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Chiltern Lifts

Lift Testing

As a lift owner or facilities manager you’re likely already aware of the legal obligations relating to the thorough examination of the lift(s) on your premises. Regulation 9 of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) in fact states…

“every employer shall ensure that lifting equipment which is exposed to conditions causing deterioration which is liable to result in dangerous situations is thoroughly examined (i) in the case of lifting equipment for lifting persons or an accessory for lifting, at least every 6 months; (ii) in the case of other lifting equipment, at least every 12 months.”

Following your thorough examination you will receive a report about the condition of your lift. The comments will fall into one of three categories as follows:

(a). Defects which require corrective action before further use or before a specified date
(b). Defects requiring corrective action as soon as reasonably practical
(c). Observations

The presence of an ‘a’ on your report means that immediate action is needed and the lift will need to be taken out of operation. Most often though you are more likely to see ‘b’s and ‘c’s.

It’s most likely that your insurance company or other independent body will be conducting the thorough examinations, and most of the time these won’t be the cause for any concern. It is possible, however, that supplementary tests are called for following an examination. Supplementary tests are defined by SAFed in the SAFed Guidelines on Supplementary Tests of In-Service Lifts as…

“Appropriate tests and/or examinations called for by the competent person where concerns regarding the condition of equipment arise from the thorough examination.”

In other words, if the competent person conducting the thorough examination has any concerns about any aspect of your lift or lifting equipment he/she may call on a specialist lift testing/servicing company to conduct further tests to establish the equipment’s suitability for continued use.

Understandably, if you have been informed that supplementary tests are required you may be a little daunted by the prospect. To make things simple we have listed the main types of supplementary lift tests that are specified in the SAFed guidelines below. These tests are sometimes also referred to as ‘Annex Tests’ due to their location in the annex of the SAFed Guidelines.

Useful Definitions

Lift testing terminology can be daunting, so to help you out we have assembled a glossary of the most common terms below to help you get your head round it…

A systematic and detailed examination of the lift and all its associated equipment by a competent person.

[Thorough Examination and Testing of Lifts, HSE INDG339(rev1)]

Appropriate tests and/or examinations called for by the competent person where concerns regarding the condition of equipment arise from the thorough examination.

[SAFed Guidelines on Supplementary Tests of In-Service Lifts]

The Lifting Operations Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) – a set of regulations created under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 which came into force in Great Britain on 5 December 1998.

The Safety Assessment Federation (SAFed) represents the interests of companies engaged in independent inspection and safety assessment of engineering and manufacturing plant, systems and machinery.

This refers to BS EN 81-80 which is part of the European Standard EN 81 that defines safety rules for the construction and installation of lifts.

A competent person is someone who has sufficient technical and practical knowledge of the lift to be able to detect any defects and assess how significant they are.

[Thorough Examination and Testing of Lifts, HSE INDG339(rev1)]

This is just another term for a Supplementary Test, derived from the fact that the forms required to complete a supplementary test are found in the annex of the SAFed Guidelines on Supplementary Tests of In-Service Lifts.


List of SAFed Supplementary Lift Tests

Earth Continuity
Electrical Safety Devices
Terminal Speed Reduction Systems
Landing Door Interlocks
Lift Machine – Investigatory Test (Type A)
Lift Machine – Comprehensive Test (Type B)
Overspeed Governors
Governor Operated Safety Gear Instantaneous Type
Governor Operated Safety Gear Progressive Type
Safety Gear System Operated by Other Means
Devices to Prevent Overspeed of the Ascending Lift Car
Energy Dissipation Buffers
Suspension System
Car Overload Detection Warning Devices
Hydraulic System
Hydraulic Cylinders in Boreholes or Similar Locations
Hydraulic Rupture/Restrictor Valves
Electrical Anti-Creep Device
Mechanical Anti-Creep Device (Pawl or Clamping Device)
Low Pressure Detection Services (Switch or Valve)
Traction, Brake and Levelling
Car/Counterweight Balance
The time required for each supplementary test can obviously vary depending on the type of test and the complexity of the installation, however you should expect anywhere from half a day to a day’s work for any test to be conducted. Your supplementary test must be carried out by a company or person specialized in lifts and lifting equipment, who should be happy to quote for the cost of the test before you agree to go ahead. Depending on the outcome of the supplementary test remedial work may be required, more details of which can be found on our lift repairs page.

Some words on BS EN 81-80

The lift and escalator industry is full or jargon and a term we frequently come across that you might have seen is EN 81-80; or to be more precise “Due to its age and design this lift does not meet the current state of the art for safety. We recommend an assessment be carried out against the requirements of EN 81-80 to identify the measures needed to meet the current state of the art for safety.”. We have taken this paragraph directly from one of the thorough examination reports received by Chiltern Lift Company on behalf of one of our clients, and we’ve seen it on many more.

EN 81-80 simply refers to BS EN 81-80 which is part of the European Standard EN 81 that defines safety rules for the construction and installation of lifts. Without going into too much detail, the standard exists to help owners of older lifts implement measures that can bring their lift up to date with modern lifts from a safety point of view. We often see it as a recommendation on a thorough examination report rather than a mandate, though this is not always the case and you should check with the competent person providing the examination before making this assumption. If you do see this on a report it’s likely that the competent person has identified areas where the safety of your lift could be improved and we recommend getting in touch with a specialist lift company like ourselves to discuss the recommendation and assess whether any action is needed. We offer a lift refurbishment and modernisation service to deal with, amongst other things, bringing older lifts up to modern safety standards and would be happy to discuss your needs and provide a quotation for any refurbishment or modernisation work needed.