Standardisation: VFA activities and offers
Directives, standards, legislation and ordinances for lift construction
Since 1985, the European Union has regulated the harmonisation of product groups and the eradication of obstacles to trade within the single European market under the “New Approach” initiative. More than 20 EU directives have come into force during this period. All of them have to be examined, assessed, and communicated in their respective latest version while taking account of the impact on GTBFT (Global Technical Barrier-Free Trade).
How members can benefit: channelling the flood of information
VFA makes life easier for those responsible within companies by noting, following up, and appraising any changes. The wealth of information requires professional monitoring of the regulatory authorities and institutions. Directive 2006/42/EU on Machinery and the adaptation of Directive 95/16/EU on Lifts have finally replaced the previous provisions in this part of the world. The European directives have been transposed into national law via the provisions of the Product Safety Act. The associated changes with regard to passenger lifts have been taken account of in the revised version of the Lifts Ordinance, with the most recent changes dating from 1.12. 2011. The Machinery Ordinance is binding for certain types of lift. The EU is currently revising the “New Approach”, so directives will also be adapted or comprehensively altered in the future.
Lifts must comply with fundamental health & safety requirements. In each case, a risk assessment must be conducted to record the fact that current requirements are being adhered to.
If this doesn’t happen, and it leads to personal injury and/or damage to property, the company may duly be liable in accordance with the Product Liability Act and be subject to considerable financial risk. In order to avoid this, companies must address the current status of standardisation. The latter must be transferred into the plant documentation, which nowadays is of considerable importance.
How members can benefit: list of standards
Every month sees over 10,000 alterations to standards in the lift sector (cancellations, changes, additions, new editions). Having to monitor and analyse these changes is a very time-consuming exercise for any company. VFA maintains a constantly growing “list of standards” for its members, and provides written information about this at regular intervals.
VFA in advisory bodies for standards
Professional standards are developed in working groups of standardisation organisations such as ISO, IEC, DIN, DKE, CEN or CENELEC. Companies from within the industry can choose to become involved and send experts to these bodies, which involves a considerable amount of expenditure. VFA, whose expertise and importance is indisputable, also champions the interests of its members in such bodies.
State of the Art
Current standards are of course relevant from the perspective of safety requirements as well as the rebuttable presumption of conformity which expects that the protection-related targets set out in directives, laws, and ordinances will be complied with. It is no longer adequate to merely observe Codes of Practice. Companies today must comply with “state of the art” – a new dimension in terms of their responsibilities.