Machinery Directive or Lift Regulations?

Whether you are moving people or goods, your lift will fall into either the Machinery Directive or Lift regulations. Although all of them refer to "lifts" as a general term, the regulations help to identify their key differences, determining the standards that they must adhere to.

What do the regulations say?

The Lifts Regulations 2016; replacing the Lift Directive 2014/33/EU, is a regulatory framework that focuses on passenger and goods lifts that permanently serve buildings or constructions. These safety obligations for lifts and lift components are to be followed by designers, manufacturers, installers, authorised representatives, importers and distributors.

The Lifts Regulations 2016 applies to most goods and passenger lifts, however it does excludes certain products including escalators and moving walkways, and cableway installations designed for carrying people. Instead, these fall under the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations.

In the UK, The Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008 were put in place to enforce The Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC. When the UK left the EU, the EU Withdrawal Act 2018 preserved these regulations. The Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC is an important EU directive that aims to ensure a high level of safety for machinery across the European Union. The Directive also includes interchangeable equipment and components such as slings and chains.

Those that fail to comply with these regulations are liable to receive a penalty of a fine and/or imprisonment.

The main distinction between these two directives is speed. 

  • The Lifts Regulations are applicable to passenger-carrying products that have a speed exceeding 0.15 metres per second, such as hydraulic and traction passenger lifts, as well as passenger/goods lifts.
  • The Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations apply to lifts that carry both passengers and goods, with speeds that are inclusive of and under 0.15 metres a second.

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What happens following the exit from the EU? 

Some of the terminologies regarding lift standards have changed. The CE mark has been replaced by UKCA for goods sold in Great Britain, while businesses have till December 2021 to complete transitioning when it becomes mandatory.

The UK in order to replace the “EU Harmonised standards" has also incorporated previous regulations and directives into “Designated standards”. The details regarding the new British lift standards remain practically the same, with some changes in terminology and documentation. 

The Lifts Regulations 2016 (replaced the Lift Directive 2014/33/EU)

The Lifts Regulations 2016 (No. 1093) applies to lifts that permanently service buildings and constructions intended for the transport of — persons, — persons and goods, — goods alone if the carrier is accessible. The Lift Regulations cover any product carrying passengers with a speed of over 0.15 metres a second.

It defines a new passenger lift, including lifts installed in new and existing buildings, those installed in existing wells (in replacement of other lifts) and when the existing guide rails and their fixings (or the fixings alone) are retained. It only applies to lifts when they are first placed on the market and put into service.

The Lifts Regulations 2016 identifies a “lift” as a lifting appliance serving specific levels, having a carrier moving along guides or moving along a fixed course that is rigid. Therefore, lifts under these Regulations are typically hydraulic and traction passenger lifts or passenger/goods lifts and fall under BS EN81-7X series and the recently introduced BSEN81-20 and BSEN81-50 British standards.

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The Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008 (has replaced the Machinery Directive)

Since 1995 all machinery in the scope of the Machinery Directive, (now replaced with Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008, 2008 No. 1597) sets out Essential Safety Requirements that all machines placed on the market in the UK have to meet.

The Supply of Machinery covers any product carrying passengers and goods with speeds inclusive of and under 0.15 metres a second. This includes escalators and moving walkways, platform lifts, goods and service lifts, and chair lifts. Each product type has its own set of standards that it falls under, for example, BS EN81-41:2010 and BS 6400: 2011 for platform lifts.

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Although it is beneficial to understand lift regulations and the category of each product type, the most important aspects to consider when choosing a lift product is the building requirements, the intended use of the lift, the desired capacity and the number of stops it will need to travel. 

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Last updated 7/4/2021 to reflect changes since leaving the EU.

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