If you have a lift within your building, as a duty holder you have a responsibility to ensure that it is maintained and inspected on a regular basis.
But how often should that be? What sort of tests are required? And what are the legal implications of not complying? Our Technical Director, David Pickering answers some of the most common questions asked by property managers and building residents in relation to their legal obligations.
Do we/how often do we require maintenance to be undertaken?
All lifts need to be maintained in order to ensure that they operate safely and efficiently, but there is no specified minimum number of visits required under law. The Health and Safety at Work etc Act (HSW Act) 1974 states that it shall be the duty of every employer to ensure: “the provision and maintenance of plant and systems of work that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health”.
In addition, the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998 imposes a legal obligation on all duty holders to ensure that all lifts be: “maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair”.
The obvious and recognised method of compliance is to put in place a programme of regular and routine planned preventative maintenance. While PUWER does not specify the number of visits required, it does suggest that equipment may need to be checked frequently to ensure that safety related features are functioning correctly. It goes on to say that when considering the frequency of maintenance, you should take into account the:
- Intensity of use
- Operating environment
- Variety of operations
- Risk to health and safety from malfunction or failure.
We would also recommend that consideration be given to the potential impact of lift failure upon the operation of the building. The inconvenience caused by a lift failure when it is the only lift within the building is far greater than if the lift is one of a group. This is particularly pertinent in taller buildings, or where elderly or disabled persons may occupy the building. It is important to note that the HSW Act and PUWER are both forms of legislation, and where these are applicable, compliance is considered a legal obligation.
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