The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have issued a safety alert in relation to Platform Lifts. These are vertical lifting platforms or lifts for people with impaired mobility and are used in a range of sectors such as health and social care, NHS trusts, public buildings and schools.
Platform lifts, like traditional passenger lifts, provide access between floors and are hydraulically, or electrically powered. They operate at slower speeds than conventional passenger lifts and usually operate over two to three floors. They typically rely on hold to run operation.
The HSE refers to a number of incidents that have involved tampering with safety devices, inappropriate maintenance of door switches or unlocking zone bypass switches during maintenance. Combined with deterioration of the doors and their hinges, landing doors have opened when the platform/lift car was not at that landing, resulting in members of the public or workers falling down the open lift well or becoming trapped beneath a descending platform.
The HSE state that owners and operators of vertical lifting platforms should take action to review maintenance and inspection procedures to ensure that these tasks are carried out by persons competent to do so and introduce simple tests into daily safety checks for the lifts to confirm that:
- Landing doors cannot be opened when the platform is not at the same level and;
- The platform cannot travel without the doors closed and locked
Further action is required by lift maintenance companies who should ensure that maintenance activities are only carried out by persons competent to do so and are undertaken in line with manufacturer’s instructions and/or guidance.
Full details of the HSE Safety Alert can be found using the below link.