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Lifts - Horizontal sliding doors

OC 232/29

This OC reminds inspectors of some legal considerations, general situations, some specific issues relating to horizontal sliding doors, and possible acts of abuse which should be taken into consideration by those responsible for the design, installation, use and maintenance of horizontal sliding doors.


1 Following a double fatality at a block of flats in Southampton, HSE issued a Press Release on 8 February 2001 requesting that urgent checks were made on lift door retaining systems.

2 HSE also wrote to the Local Government Association and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities with details of the problem and essential tests that should be carried out as well as ensuring that the same message was communicated to local authorities (LAs) through the LA intranet operated by the Chartered Institute for Health.

3 The fatal accident involved a power operated horizontal sliding landing door. The door retaining system at the bottom of the door failed. This OC reminds inspectors of:

(1) some legal considerations applying to lifts;

(2) the general situation;

(3) some specific issues relating to horizontal sliding doors; and

(4) possible acts of abuse which should be taken into consideration by those responsible for the design, installation, use and maintenance of horizontal sliding doors.

Legal considerations applying to lifts

4 The requirements of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSW Act) have to be satisfied.

5 The Lifts Regulations 1997 apply for all new lifts installed after 30 June 1999.

6 For installed lifts there are also a number of regulations that may apply, these include: the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (Management Regulations), the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) and the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER).

7 The Management Regulations reg.3 requires all employers and self-employed people to assess the risks to workers and any others who may be affected by their work or business. The risk assessment should be suitable and sufficient. It should identify people who may be harmed by the hazard, including members of the public.

8 In respect of lift maintenance, the lift owner has the primary duty and reference should be made to PUWER reg.5 which essentially requires 'work equipment' to be maintained so that it is safe and its performance does not deteriorate to the extent that it puts people at risk.

9 For those premises where the lift is primarily for use by members of the public the lift owner still has to satisfy the requirements of HSW Act ss.3 and 4. If they comply with the requirements of the Management Regulations, PUWER and LOLER as a guide they will satisfy the legal duties.

General situation of the hazards concerned

10 Lift landing entrances can be prone to vandalism with lift landing doors being subjected to physical damage. This form of abuse to landing doors is likely to be more prevalent where lifts are installed in public buildings and public areas such as LA housing, shopping precincts, multi-storey car parks and areas which are unobserved.

Specific issues for consideration

11 Owners/users of lifts used in public areas and public buildings should ensure that landing entrances and doors are designed and constructed in order to withstand the anticipated risk of vandalism and physical abuse.

12 Effective and appropriate arrangements should be in place to ensure that lift landing doors are maintained in a safe operating condition including regular checks by the lift maintenance engineer of the door retaining system. Checks will include the condition of the guide channel(s), guide shoes (sometimes referred to as guide blocks or gibs), fixings, rollers etc to ensure there are no defects which could affect the effectiveness of the door retaining system. Such checks are expected to form part of a preventive maintenance programme for the lift.

13 Competent persons, as part of their responsibilities for the thorough examination, should examine among other things the condition of the landing door retaining system. The risks which could arise from the failure of the door retaining system will determine how thorough the examination needs to be.

Remedial measures

14 On some types of horizontal sliding landing door construction there is a recess at the underside of the door created by the door frame (see appendix) which, in some cases may not provide adequate vertical support for some bottom door shoe assemblies. In such cases, the guide shoe may need to be provided with adequate vertical support, eg resiting the shoes, modifying the door construction.

15 Where it is reasonably foreseeable that lift landing doors could be subjected to vandalism and physical abuse, effective means may need to be considered for retaining the door panel in position if the guide shoe assemblies fail. If they are not fitted already, this may be achieved by the installation of sufficiently robust kicking plates/safety flanges to prevent the bottom of the door panel from being pushed into the lift well.

16 Where new installations are being made in the kinds of places envisaged in para 10 they should be installed to British Standard BS EN 81-71: 2005  Safety rules for the construction and installation of lifts. Particular applications to passenger lifts and goods passenger lifts. Vandal resistant lifts   Lift owners and others with responsibilities for lifts, are encouraged to take this BS into account when considering the adequacy of their existing arrangements. See also  CEN/TS 81-83: 2009 Safety rules for the construction and installation of lifts. Existing lifts. Rules for the improvement of the resistance against vandalism .

17 As part of the maintenance arrangements, lift owners and maintenance engineers are also encouraged to keep legible records of remedial actions undertaken during maintenance and have in place simple effective systems which communicate to the lift owner, or their authorised representative, any concerns identified that may affect ongoing safety.

Request for information

18 Information, however brief, about accidents and near misses involving lift landing door retaining systems will continue to be of value to HSE. HSE would like to be kept informed (see para 21 ) about accidents at lift landing doors through its contacts with HSE inspectors, LA inspectors, lift manufacturers/maintenance organisations and organisations representing competent persons.

19 It would also be useful to learn more about the types, successes, etc of recommended remedial measures, recognising that those improvements/measures contained in paras 14 and 15 are not exhaustive.

20 Such information will assist in future advice on this issue and will also be very useful when revisions of existing and drafting of new European standards are being undertaken.

21 Please forward information to: CCID, Product Safety Unit, Redgrave Court  Merton Road, Bootle, Merseyside L20 7HS.

Date first issued: 19 March 2002

(para 14)

section through bottom of door showing recess formed by doorframe

Updated 2012-06-27