Is your lift safe?
Lift accidents can be avoided by proper installation, maintenance and correct use. According to the Lift Regulations 2002, lift suppliers are legally obliged to provide safe equipment, parts and installation.
Administrators of apartment blocks or, in default, lift owners, are obliged under the Inspection of Lifts Regulations 2007 to ensure that the installation is certified, registered and regularly inspected and maintained, and that the lift is used appropriately.
Once a lift is put into service, the lift’s owners are legally responsible for any accidents due to non-conformity or poor maintenance. Lift owners are ultimately responsible for safety even if an administrator is appointed.
In blocks of apartments where one or more lifts are shared, the administrator becomes responsible for ensuring lift safety. If no administrator is appointed, then all the lift owners are jointly responsible.
Here is a list of safety questions. If you answer ‘no’ to any, your lift is probably unsafe.
Is the lift registered?
If your lift is not registered, it is probably unsafe. Contact the lift owner about having it registered.
Registered lifts are tested, inspected and certified regularly to ensure they conform to safety regulations. Unregistered lifts are usually uncertified, less likely to be well maintained, and not routinely tested and inspected. This puts people’s safety and lives at risk.
The lift registration fee is a once-only €10 payment. The price is not a barrier to registration, so an unregistered lift is likely to be non-compliant, which means it is intrinsically unsafe.
Once a lift has been installed, it must be inspected by a notified body accredited by the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA). If the lift is compliant with safety requirements, the notified body will issue a certificate of conformity. A lift cannot be registered without a certificate of conformity to show that it has been installed correctly and tested for safety. The law requires lifts to be registered with the authority.
Is the lift regularly maintained?
If your lift is not regularly maintained, it is or will become unsafe. Get in touch with the lift owner/s to organise regular maintenance.
Regular servicing and repair are required by law and must be done by a competent service provider.
European Standard EN 13015 states that all lifts must undergo servicing at least at six-monthly intervals, or more frequently if specified by the lift manufacturers or by the appointed Accredited Conformity Assessment Body (ACAB) where site conditions require it.
Is the lift regularly inspected?
If your lift is not inspected at regular intervals, it is or will become unsafe. The lift owner/s has to commission an ACAB to inspect the lift.
Regular preventive inspection is required by law. It is not an option. The purpose of preventive inspection is to ensure that the lift’s regular maintenance is effective and that the lift continues to comply with safety regulations.
In residential buildings, lifts should be inspected annually. In workplaces, inspection should be twice a year. Preventive inspection is carried out by an ACAB, not by your lift maintenance company. ACABs are the only service providers authorised to carry out preventive inspections of lifts.
The ACAB should present a copy of the preventive inspection report to the lift’s owners, who should then send a copy to the appropriate registration authority (the Occupational Health and Safety Authority for lifts at a workplace or the MCCAA for lifts in residential buildings).
The ACAB must be appointed exclusively by the lift’s owner and not by the lift service provider.
Has the lift been subject to a thorough examination?
If your lift is six years old (at a workplace) or 10 years old (in a residential building), and has not had a thorough examination, it is or will become unsafe. The lift owner/s should commission an ACAB to conduct a thorough examination.
All lifts should be subject to a thorough examination at least every 10 years in residential buildings and every six years in workplaces. Thorough examination assesses the lift against the minimum lift safety standards in force at the time. Regular thorough examination is required by law and is not an option.
The thorough examination report lists any risks or hazards identified during the examination, and sets deadlines for the completion of remedial works. Compliance periods can range from 48 weeks to 12 years, depending on the severity of each identified risk or hazard.
The thorough examination should be done by an ACAB, which should present a copy of the examination report to the lift owners, who should then send a copy to the appropriate registration authority.
The date for a lift’s first thorough examination depends on when the lift was first put to use, not when it was registered. To find out when your lift’s examination is due, consult the ACAB appointed by the lift owner or administrator, or the MCCAA when you hand in your lift’s registration application.
Is a manned 24/7 passenger rescue service in place?
If your lift is not covered by a manned 24/7 rescue service, passengers’ safety is at risk and you could be liable for any consequences, including passenger injury or death. The lift owner/s should engage a reputable 24/7 rescue service provider.
All passengers lifts should be covered by a manned 24/7 rescue service. This is required by law.
According to EU standard EN 13015, rescue services should be on site within one hour of receiving a report that a passenger is trapped in the lift.
A permanent two-way voice communication device, activated by pushing the alarm button, is now mandatory in all passenger lifts. The device should be included when a new lift is installed. In older lifts, the device can be retrofitted.
An ordinary phone handset installed in the lift car does not conform to the relevant safety directive (Dir. 95/16/EC).
Are all relevant documents kept in the lift’s safety file?
If lift documents are not available, safety procedures are probably incomplete and the lift owners are breaking the law.
Lift owners are obliged by law to maintain a technical file containing all the documents relating to the lift.
Is the access route to the lift’s machine room well lit, clear and safe?
If access is obstructed, or if the machine room is accessed by unauthorised people, lift passengers’ safety is at risk.
Access to a lift’s machine room should be well lit, kept free of obstacles, and allow safe transit. The machine room must be kept locked at all times and access should be permitted only to authorised personnel.
This article has been written on behalf of the Malta Lifts Association.