Development, regression, and further evolution of lift safety standardsBackground Immediately after the Lift Directive 95/16/CE came into force, at the end of June 1999, the President, Secretariat, and technical advisor of the first European association of the SMEs’ in the lift sector, ELCA, had the opportunity to meet with the EC desk officer in charge of the Lift Directive implementation. ELCA had been founded just one year before, in 1998, on the acknowledgement that all the important matters and discussions concerning lifts would be dealt with in Brussels. In most cases, the European Commission would be directly involved. Moreover, the new European standards EN 81 – 1 and EN 81 – 2 had just been published and harmonised: they were expected to provide a possible means of compliance with the Essential Health and Safety Requirements (EHSR) of the Directive. The environment for the European lift SMEs was quickly changing and, they had to make the appropriate move to cope with such big change. Since then, many things have happened, very often in relation to the need to ensure that the development of the lift safety standards are in line with the indications given in the Lift Directive. Most of the players involved in such exercises had a lot to learn, because of the new approach introduced by the EHSRs of the Directive. These EHSR were indicating performance requirements and no longer prescriptive ones, as it had been done by lift safety standards. This opened a fairly long period of rather harsh debates on the most appropriate interpretation of some EHSRs, especially of those that seemed to be limited only to a few, quite short, items in Annex 1 of the Lift Directive. There was a special focus on the consequent apparent lack of appropriate instructions and of the availability and information on the use of special tools. SMEs thought they should have been more clearly specified in the relevant safety standards EN 81 – 1 and EN 81 – 2. The discussion in ISO While these discussions were going on in Europe, at ISO TC 178 there were several activities to identify the main differences among the major worldwide safety standards for lifts. The target was to find convergence on commonly agreed procedures for the verification of conformance of newly installed lifts, worldwide. This work took quite a long time as the experts highlighted for each specific national standard all the specific items, they did not consider sufficiently equivalent to similar items provided by the other standards. At the end of the convergence process, it was agreed that the latest versions of the European standards EN 81-1 and EN 81-2 were the most comprehensive and acceptable compendium of all the necessary safety requirements for lifts. Therefore, they were taken as the basis for the commonly agreed ones, acknowledging they could be slightly modified to the satisfaction of the other national teams. Only recently, further to the debates concerning the standard ISO 8100-20 on the Global Essential Safety Requirements for lifts, it was evident that, in this standard, several important requirements were missing. We strive to have all the specific requirements supplied with all lifts containing the documentation for instructions, maintenance, repair and use of special tools, i.e. those tools that need to be supplied by the manufacturer when the lift is handed over to its owner. European standards EN 81-20 and EN 81-50 A lack of proper documentation can also be found in European standards EN 81-20 and EN 81-50. This is because, in the latest published version, there are only limited indications that mainly refer to the standard EN 13015 - Maintenance for lifts and escalators - Rules for maintenance instructions. In our opinion, in EN 13015 there are only vague and generic indications on how to write such instructions, not really about the specific content of each specific instruction to be provided for a specific lift. The recent refusal by the European Commission, to harmonize the text of a set of standards for lifts, including EN 13015 and the new revision of standards EN 81-20 and EN 81-50, highlighted that they do not fully comply with the recent Mandate M/549. This is the Mandate given by the European Commission to CEN for the revision of all the lifts’ safety standards to make them comply with the requirements of the recently updated Lift Directive 2014/33/EC. This Mandate highlights, among other important issues, the need to specify, in the safety standards for lifts, which are the instructions that must be provided, as required by the Directive, by the installer with every lift being placed on the market. The North-American market In the Working Groups developing the standards, there are very knowledgeable experts from companies operating also in the North American market. We assume that, for that market, they are bound to implement the mandatory prescriptions of the local safety standards for lifts. These are the A 17 family in USA and CSA B44 in Canada, for instructions and special tools. It might appear very strange that they never highlighted the need to comply with similar prescriptive requirements. In fact, in those standards there are whole sections dedicated to such requirements that are mandatory and are clearly identified and explained with all the necessary details. For instance, ever since the early versions of the North American standards, there is a specific section, section 8.6, that provides almost seven pages of specific instructions on how the lift manufacturer has to detail the instructions for “maintenance, repairs, and replacements” of each lift. These instructions include also the details on how to prepare a specific manual for the planned maintenance operations. These operations are to be carried out for any specific lift, according to the instructions of the lift manufacturer, for the whole operational lifetime of the lift. More specifically, item 220.127.116.11 General Maintenance Requirements, in clause 18.104.22.168.1. requires that a Maintenance Control Program shall be provided, giving precise indications to keep the equipment in line with the requirements of section 8.6. It is indicated that the Maintenance Control Program, which shall be made accessible to the lift personnel, shall specify at least:
- the scheduled intervals at which the examinations, maintenance, and tests of equipment shall take place, considering the need that such procedures and intervals shall be consistent with:
- the ageing and wearing out of the equipment, its design and original quality,
- its average usage, in addition to the environmental conditions,
- any possible improvement of technology
- the need to regularly lubricate, clean and adjust the relevant components, in addition to maintaining the installation in compliance with the specifications of section 6 by repairing or replacing any defective or worn components, when necessary.