Purpose and application
The Lift Safety Directive (2006/42/EC and amended by 2014/33/EU) was introduced by The European Commission to ensure a harmonised standard of safety in the design and manufacture of lifts throughout the European Economic Area. In doing so, it fills an intentional loophole in the Machinery Directive which specifically excludes most forms of lift in order to allow for this more specific directive.
The directive applies to all lifts intended for carrying personnel and any lift to which personnel have access. Lifts are defined as
“lifting appliances serving specific levels by means of a car moving between guides which are rigid and inclined at an angle of more than 15 degrees to the horizontal”.
Additionally, lifts without guides but “moving along a fixed course even where they do not move along guides which are rigid” are covered as are some safety critical subsystems and components. These include devices for locking landing doors; devices to prevent falls; overspeed limitation devices; shock absorbers; safety devices fitted to hydraulic power circuits and safety switches.
Certain types of lift are excluded, the main ones being lifts specifically designed for military purposes, stage/theatre lifts; mine winding gear; and lifts fitted in a means of transport.
The directive has both administrative and protection requirements. The administrative requirements are that the product be marked with the CE logo, that a specified form of Declaration of Conformity be completed and that this declaration and supporting documentation be kept for a minimum of ten years. There is no clear requirement under the directive for the production of a file of technical information, but it seems inconceivable that a manufacturer or installer will be able to fully demonstrate that due diligence requirements have been met without supporting documentation.
For lifts, responsibility for these administrative procedures will rest with the installer. For specified safety components, it will be the responsibility of the manufacturer or his authorised representative in Europe to ensure that these procedures are carried out.
The Directive also lays down requirements for type testing and/or quality control procedures.
The details of the essential health and safety requirements will be the subject of a series of standards. However, certain basic principles are defined in the Directive itself. These include:
- The lift must be automatically rendered inoperative if it is overloaded
- The speed of the lift must be controlled and kept below limits.
- Passenger lifts must have a counterweight (which can be a second lift).
- The lift shaft must be inaccessible except for maintenance or an emergency.
- A free space must be provided at each end of the lift shaft
- The lift must be prevented from moving unless the doors are closed.
- Lifts must be completely enclosed.
- The lift must have a free-fall prevention device
- Buffers must be installed at the bottom of the lift shaft.
- Doors must be incapable of crushing persons or objects and must be suitably resistant to fire.
- The lift must be fitted with two-way communication.
- The lift must have adequate ventilation and lighting, even in an emergency.
- There should be an emergency override control system for fire and rescue.
- The lift must be clearly marked to show the maximum load and the maximum number of passengers.
- Safety components must be accompanied by an instruction manual.
The directive contains no specific provisions with respect to electromagnetic compatibility or electrical safety, and therefore equipment within its scope must also comply with the EMC and Low Voltage Directives.
The European Commission also have a site with useful information on their EUROPA server.