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The elaboration and adoption of harmonised standards is based upon a standardisation request (mandate) issued by the European Commission to the CEN (European Committee for Standardization) according to Regulation (EU) n. 1025/2012. When a standard meets the requirements set out in the request, the Commission publishes its reference in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJ). Once published in the OJ, the harmonised standard gives presumption of conformity with the essential requirements it aims to cover.
Technical Committee 10 (Lifts, Escalators and Moving Walks) of CEN is in charge for the establishment of safety rules for the construction and installation of lifts and service lifts, escalators and passenger conveyors. Until last year, CEN TC 10 standardisation activity relied on a Commission request dated 1992 that was not publicly available. In September 2016, the Commission issued a new standardisation request asking CEN to develop and revise standards for lifts and safety components for lifts covered by the Directive 2014/33/EU (Commission Implementing Decision of 21.9.2016 on a standardisation request to the European Committee for Standardisation as regards lifts and safety components for lifts in support of Directive 2014/33/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council).
In the new mandate (M/549), CEN is requested to draft harmonised standards in support of the implementation of essential health and safety requirements laid down in Annex I to Lifts Directive 2014/33/EU, which includes conformity with the relevant health and safety requirements set in Annex I to Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC. In the mandate, the Commission states that the requested harmonised standards, while ensuring a high level of protection of health and safety of persons, should also support fair competition providing a level playing field on the Union market by effectively implementing those essential health and safety requirements.
Annex I of the mandate, setting out the requirements of the harmonised standards, clearly explains the purpose of fair competition. In this respect, the following requirement of Annex I is very important: “The requested harmonised standards shall not unduly inhibit fair internal market and fair competition on the internal market especially with respect to the implementation of those essential health and safety requirements necessitating technical specifications dealing with maintainability and serviceability of lifts and safety components. The requested harmonised standards shall not unduly restrict access to relevant maintenance and diagnostic data, related interfaces and tools needed during use phase of lifts.”
The fair competition issue raised by this standardisation request is crucial for companies operating in the lifts maintenance and repair market, because existing harmonised standards do not fully comply with the essential safety requirements dealing with the availability of instructions and service tools needed for a safe operation of lifts, once they are put into service.
EFESME, with the help of SBS, will carefully monitor CEN TC 10 standardisation work in the coming months, in order to achieve for the revised lifts, harmonised standards fully in compliance with the requirement of fair competition set out in the new Commission standardisation request.