metres per second and their safety components which permanently serve buildings and constructions must be safe for normal use. They must also meet relevant health and safety requirements in their design, construction and installation, satisfy appropriate conformity assessment procedures, carry CE marking and be accompanied by an European Community Declaration of Conformity.
This guide gives the legal definition of lifts and related safety components, and explains the key legal obligations that UK manufacturers and installers must comply with.
Definitions of key terms under the Lifts Regulations
Under the Lifts Regulations 1997, ‘lift’ means “a lifting appliance serving specific levels, having a car moving along rigid guides or a fixed course and inclined at an angle of more than 15 degrees to the horizontal, intended for the transport of:
- people and goods
- goods alone, if a person may enter without difficulty and fitted with controls inside the car or within reach of a person inside”
‘Installer of the lift’ means “the natural or legal person who is responsible for the design, manufacture, installation and placing on the market of the lift, who affixes the CE marking and draws up the EC Declaration of Conformity”.
‘Manufacturer of the safety components’ means “the natural or legal person who is responsible for the design and manufacture of the safety components and who affixes the CE marking and draws up the EC Declaration of Conformity”.
Under the Regulations, the term ‘safety components’ covers:
- devices for locking landing doors
- devices to prevent the lift car from falling or moving upwards unchecked
- devices to limit overspeed
- energy-accumulating buffers - ie non-linear or with damping of the return movement
- energy-dissipating buffers
- safety devices fitted to jacks of hydraulic power circuits used to prevent falls
- safety switches containing electronic components
Key legal responsibilities under the Lifts Regulations 1997 (as amended)
Lifts and safety components must satisfy health and safety requirements set out in the Lifts Regulations 1997 as amended by the UK Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008. A safety component must enable the lift in which it is installed to satisfy those requirements.
Essential health and safety obligations apply only where the lift or safety component is subject to a hazard when used as intended by the installer or safety-component manufacturer.
- the safety component manufacturer and lift installer are obliged to assess likely hazards and take these into account during design and construction.
- the carrier must be designed and built to offer sufficient space and strength for the maximum number of people and installer’s rated load. If used to transport people, (where dimensions permit) the car must be designed and constructed so it does not obstruct or impede access by people with disabilities and allow adjustments to facilitate their use of the lift. Car suspension and/or support must ensure safety and minimise risk of the car falling.
- lifts must be designed, constructed and installed to prevent normal starting if the rated load is exceeded. Lifts must also be equipped with limitation devices. Fast lifts must be equipped with a speed-monitoring and speed-limiting device.
- all passenger lifts must have their own individual lift machinery. The installer must ensure it is not accessible except for maintenance and in emergencies.
- the lift’s controls - if intended for use by people with disabilities - must be designed and located to aid convenient use. The function of the controls must be clearly indicated.
- each carrier must bear an easily visible plate clearly showing the rated load in kilograms and the maximum number of passengers allowed. If the lift is designed to allow trapped people to escape without outside help, instructions must be clear and visible in the car.
- safety components must be accompanied by an instruction manual. This must be written in an official language of the member state of the lift installer or another acceptable EC language. This is to ensure that assembly, connection, adjustment and maintenance can be carried out effectively and safely.
- each lift must be accompanied by documentation in one of the official languages of the EC, which may be determined in the member state in which the lift is installed. The documentation should contain an instruction manual containing plans and diagrams necessary for normal use and relating to maintenance, inspection, repair, periodic checks and the rescue operations, as well as a logbook in which repairs and, where appropriate, periodic checks can be noted.
- all lifts and safety components covered by the Regulations should bear CE marking and be accompanied by an EC Declaration of Conformity. CE marking is a visible declaration by you or your authorised representative that the lift satisfies all the provisions of the Lifts Directive.
EC type examination under the Lift Regulations 1997
Lifts and lift components equipment must be constructed according to good engineering practice principles - eg to comply with a harmonised safety standard. These are agreed by the national standards bodies of all the European Union (EU) member states.
Where electrical equipment has not been manufactured to comply with one of the recognised standards, suppliers should have a EC type examination carried out by a Notified Body.
Notified Bodies are appointed by member states to support the implementation of Directives, including the Lift Directive. They will have been assessed to ensure their competence in determining whether or not a product complies with the requirements laid down in the Lift Regulations 1997.
An application for EC type examination must be lodged by the safety component or lift manufacturer, or their authorised representative in the EU, with a Notified Body of their choice.
The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills has authorised a number of UK conformity assessment bodies/companies to act as Notified Bodies.
What will happen if these Regulations aren’t complied with
In Great Britain the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) is responsible for relevant products for use in the workplace, and the Secretary of State is responsible for relevant products for private use.
In Northern Ireland the HSE of Northern Ireland is responsible for relevant products for use in the workplace and for private use.
Under the Lifts Directive, EU member states are required to take all appropriate measures to withdraw from the market lifts or safety components bearing the CE marking and used in accordance with their intended purpose which are liable to endanger the safety of people and, where appropriate, of property. The member state must immediately inform the European Commission of such action and give reasons.
Where, after consultation with the parties concerned, the Commission finds that the measures are justified, it informs that member state and the other member states.
Member states are required to take action against anyone who affixes the CE marking to lifts or safety components which do not conform to the Lifts Directive and to inform the Commission and other member states.
It is an offence to supply lifts or safety components which do not comply with the requirements of the Regulations. Any person committing an offence is liable, under summary conviction, to imprisonment, a fine or both.