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ELA Publication April 2013

Disclaimer: this document is based on Information received from

national associations, members of the European Lift Association,
CEN, the European Commission and other sources.
ELA declines any and all liability both for the content and for any
measure taken or not taken on the basis of the present study. This
study is for general informational purposes only.

ELA SNEL white paper April 2013

Lifts, escalators and moving walks are used more than
1billion times a day in the European Union. It is the most used
vehicle for travelling, and the safest by far. The community
of the travelling public appreciates the mobility and access
that lifts, escalators and moving walks provide to all groups
in the community. They also expect that their journeys are
made as safe as possible, but this goes without saying and
the ride comfort is so high today with the new smooth ride
experience and perfect levelling accuracy that the user does
not even realize or perceive that he/she is entering or leaving a
lift. Conversations continue, documents or business cards are
exchanged, introductions made and lots of laughter heard on
travelling lifts.
The lift brings us together. It is one of the few meeting points in
todays vertical cities. That is where vertical neighbours get to
know each other, that is where couples meet, that is where life
goes by, uninterrupted.
More than five million lifts are in use today in Europe, to
the satisfaction of the immense majority of users. But not
everything is perfect. In many countries, more than half the
existing lifts are 25 years old or even older. Few of them have
been modernized to meet current safety and performance
requirements. Accidents, even fatal accidents still happen
every year. The lift industry is aiming at making the lift ride
absolutely safe. The lift may not fall sometimes. It may never
fail. Full stop. The user gives his/her own life to the lift and
does not expect to encounter any problems. And so it should
be. Contrary to most other transport means, lifts are used
mostly by persons who are not the owner or the driver of
the vehicle.
Ageing lifts can be made more energy-effective, safer, more
reliable and comfortable through regular maintenance and
through improvements.
This document, produced in the spring of 2013 is the first
document that ELA publishes since the launch of the Safety of
Existing Lifts campaign, some 11 years ago. It is a milestone
in the long process that, through best practices exemplified
further in this document, will produce a harmonized set of
national legislation for the existing lifts that do not carry the CE
marking, in other words lifts that were not installed in the era
of the European Lifts Directive 95/16/EC, but date from before
the turn of the century, from 1997 and before.
The fact that some lifts installed in the late 1800s are still
functioning is a reminder of the incredible sturdiness and
safety of lifts. On average, a lift lasts six times longer than any
car on the road, to the full satisfaction of its users.

ELA SNEL white paper April 2013

1. Purpose of this White Paper

There is a need for new technical and social solutions to
facilitate everyday life and to create an inclusive society.
These solutions will impact all residents of urban societies
and people in their work environments, be they young or old,
healthy or with restricted mobility.

w This paper provides useful input to improve this Mobility

Chain, with a particular attention given to the vertical

lift equipment which is present everywhere in the built
environment as illustrated below:

Homeowners and builders are in a key position to provide the

necessary infrastructure.
Vertical lift equipment and related services are an integral
part of the accessibility chain of buildings and of society as
a whole.

ELA SNEL white paper April 2013

w Today available codes of good practice and national laws,

based on the transposition of existing European Directives

and Recommendations can help achieve this higher
implementation level. Allow us to list up the most important
which are:

EN 81-80: Rules for the improvement of safety of

existing passenger and goods passenger lifts or
so called SNEL (see also under point 1.1.2 and

European Recommendation 95/216/EC: The 10

Recommendations (see also under point 3);

Use of work equipment Directive (UWED, 89/655/

EC amended by 95/63/EEG and 2001/45/EC);

Product liability Directive (85/374/EC of 25th of

July 1985);

Product safety Directive for the consumers

(2001/95/EC of 3rd of December 2001);

Directive 89/391/EC of 12th of June 1989 on

the introduction of measures to encourage
improvements in the safety and health of workers at

w This White paper can be used as a guideline for:


authorities to determine their own

programme of implementation in a step by step
process via a filtering method in a reasonable
and practicable way based on the level of risk
(e.g. extreme, high, medium, low) and social and
economic considerations;

Owners to follow their responsibilities according to

existing regulations (e.g. Use of Work Equipment

Owners to upgrade the existing lifts on a voluntary

basis if no particular national regulations exist;


companies and/or inspection bodies

to inform the owners on the safety level of their


authorities, owners and maintenance

companies and/or inspection bodies to get inspired
by initiatives already undertaken by other leading
member states as illustrated in this paper.


political world (Members of the European

Parliament or national MPs or other public officers


European Commission and other European


Associations or others.

ELA SNEL white paper April 2013

2. Background
In 2003, the European Committee of Standardization (CEN)
has added to its well-known European Standard for new
lifts, EN 81 part 1 and 2, the key standard for the safety of
existing lifts, EN 81-80: 2003. This standard was the result
of several years work by committed safety experts from the
lift industry, government authorities, third party inspection
bodies, consumers organizations and insurance companies.
Since then, the main lift norm EN 81-1/2 is being replaced by
the new norm EN 81-20/50, but the on-going process keeps its
existing lifts references to EN 81-80.
EN 81-80:2003, Safety rules for the construction and installation
of lifts Existing lifts Part 80: Rules for the improvement
of safety of existing passenger and goods passenger lifts,
categorizes various hazards and hazardous situations, each of
which has been analysed by a risk assessment. It then provides
a list of corrective actions to improve safety progressively.

The identification of the hazardous situation can be carried out

in the course of any periodical survey or special examination
on a given installation, but only technically competent and
sufficiently trained persons should be allowed to carry
out these examinations. This can be subjected to national
Once the weak points of the installation have been identified
through this pro-active assessment or safety audit, improvements
can be made (if necessary) by a stepwise upgrading which can
naturally be combined with any modernization being carried
out. In addition, preventive maintenancce and repairs are a
necessary ongoing process.

The lift should be audited against a checklist of more than 70

items (74 in Western Europe but several more in Central &
Eastern European member states).


EN 81-80



EN81 series
EN81 series
of standards

EN81 series






The Delta
shall be
by the





ELA SNEL white paper April 2013

SNEL (Safety Norm for Existing lifts) is the known abbreviation

for the specialists of the lift industry in Europe, when they refer
to EN 81-80. It is an important safety instrument that shows
its long-term impact in many countries in Europe. SNEL and
its various applications throughout the continent and abroad
(Hong Kong, Australia and others) also serve as a benchmark
and an example to other countries inside and outside of
SNEL has to be applied as a technical guide package, to
promote the progressive (when?) and selective (what?)
maintaining and/or improvement of the safety of existing lifts.
Through these actions, there is a very clear increase in the
European lift safety and accessibility for lift users, lift workers
and third party inspectors.
Member-states decision makers, lift owners, lift industry
and third party inspection bodies have a vital interest in
understanding the implications of SNEL. They must link up
with closely related EU and National existing regulations.
The core message is that SNEL needs to be applied in a proactive way. This allows the application of the well-known
prevention principle, of taking the necessary and sufficient
measures to ensure a safe situation.
This "SNEL" approach, once integrated and well applied,
makes the lifts safer for all of us.
The creation, at member-state level, of a specific national law
or decree, referring to or based upon this EN 81-80 standard,
can give a more mandatory character to it, as this is already the
case in Belgium, France, Spain, Austria, Germany and other
countries (see chapter 7 and following).

ELA SNEL white paper April 2013

ELA SNEL white paper April 2013

3. European Recommendation
95/216/EC (reference to)
When the European Commission (EC) produced the Lifts
Directive 95/216/EC, all stakeholders knew that the document
was only destined to regulate the installation of new lifts, but
the very large stock of lifts that equipped the existing buildings
throughout Europe remained under the sole responsibility
of national governments. Still, the EC, after consultation
of the various stakeholders, including EEA and EFLA at the
time, decided to add a short one page Recommendation
95/216/EC with the 10 recommendations to make existing lifts
safer, whatever their age. It is only a Recommendation, since
the European Commission only sees to the further integration
of Europe and not to the existing set of national regulations
that remain the responsibility of the member states.
This has been the basis for the lift industry experts, when they
set to the huge task of identifying risks that lifts could pose. The
Committee of experts provided a carefully detailed list of 74
risks, both to users and to workers. The 10 recommendations
document was the basis for their work on the new norm, the
Safety Norm for Existing Lifts EN 81-80:2003 (SNEL).
The list of the 10 recommendations from 1995 is as follows:

ELA SNEL white paper April 2013

4. Statistics about
the European Lifts portfolio
Europe is the first continent and by far for the number of
lifts installed. The installed basis (more than 5 million lifts)
represents some 50 % of the number of lifts installed in the
world. This is changing rapidly with the coming of age of
Asia, particularly China, where more than 400 000 lifts were
installed in 2011, while Europe only installed some 110 000
units in the same period and North America some 20 000

Lifts / Number of inhabitants

Existing Lifts Total Population

Czech Republic
The Netherlands
United Kingdom


2 100
2 500
2 500
2 700
1 500
20 000
18 000
6 000
25 000
2 489
1 100
5 000
2 450
5 000
1 000
19 000
2 800
3 588
17 500
11 950

88 280
88 000
84 000
133 200
31 500
4 600
56 000
520 000
650 000
411 900
37 300
915 000
5 770
8 100
9 700
87 500
37 700
87 488
147 000
43 500
41 800
10 195
857 283
109 575
198 000
313 000
274 900

8 221 000
10 444 000
6 982 000
10 163 000
5 556 000
1 266 000
5 266 000
65 952 000
81 147 000
10 773 000
9 939 000
61 482 000
2 178 000
3 516 000
514 862
16 805 000
4 723 000
38 384 000
10 799 000
21 790 000
5 488 000
1 993 000
47 371 000
9 119 000
7 996 000
73 640 000
63 396 000

155 877

5 251 291

584 903 862

The European lift industry

(including Turkey) maintains
some 5 250 000 lifts with a
total personnel of more than
150 000 employees.
The average age of existing
lifts is above 25 years.
ELA SNEL white paper April 2013

Europe also has a large share of the new generation of MRL lifts
(Machine Room Less) than any other continent, North America
remaining very traditional for the types of lifts installed, except
for the high rise applications in city centres.

the use of lifts are not reported by the victims. Only statistics
for workers are fully reliable, since these must be reported for
Health & Safety reasons, in order to improve equipment and

The fact that the lift stock is on average much bigger in

Europe than in North America and much older than in Asia,
statistically implies a higher risk of accidents for the European
lift users and workers. Fatal accidents of users and workers
unfortunately happen every year, though in a limited number
(between 10 and 20). Serious accidents are numerous and
the number of incidents is very high, but impossible to define
precisely, since most of these incidents and near misses in

Out of experience, the Statistical Committee of ELA, which

works closely with the national lift associations, applies a
pyramid of accidents & incidents, for workers and for users.
The main causes for accidents are linked each year to the
SNEL risks in the ELA statistics and communicated to all
member associations, in order to improve specifically on the
main causes and eradicate them.







Main causes for worker accidents 2011:

Unsafe access to machine room
Inadequate means of handling equipment
Insufficient protection against electric shock
Unsafe pit access
No protection on different levels in machine room
Slippery floor in machine room
Sharp edges/objects
Slips, trips and falls
Misuse of tools

ELA SNEL white paper April 2013


23 %
18 %
11 %
10 %
17 %


Main causes for User accidents 2011:

Stopping accuracy/bad levelling
53 %
16 %
No protective devices on power operated doors
16 %
Lack of car door
Locking problems
Uncontrolled movement of car
No safety gear or overspeed governor on electric lifts 3 %


5. Other aspects
when implementing SNEL
The implementation of EN 81-80 per country, based on the 74
defined risks, will vary in content and scheduling, to allow for
any local differences in the assessment of those risks.
The definition of risks levels, categorized as extreme, high,
medium or low, will depend on previous country history of lift
regulation and applied standards, accident statistics, specific
product knowledge and social expectations.
In SNEL, annex A, the described methodology of the National
Filtering Method provides a tool for easily and successfully
defining the when and what status of each predefined
SNEL risk.
Today, this filtering process, which has been applied
successfully in several European countries, among them
Belgium, France, Spain or Austria, is on-going in other EU
Using the filter as recommended by the experts who wrote the
norm, will bring a de facto safety harmonization of the existing
lifts. It will be a great leap forward for European integration.

5.1 Energy consumption

Energy efficiency is required from all equipment of the
building in todays society. Energy has become paramount in
the fight against global warming and the reduction of CO2
emissions. Since the building stock is responsible for roughly
half the emissions of CO2 in Europe, through heating and
direct emissions, but also through indirect emissions, when
producing electricity used by the building equipment, from
heating and cooling to running lifts and escalators.
Lifts dont consume a lot of energy, since electrical lifts and
some models of hydraulic lifts function with a counterweight
that strongly reduces the need for electricity in running the
lift up and down in its shaft. ELA has participated to the
development of the E4 Report (Energy Efficient Elevators &
Escalators), with the support of the European Commission
(Intelligent energy unit), and the measurements made on tens
of lifts throughout Europe clearly indicate that despite of its low
consumption, the lift can still see its electricity consumption
drastically reduced, mainly by replacing existing incandescent
lighting with new types of lamps and by installing controllers
that will provide different sleep modes for the lift and reduce
its consumption when the lift is in standby...which is most of
the time.
The E4 group has calculated that the overall energy efficiency
could reduce the electricity demand by 4 Terawatts, if all
existing lifts in Europe were improved for energy efficiency.
Lateral thinking makes it that the European Commission and
national deciders are to be convinced by the fact that the
modernisation of the lift stock can mean several benefits at
the same time: SAFETY of users through the application of
SNEL, but also ENERGY EFFICIENCY improvements through
the application of the E4 recommendations and improved
ACCESSIBILITY to the disabled, whether temporary or
permanent, as well as senior citizens, who can remain home
longer and not be put into institutions where they dont feel at
home and which represent high costs for society. Improving
Safety through SNEL is a Win Win objective that can also have
an impact on energy efficiency and accessibility for all.


ELA SNEL white paper April 2013

5.2 Accessibility (access to the building)

5.3 Liability issues - Rights and

obligations of the different actors

There is a growing trend in our population: people live longer.

The disabled require access and both groups, senior citizens
and people with disabilities want safety without the need for

Percentage of the population

seniors +75





The degree of liability depends on national legislation and

the specific facts of each case. However, one should take
into account that many parties (lift company, maintenance
company, lift owner, third party, government, etc.) are
potentially involved when it comes to an accident resulting
from one of the SNEL identified risks and caused by insufficient
safety measurements applied to lifts (often based on SNEL).
Intensive dialogue with lawyers and/or law firms is an
important first action for a smooth application of the national


5.3.1 The different actors




People do not want to leave their homes where they have been
living for many years despite age and mobility problems.
EN 81-80 SNEL combined with CEN/TS EN 81-82 Rules for
the improvement of the accessibility of existing lifts for persons
including persons with disability can help to achieve this.

A starting point is to verify how for example the European

Directives and Recommendation mentioned hereunder are
today transposed into national law.
The most relevant ones are:

The 10 Recommendations (95/216/EC);

Use of work equipment Directive (UWED, 89/655/

EC, 95/63/EC and 2001/45/EC);

Product liability Directive (85/374/EC of 25th of

July 1985);

Product safety Directive for the consumers

(2001/95/EC of 3rd of December 2001);

Directive 89/391/EC of 12 June 1989 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in

the safety and health of workers at work.

Furthermore, it is important to know how the courts deal with

existing national and European legislation, the state of the
art safety philosophy, jurisprudence and applicable existing
national and new European standards.
These objectives can be worked out by making an inventory
of potential Frequently Asked Questions. To illustrate this, it
should be clear which parties are involved when an accident
occurs. Let us suppose, for example, that a risk analysis
has been done as scheduled by the law, but the required
modernization work has not been done accordingly.
The question is then: who is responsible in the case of an
accident with injury, or in worst case if death occurs as a

ELA SNEL white paper April 2013


5. Other aspects
when implementing SNEL

Who are the major involved parties in case of accident:

Victim: lift user, lift technician or inspector

Lift company: installation, maintenance, repair,


Administrator: owner or his/her representative

Third party: inspection body, insurance company

Government: competent authorities

5.3.2 What if SNEL is not applied?

If SNEL has not been applied well, we should be aware that in
the case of lift accidents, court decisions will rely on criteria
and facts. The court will relate the application of the state-ofthe-art technology which in the case of existing lifts means
SNEL is today the state-of-the-art in safety upgrading, the
ratified standard in Europe, made official by CEN.
Lift owners, lift industry and third party inspection bodies have
a vital interest in mastering all implications of SNEL, including
links with closely related EU and national existing regulations.
One can fear that if nothing is being done on an ageing lift
stock, fatalities and serious accidents suddenly start growing
exponentially, with the conjunction of obsolescence of
equipment and the ageing of the population.


ELA SNEL white paper April 2013

5.3.3 Once SNEL has been integrated and well applied in your country: follow up
Once SNEL has been implemented as local legislation, many
questions from all kind of sources will come up.
The main objective of having a smooth application of the new
law is to have the law interpreted consistently by all parties.
Therefore, a continued dialogue between all parties is required
in order to re-adjust the practical work if necessary.
To have an overview of possible obstructions, we will sum up
a list of elements to be taken into account when the law starts
to be applied:
Lift companies need to plan the impact on
available resources and time schedules within their
organization. This exercise is part of the preparation
work as well;
b) Safety components capabilities and safety levels,
which are the result of the practical application
of SNEL, are to be defined, after consultation with
inspection bodies and involved civil servants;

Reasonably practicable is defined as follows: In deciding

what is reasonably practicable, the seriousness of the risk of
injury should be weighed against the difficulty and cost of
removing or reducing that risk. In considering the cost, no
allowance should be made for the size, nature or profitability
of the business concerned. Where the difficulty and costs
are high and a careful assessment of the risk shows it to be
comparatively unimportant, action may not need to be taken.
On the other hand where the risk is high, action should be
taken at whatever cost.
All parties should be aware that transposing SNEL into
national legislation is driven by safety, as the fundamental
reason to legislate is triggered by a standard that aims at
improving safety and accessibility of existing lifts! Still, it
is to be noted that energy efficiency and accessibility are
automatically improved as a consequence.

c) Inspection bodies need to be informed by the

industry about the practical application of the
modernization and vice versa (which kind of safety
components and safety levels?);
d) The same applies for the government and civil
e) All possible scenarios regarding liability, legal and
judicial aspects (see also point 4) are to be listed.
(This exercise is part of the preparation work as
well). This includes the analysis of the possible
consequences if the law is ignored;
f) Exceptional cases, such as very old lifts, need to be
considered case by case, as huge modernization
costs can be out of proportion in comparison with
the value of a lift.

ELA SNEL white paper April 2013


6. Information about SNEL

Since the publication in December 2003 of the standard EN
81-80, defining the 74 risks to be tackled on existing lifts,
the European Lift Association has made a large amount of
information available to its members, the industry and the
public in general, in order to promote the improvement of
safety on existing lifts. The most important document published
before the present White Paper is the SNEL Guideline
available on the ELA website (2004 - see here under).

6.1 Scope of information

There are two types of information documents available at ELA
and on its website, aimed at different stakeholders and their
level of knowledge of the issues at stake:
w Technical application documents and guidelines on

how to progressively upgrade the existing stock of lifts in

the country. The most exhaustive document is the SNEL
Guidelines: a binder published by ELA in 2004 and launched
that same year at a SNEL conference, organized in Brussels,
with the participation of the whole of industry, notified
bodies, disabled associations and top civil servants from the
governments of many member states. The document, titled
Your guideline to SNEL: improving safety and accessibility
of existing lifts in Europe is still available on the ELA
Members only section of the ELA website..

Risk 6 : Well enclosures with perforate walls (relevant clause

in EN 81-80)
Objects, limbs or body parts are passed into the well, causing shearing and
crushing of limbs, or even death. Lifts installed in a large staircase, where
the stairs run round the lift, need to have full enclosures and no possibility for
humans to put any part of the body inside the shaft.


ELA SNEL white paper April 2013

the different legislation in place throughout Europe,

thanks to the English translation of all laws, decrees
and recommendations.

w General brochures, illustrations and documents:

Each of the main risks listed in SNEL has been

illustrated by the artist Zack in cartoons made
available to all, free of charge, showing the risk itself
and how it can happen on the one hand, and the
improved situation, once the risk has been dealt
with. See the example below: the last fatal accident
of this type took place in Paris at the end of 2011,
with the decapitation of a young man who was
looking down over the railing.
Next to these cartoons made available in high and
low definition to all members of the association
and their members members, ELA has produced
a video presenting the safety situation of an ageing
lift stock and the danger of seeing the number of
accidents rapidly increasing for users and workers
alike if nothing is done to upgrade the safety of
lifts. The video is available in English, French,
German, Italian, Dutch, Polish, Spanish, Turkish and
probably other languages. The Swedish association
Hissforbundet has also produced a video illustrating
some of the main risks listed in SNEL. This video (in
Swedish) can be bought at the Swedish association.
The PowerPoint presentations made at the SNEL
symposium (January 2004) and the SNEL Forum
(June 2004) by industry experts, by a journalist
on media relations and a lobbyist on government
relations and lobbying are available on the ELA
website (members only section). The website section
on the SNEL Symposium also contains SNEL tools, a
Pilot checklist and a Q & A document.
The best way forward is working with Best practices
and trying to repeat the successes reached by some
associations/member states, while avoiding the
hurdles that appeared during the process in other
member states. Several detailed presentations are
available on the ELA website, Members only SNEL
section, describing the process and results obtained
in France, Spain, Belgium and Austria.

Brochures were published by ELA and by several

countries, to promote SNEL or accompany the
publication of legislation. They are available on the
ELA website too (members only section). They might
give ideas to others on the best communication
ideas to be used. A new brochure has been made
available on the ELA website at the end of March
2013. It is illustrated with new original drawings by

6.2 What SNEL is - What it is not

SNEL is:
w Despite its non-harmonised status, it is to be considered as

equally important as other existing EN-standards for lifts.

w Furthermore this standard is not about modernisation, but

about the progressive and selective improvement of the

safety and accessibility of existing lifts.

SNEL is not:
w This standard does not have an EU mandate related to a

European Directive (e.g. the Lift Directive 95/16/EC), since it

concerns existing installations only. Therefore this standard
has not been published as a harmonised EU Standard.
w Furthermore this is a safety standard and is not to be con-

sidered as a European modernisation standard for existing


The essential documents for each member state

that legislated are of course the national Laws &
application decrees. Each law, decree, guideline or
recommendation issued by member states or regions
is available in the original language and in a (free)
English translation on the ELA website (Members
only section). It is a great help for legislators and
lift associations that want to pass new legislation
improving the safety of existing lifts, to benchmark

ELA SNEL white paper April 2013


7. Survey of existing regulations

based on SNEL
Member states that have analyzed their existing legislation
with the filter that EN 81-80 provides, and have legislated
accordingly, filling the voids in terms of safety of users and
of workers, have selected different ways and timetables to
apply the legislation. Most countries have adopted a timing in
three steps for safety upgrading over a period varying between
12 and 18 years (France, Belgium), starting with the most
dangerous risks. Some other member states have chosen to
work by year of installation, each year of application getting
the lifts of a certain period in the past, starting with the oldest
lifts and going back in time to the most recent lifts (Austria).
Germany has had a system in place for many years, through
which the notified bodies make a recommendation (not
compulsory) to the lift owner for all lifts used for work (Use of
Work Equipment Directive 95.63 EC and 2001/45/EC). Even
if the safety upgrading is not compulsory, the liability for the
lift owner in case of accident is a strong incentive to adapt the
lift. Other countries have only produced a recommendation
for the most important risks (Norway), which is a step in the
right direction.

7.1 Implementing in FRANCE

The process was exemplary in France. Here is a summary of the
process, as applied, after a series of fatal accidents triggered a
response by the French government in 2003.

Series of fatal accidents
Request from national

Political world

authorities at AFNOR

Analysing the situation

Collecting accidents statistics

for Users & Workers

Identification of major risks to
Defining compensatory
Setting up list of safety

Transversal Work Group under

AFNOR authority

Proposal to National Authorities

Number and type of lifts
Type of building
Compensatory measures
Provisional cost by safety

French Lift Federation (FAS)

and the Ministry


Prioritization of safety


Lead-time and deadlines

(3 periods)

Drafting law, decree and arrests

Publication and implementation


ELA SNEL white paper April 2013

After a much publicized series of accidents, involving children
among other victims in 2002, the French government decided to
legislate urgently. The French federation and AFNOR provided
statistics and indications on the worst risks, recommending
to Minister Gilles de Robien (Housing) to filter the existing
legislation and apply EN 81-80 for the risks which were not yet
covered by the French legislation. Car doors were for example
already compulsory since the early 1980s and did not need
legislating. Nevertheless, the French lift stock was then one
of the oldest in Europe, since France had had much less
reconstruction than Germany after the last world war. More
importantly, France made a huge effort at building apartment
blocks and social housing in the 1960s when the repatriation
of the French population from Algeria took place. The French
economy had also developed much earlier than the economy
of countries such as Spain for example, or Poland since it
became a Member State in the European Union.

Content & implementation

The new SAE (Scurit des Ascenseurs Existants) legislation
prepared and voted in a record time despite some opposition
from building owners, covers 44 SNEL risks, scheduling the
application of the law and its application decrees in three
phases of 5 10 15 years: the high risks had to be covered
by 2010 (after prolongation), the medium risks by 2013
(prolongation possible) and the low risks before 2018.
The French law was published on July 3, 2003 (Law n 2003590 published on July 2nd 2003). A general application decree
(2004-964) was published on September 9th, 2004 and three
orders on November 18th, 2004. A new law was subsequently
published, extending the total lead time from 15 to 18 years;
so 2008 became 2010 (Decree n 2008-291), but there is at
the time of publication of this White Paper no postponement
announced for the 2013 due date or for 2018, though
discussions are taking place for 2013. 2013 was maintained as
such and 2018 is still under discussion.
ELA SNEL white paper April 2013

The application of legislation in France has been exemplary.

What has happened since 2005?
w 1) The first 5 year-period was the most crucial in terms

of recruiting and training new mechanics for the industry,

answering the multiple calls for tender, and organizing
the work. There were between 330 000 and 407 000 lifts
concerned by this first phase (suppression of the high risks
as defined in SNEL), on a total of 528 000 lifts in France.
Today the safety of 90 % of these lifts has been upgraded for
the high risks.
At the end of the first period, since many owners were late
in ordering their work to be done and the rush in the last
few months, the French government was obliged to lengthen
the delay by one year, until December 31st, 2010 to make it
possible for all owners to comply with legislation.
w 2) The second 5-year period covered some 290 000 to 339

000 lifts for the medium risks enclosed in the SAE legislation.
It ends on July 3, 2013, except if the government postpones
the closing date by 6 months to another year. The French
lift federation has defended the idea of not extending the
deadline because it maintains safety risks while penalizing
the owners who have done the work early or within due
time. For the French lift sector, it is possible to keep the July
date for all lift owners to have at least passed the order for
the second phase of safety upgrading on their lift by the due
date. There remain some 120 000 lifts on which the work to
be done in the second phase still needs to be done.
At the beginning of February 2013, 60 % of lifts concerned
had been upgraded already. The modernisation of the
remaining 40 % will last well into 2014, even if all orders
are passed by July 3, 2013


7. Survey of existing regulations

based on SNEL

7.1 Implementing in FRANCE

w 3) The third and last 5-year period ends on July 3rd, 2018.

It relates to minor risks, which are less important. The

most important risk to be dealt with for that last period is
the Uncontrolled Movement in up direction (UCM). This
last requirement is not costly if a frequency convertor has
been installed during the second phase (2013), for which
the levelling accuracy (frequency convertor) was the most
important modification to be brought to the lift. Nevertheless,
the number of lifts concerned in this third phase remains
important. Only 20% of lifts to be modernised were fully
upgraded during the first or the two first phases. Some 80%
of the lifts concerned remain to be done. The volume of
modernisation work should therefore remain at a steady
pace until 2018.

Appraisal of the programme

France is the best example of a well thought-out process,
from the legislative phase, identifying the risks requirement
on the French lift stock, defining the periods and method of
application, informing all and managing the whole process,
to reach very high levels of application on all types of lifts,
in public buildings, buildings accessible to the public, or all
residential applications. When a postponement of the due date
was considered necessary, it was given in the last month
before the due date, to avoid the loss of momentum. So doing,
France has managed to upgrade its lift stock on a record time
for the number of units involved.
For the industry it was certainly not easy to absorb the huge
surge in work from the multiple calls for tender that needed to
be answered by all companies, large and small, to the training
of new mechanics on the most difficult of jobs: the adaptation
of lifts of all ages and technologies.
Costs for the whole programme were first estimated at 4
billion . The latest estimates bring the total investment at
9 billion . This high number does not mean that the actual
safety upgrading of the French lift stock has cost 9 billion. It is
estimated at a little more than 4 billion . Need to be taken into

French users accidents reduction since application of SNEL

(SAE legislation)

w Serious and fatal accidents were reduced

drastically in 10 years


w Most serious & fatal accidents have a

cause covered by the 17 measures

w Accidents occurred where the measures

were not yet applied



w Since 2000, 85% of these accidents could

2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012

have been prevented by the SNEL law

ELA SNEL white paper April 2013

account: the inflation since 2003 (more or less 10 years) and

the fact that many owners decided to do more on their lift and
increase the value of their building, by deciding for example
to have new panel decoration of the car, or to replace the
enclosure of the well with elegant wrought-iron protections,
which are very costly transformations.
On the total of 9,4 billion that the total programme will
probably cost, 5,7 billion have been completed in February
2013. The adaptation of the lift to obtain a perfect levelling
accuracy (lift adaptation to be done by 2013 for lifts installed
before 1982, and 2018 for others) alone (the most costly
requirement) reaches some 1,5 to 2,5 billion .

The most important result of the safety upgrading campaign

led in France for the last 7 years is that fatal and serious
accidents have been significantly reduced, both for users and
for mechanics. The only fatal accidents that unfortunately
happened in France during the period, took place on units that
had not yet been modernised. Incidents have also been reduced
but it is very difficult to assess the incidents happening on lifts,
since few people complain officially, and the lift industry can
only estimate the number of incidents by applying percentages
to the reported serious and fatal accidents.

The new lifts market in France represents adding some 10000

to 12 000 new lifts every year. It is less than 1/5th of the units
involved in the SNEL programme each year over the last 7
years. For the French lift industry, it has meant creating and
keeping high skilled jobs during the difficult years that the
construction sector has gone through. After 2018, the market
should gradually land back to a much less important
modernisation activity, next to the new lift market.

Severe and fatal worker accidents on existing lifts in France

(accidents on the road to the work place not included)





ELA SNEL white paper April 2013









7. Survey of existing regulations

based on SNEL

7.2 Implementing in Belgium

In Belgium, the introduction of legislation was triggered by a
series of dramatic fatal accidents in 2001 and 2002, though
the industry and all other stakeholders had begun preparing
the content of a potential decree earlier on.
A Royal Decree published in the Belgian Official Journal on
March 9th, 2003 was the first piece of legislation using EN
81-80 (SNEL) in Europe. It was fought from the very beginning
by a residential owners association, which considered that
residential lifts were basically safe, and that no upgrading was
needed. It was modified twice, the last modification dating
from December 2012, the first time to lengthen the application
period of legislation, at the request of a residential owners
association and the second time, to modify the content of
each step of the upgrading to be done and to prolong the
application period for the historical residential lifts, while
the large majority of lifts kept the original timetable. The total
number of 74 risks listed in SNEL is covered by the Belgian
legislation. In the latest revised version of the Royal Decree,
all risks must be tackled at once, in function of the date of
installation (and not in 3 five-year periods as was the case in
the first version of the text). It was rapidly perceived that the
phases of the original three-phase plan, fractioning the costs
in 3 steps, were not independent from each other. Solutions


for a later phase were required to satisfy the needs of a former

phase. In order to avoid temporary solutions to be installed
for a limited period, it is better to realize all works at once.
The new Royal Decree imposes full modernization of lifts
depending on their age, once and for all. Owners get more
time as acceptable alternative solutions need to be developed.
w Lifts installed after April 1st, 1984 must be upgraded by

December 31th, 2014.

w Lifts installed after January 1st, 1958 must be upgraded by

December 31th, 2016

w All other lifts must be upgraded by December 31th, 2022.

The last revision seems to be the right one and all stakeholders
owners included have accepted the new plan. The new
Royal Decree imposes a timetable for safety upgrading of all
lifts in Belgium, for private residential or professional use.
The oldest lifts (installed before 1954) which have a historical
or patrimonial value will have to be modernized by the end
of 2022. AGORIA, the Belgian association assesses the total
number of existing lifts in Belgium at about 85 000 units.

ELA SNEL white paper April 2013

Appraisal of the programme

The Belgian lift association AGORIA is satisfied, despite the
number of postponements of legislation, since all stakeholders
now agree on the new text scheme. It is a firm decision,
clarifying the rules for maintenance and safety upgrading.
The first approach had been a three-phase plan approach,
fractioning the costs in 3 steps, which could have increased
the total cost of the upgrading. The new Royal Decree imposes
the full modernisation of lifts depending on their age, once
and for all.
Date of putting into service Upgrading at the latest by

After April 1st, 1984

December 31st, 2014

After January 1st, 1958

December 31st, 2016

All lifts older than 1958

December 31st, 2022

Another important point that The Belgian lift association

stresses to the public: the cost of the SNEL upgrading is not
as high as many owners fear. Only in the case of very old
residential lifts, of architectural value, is a modernisation
costlier. Another element: more than half the Belgian lift
owners have upgraded the safety of their lift in the last few
years, anticipating the legislation. A last point stressed by the
Belgian association: a modernised lift increases the value of
the building where it is installed, and the maintenance costs
will be lower in the future. The Belgian SNEL saga ends with
a good decision and a clear Royal Decree. The great majority
of public buildings and of private buildings accessible to the
public have already been upgraded.

The Belgian lift association AGORIA takes the example of

France, which has seen the number of its serious accidents
divided by 3 since the application of the French SNEL
legislation (SAE law). In Belgium there were 2 fatal accidents
on lifts in 2012, on lifts which were not yet upgraded for
safety. The association will analyze its accident figures for
both users and lift mechanics in the coming years to see if the
trend corresponds to the progress in the application of SNEL
in Belgium.
The safety upgrading will also improve the ride comfort and
levelling accuracy and it is the right time to review the energy
consumption of the lift, starting with the most obvious sources
of energy saving: lighting. No more permanent lighting
of the car, even when it sits idle during the night, LED and
economical bulbs everywhere, no permanent lighting of the
well, etc... A new generation of controllers provide lifts more
and more with different sleep modes for the car, adapting the
readiness of the car and its energy consumption to the period
of the day and the intensity of the lift use.

ELA SNEL white paper April 2013


7. Survey of existing regulations

based on SNEL

7.3 Implementing in GERMANY

Germany was the first European member state to adopt a
regulation which allows the application of SNEL, even before
the completion of the new norm EN 81-80. A regulation
(Betriebssicherheitsverordnung - BetrSichV) was created on
September 27, 2002 and published on October 3, 2002.
It covers lifts which are work equipment (chapter 2) and
equipment subject to supervision, which necessitates special
inspection (pressure vessels or lifts for example) (chapter 3). The
regulation covers all lifts which are somehow commercially
used, e.g. as work equipment, in office, industrial and public
buildings but also in residential buildings where apartments are
rented. Only few lifts which are in pure private use dont fall
under this regulation. They are covered by regional building
regulations of the federal states, the Bundeslnder. However,
5 out of 16 of the federal states, specifically mention that all
obligations applying for commercially used lifts, also apply to
residential units, and are subject to a third party supervision.
In the remaining states the owner is responsible for the safe
operation of the lift. In practice most of these private lifts are
treated as being covered by the Betriebssicherheitsverordnung.
The regulation imposed an assessment of the hazards present
on each lift by the owner for all lifts (it is automatic for new
lifts), in case of lifts being work equipment immediately
after getting in force of the regulation and for lifts not being
considered as work equipment by December 31, 2007 at the
latest. Most owners assigned this task to inspection bodies
which are also carrying out periodical inspections required
by the regulation. Inspection bodies could use the list of EN
81-80 or their own enlarged or reduced list. Most inspectors
switched to EN 81-80 for their assessment. The target of the new
regulation was the simplification of existing safety legislation
in Germany, covered by several ordinances, now combined
in one. Most importantly, its aim was also to strengthen the
owners responsibility. At the same time this new regulation
also included the national transposition of the Use of Work
Equipment Directive (89/655/EEC, amended by 95/63/EC and


For lifts which are considered as work equipment (e.g. lifts in

factories or office buildings) the owner has the obligation to
upgrade the safety to a minimum which is evaluated by an
assessment of existing hazards. If the lift is not used as work
equipment (e.g. in apartment buildings), the owner is also
obliged to do an assessment of hazards. However he may also
choose organisational measures instead of technical measures
as long as these measures are able to achieve a sufficient safety
The key to the application of EN 81-80 in Germany is that the
industry association VDMA has reached an agreement with
the German inspection bodies, that the hazards and safety
assessments are based on EN 81-80, which at the time was
only a prEN (preparatory text), using the appropriate elements.
The safety level of the national German lift standard TRA 200
(Technische Regeln fr Aufzge) has been already pretty high
compared with todays state of the art. Due to this reason ,for
lifts which have been installed before the application of the Lifts
Directive in 1999, only 30 SNEL risks out of 74 may be found.
Furthermore some of these remaining risks have already been
covered partly by TRA 200. After re-assessment by national
filtering, only 10 high risks remain (e.g. separation of adjacent
lifts in the pit or over the full height, stopping device in the pit
or remote alarm system). Missing car doors may only be found
on some goods passenger lifts in restricted areas. All other lifts
have been retrofitted with car doors already in the 70s.
In 1999 when the Lifts Directive got in force approx. 500 000
passenger and goods passenger lifts had been in operation in
Germany. For the majority of these lifts (more than 80 %) the
SNEL risk assessment has been done and for most of them,
measures for upgrading of safety have been carried out. There
are no statistics on these modernisations available. However
industry representatives assume that there might be still less
than 40 % of the old lifts where some of the high risks have not
yet been upgraded. Therefore industry is continuing to inform
lift owners on remaining risks and appropriate modernisation.

ELA SNEL white paper April 2013

Since 2002, a catalogue for the modernisation and refurbishing

of existing lifts was established by the DAfA (German lift
committee) and published by the German ministry. It is
the Umbaukatalog, which describes additional safety
measures which have to be carried out in combination with
modernisation and refurbishing actions. Today the requirements
are covered by TRBS 1121, a technical specification for the
Let us also mention the German water protection legislation
that requires groundwater to be protected by secondary
containments and oil resistant coating, also for existing
installations. This requirement is relevant for hydraulic lifts.

Appraisal of the programme

The German lift industry association VDMA has managed
to create a good relation with the Ministry in charge
(Bundesministerium fr Arbeit und Soziales). An Advisory
board was created in 2004 by the Ministry with several VDMA
experts, to elaborate technical rules for the use of lifts (use,
inspection and essential modifications) and to follow the
application of the Betriebssicherheitsverordnung over time.
This main regulation is a soft approach compared to
legislation on safety of existing lifts, based on the filtering
method advised in EN 81-80, but over time, after several
waves of upgrading obligations, such as the installation
of car doors in 1974 after several fatal accidents, Germany
managed to upgrade the safety of the vast majority of the lifts
installed before CE marking, without great tensions on the
lift industry companies and their workforce. In other words,
there was no fast increase of orders and a subsequent general
drop, following the timetable of the application of legislation.
The industry in Germany did not go through the employment
difficulties of hiring fast and reducing size again later.
Safety has always been a cultural priority in Germany. Thanks
to trust and good relations between the stakeholders and the
administration, all stakeholders are involved in an advisory
board consulting the administration in its plans to revise the
regulation. There should be no difference made between
company employees and other persons that should be
equally protected. The revised regulation is also expected to
cover the remaining lifts, which were not yet upgraded since
2002, either because they did not fall under the definition of
work equipment or because their owners did not order the
necessary modifications to be made on the lift. It is a hard
core of lifts estimated at less than 30 % of the lift stock, that
still needs a safety upgrade for serious hazards, and the goal
will be to reach out and obtain that the safety of all, workers
or not, be optimized on these lifts as well. The new rule is also
expected to create the obligation for all lifts to be maintained
by a qualified company and keep the obligation of inspected
by a third party at the same time.

ELA SNEL white paper April 2013


7. Survey of existing regulations

based on SNEL

7.4 Implementing in austria

The Austrian national SNEL legislation (Verordnung 210 HBV
of July 2nd, 2009) covers all 74 SNEL risks. Austria selected a
two-tier method:
w 1) A risk assessment had to be carried out by a third

manufacturer must be done within a specific time frame,

depending on the severity of the risk. The execution date
of the safety upgrading is the date mentioned in the audit
report from the third party inspection body:

party (Notified Body) by a certain date. It is based on the

construction year. This phase is completed.

High risks must be eliminated within 5 years;

Medium risks must be eliminated within 10 years;

w 2) The actual upgrading of the lift by the installer/

Low risks must be eliminated when the part

related to that risk has to be replaced following the
manufacturers requirements.

Construction year Inspection by third party and

risk analysis at the latest before
Before 1966

31 December 2007

Between 1967 & 1976

31 December 2008

1977 &1983

31st December 2009

1984 & 1990

31st December 2010

1991 & 1995

31 December 2011

1996 & 1999

31st December 2012



Austria has also applied a double key:

Province regulations for lifts in residential buildings,

private buildings, public buildings (hospitals, office

National regulation for all commercial & industrial

buildings (commercial, administrative and industrial,



ELA SNEL white paper April 2013

All lifts in commercial & industrial buildings were to follow a

national programme for the whole country, while residential
lifts were subjected to the same system, but on a provincial
This time frame is valid for both commercial and industrial
buildings on the one hand and public buildings, private
buildings, and residential buildings on the other.
The programme was first applied to the lifts installed in the
capital region of Vienna in 2006, and was then progressively
extended to the whole country.
The Vienna stock of lifts represents nearly half the lifts in
the country. For that province, the SNEL programme is very
much advanced. But the 9 Austrian provinces (Burgenland,
Carinthia, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol,
Vorarlberg, Vienna) are not at the same stage of application. In
January 2013, there are still 3 provinces (Styria, Upper and
Lower Austria) where no provincial legislation imposing the
safety upgrading of residential lifts has yet been passed. Tyrol
and Vorarlberg will pass legislation in 2013. Salzburg passed
legislation in 2012. The 3 last provinces that have not yet
legislated represent 17 % of the Austrian population.
Each province could select a different time frame for the
application of legislation: Vorarlberg has imposed 18 months
only, so the risk assessment will be completed by the end of

ELA SNEL white paper April 2013

Appraisal of the programme

Application started well for the first few years, but difficulties
were encountered for a small number of lifts at the end of the
5 year-period (high risks), when the owner had not fulfilled its
obligation to upgrade safety on the lift concerned. This affects
some 5 % of the lifts. The legislation gave owners another 2
months at the end of the legal period to put the lift in order, and
if not done in time shut the lift. This period of two months has
to be supervised by national inspection bodies. The shutting
down comes with a fine. Another 5 % of lifts were simply
shut to passenger use and dismantled and some passenger lifts
were transformed in goods only lifts.
The experience of the provinces which legislated and applied
the programme early didnt seem to benefit the provinces that
came later, unfortunately. These percentages remain constant
in the different provinces during application.
The main major result is the reduction of serious accidents on
lifts in Austria. Before passing SNEL legislation, Austria had
1or 2 fatal user accident every year. Since the beginning of the
application the number of fatal accidents in Austria has fallen
to zero. The number of serious accidents has also dropped
significantly, especially in the Vienna region, which benefited
from an early start.
The progress status of the programme makes it that for the
provinces that start applying legislation for residential lifts,
high risks will be fully covered by 2018 and medium risks by
2023. For commercial & industrial building, most buildings
are covered at the beginning of 2013.


7. Survey of existing regulations

based on SNEL

7.5 Implementing in Spain

Some high risks on lifts were addressed early in Spain, in the
mid 80s with ITC-87 (Complementary Technical Instruction),
through progressive improvements (i.e. installation of car
doors) and to the end of the 90s with the draft MC RD 1314
(Royal Decree).
Let us also mention Royal Decree 2291/1985, November
8th, which ensures periodical maintenance visits and official
inspections by authorized companies and organisations.
The MIE-AEMI Order 1987 September 23 (Complementary
Technical Instruction) managed over a period of 10 years
(regional implementation) to cover a large proportion of
the known risks on lifts. It established monthly checks and
submitted lifts to Official Periodic Inspections (OPI) every 2
years for public buildings, every 4 years for housing blocks
of more than 4 apartments or more than 4 levels and 6 years
for other buildings. It is estimated that 33 % of the SNEL risks
were covered thanks to this regulation from the Ministry of
Industry and Energy, Aparatos de Elevacion y Manutencion
Eventually came the most important piece of legislation: Royal
Decree 57/2005, based on EN 81-80 (SNEL) and its filtering
method, to cover most risks on lifts. The Decree was published
on February 4th, 2005, with application from August 4th, 2005.

16 SNEL risks covering 23 hazardous situations were selected

with the following scheduling:
w 1) Improvements 1 to 11 had to be done one year after the

next official periodic inspection of each apparatus:

1. Pit installations: stopping device, lighting & energy
2. Car apron suitable to the pit depth up to 750 mm
3. Car doors & cabin positioning indicator
4. Emergency power for lighting & alarm
5. Protection means on sheaves & pulleys
6. Slack rope switch for governor rope
7. Slack rope or motor NO running detection device
8. Unlocked car zone detector in machine room
9. Independent starting contactors
10. Two-way communication emergency alarm device
11. Car roof balustrade when free distance is more
than 0,30 m
w 2) Improvements 12 to 16 had to be done at the moment of

the next major modification/improvement of the lift

12. Asbestos in brake (when changing brake)
13. Levelling accuracy (when changing driver)
14. Emergency operation system (when changing
hydraulic power unit)
15. Accessibility disabled & overload device on car
(when changing cabin)
16. Protection against overspeed in up direction (when
changing cabin)


ELA SNEL white paper April 2013

The periodic inspections by third parties in Spain are carried

out at intervals of 2, 4 and 6 years, according to the type of
building in which the lift is installed. The programme was
rapidly completed because one third of the SNEL risks had
already been dealt with in the 1980-90 years.
Appraisal of the programme: On the stock of nearly 1 million
existing lifts, it is estimated that 450 000 lifts were concerned,
having been installed before the application of Lifts Directive
95/16/EC and the introduction of the CE marking. Half the
lifts installed today are CE-marked. Spain installed before the
recent economic slump, some 40 000 new lifts every year. It
has now dwindled down to 10 000 units/year. The lift stock in
Spain is much younger than the stock of comparable countries
such as France or Italy, since the economic growth of Spain
happened later, starting in the 1960s. This explains for a great
deal the fact that the lift stock was modernized at a very rapid
pace compared to other countries. The fact that one third of
the SNEL risks had already been covered, prior to the 2005
legislation, also plays a role.
High and medium risks have been removed, on approximately
80 % of the lifts concerned and the low risks on about 50 % of
lifts, but the latter is very difficult to evaluate correctly.

ELA SNEL white paper April 2013

The level of compliance with the EN 81-80 requirements is

not yet fully satisfactory but it is estimated that half the lifts are
fully compliant with SNEL, through the different application
steps over time.

LEVEL OF COMPLIANCE with EN 81-80 requirements

Priority RD 57/2005

EN 81-80
(prior legislation covering
only 33 % of SNEL)


30 %

75-80 %


33 %

65-90 %

30 %

40-70 %

(before RD57-2005)

Discussions are now on-going with the ministry, for a second

version of SNEL for the next 10-15 years that would cover
some of the risks that have not been covered in the first piece
of legislation, dating back from 2005. The most important of
these risks not yet covered is probably the UCM (Uncontrolled
Movement) in up direction. The project was based on SNEL and
on the differences between EN 81-1/2 and prEN 81-20. The
economic recession in Spain, especially in the construction
sector, makes it that the authorities are not expected to legislate
in the near future.


7. Survey of existing regulations

based on SNEL

7.6 Implementing in other countries

Other member states have also published SNEL legislation,
such as Sweden, or were already covered by a very good
legislation in terms of safety (Luxemburg).
Other countries have published guidelines or recommendations
(Norway, United Kingdom) but did not go the whole way. In
these countries, it is up to industry to try and persuade building
owners to do the necessary works, if only to avoid the liabilities
involved in case of accident, when the victim takes the owner
to court.


ELA SNEL white paper April 2013

8. ELA SNEL Survey table

ELA has produced a map and survey table of the progress of SNEL in Europe. This document is made available by the European
Commission on the Commission CIRCA website, and regularly updated by ELA. The version is numbered and on the third page of the
document, the modifications introduced in this latest version are indicated. This is the best available tool to see at a glance the best
examples that can inspire countries where nothing has been obtained yet in terms of safety of existing lifts.

GREEN: This colour/grid means: standard EN 81-80 has been implemented through a
national law, including a defined position for the SNEL filtering (= defining the SNEL
risks to be covered, including a time-schedule)
YELLOW: This colour/grid means: national legislation or guidelines in preparation
RED: This colour/grid means: a rather slow progress or nothing has been undertaken
so far or no information received/available for the EN 81-80 implementation

ELA SNEL white paper April 2013


9. Best demonstrated practices

There are different opinions on the best path forward for the countries where nothing has happened yet, and the actions to take
depend on the specific situation of each member state. Has there been a prior refusal to legislate? Is the situation blocked in
Parliament? Has nothing been done yet? Etc...
Still, the best demonstrated practices, and the results obtained, which are visible for example in the French statistics collected before
the application of new legislation, and since the programme has been put in place and progresses, are very convincing and show that
fatal & serious accidents are much reduced if not fully eradicated on the existing lift stock, after safety upgrading.

9.1 France

9.3 Austria

Accidents have been dramatically reduced, both for users and

workers, since the beginning of the application of the French
SAE (SNEL) legislation. In 2011 the only fatal accident that took
place and killed a lift worker happened on a lift that had not
yet been modernized. A PowerPoint presentation is available,
presenting the results obtained in 2012 (see Members only
section of the ELA website and the public section General
Assemblies Warsaw 2012).

The programme described earlier implies that the risk

assessment on all its lifts has been completed in 2012. The
modernisation programme progresses in most provinces, with
the Vienna region (half the market being nearly completed).
Three provinces have not started the safety upgrading of lifts.
The Austrian association prepares a report on the impact of
the SNEL application on accidents occurring on the existing
lift stock. ELA will make the report available on its website as
soon as it is available. It is a good example of a SNEL safety
upgrading of the lift stock that functions at a relatively slow
rhythm; but effectively.

9.2 Germany
The Betriebssicherheitsverordnung application since 2002
has obtained very good results across Germany, through the
recommendation to owners issued by the notified bodies
during their periodical inspections. Still the German lift
industry, the TVs and the authorities realize that only the lifts
used by workers are covered (the great majority of lifts), but
also that some owners have not upgraded their lift, following
the report and recommendations based on SNEL, made by
the TVs. All stakeholders have agreed at the end of 2012, to
revisit the guideline and to try to obtain a complete coverage
of the existing lift stock in Germany in the coming years.


9.4 Spain
The programme described earlier has been completed in 2011
for the latest works resulting from inspections. The existing lift
stock is much younger in Spain than in comparable countries,
since the economic development came later. The works to be
done were therefore much lighter and easier to organize
than in other countries. The lift industry and the authorities are
discussing an extension of the programme to cover minor risks
that were not dealt with in the 2005 legislation.

ELA SNEL white paper April 2013

9.5 Belgium
The Belgian Royal Decree was postponed twice by subsequent
ministers, under intense lobbying by a group of residential
building owners. The heaviest risks were supposed to be
originally covered by January 1st, 2008, but it will only be
the case on January 1st, 2014; and the safety upgrading of
residential historical lifts is postponed until much later.
These only represent a small fraction of the installed stock of
lifts, so the bulk of the SNEL programme will be completed
by 2022. It can still be considered as a success even if the
successive ministers lacked the necessary resolve to apply an
indispensable legislation and postponed urgent decisions on
high risks for years.
The latest victim of the lack of car doors in Belgium is a student
who died at the end of 2011 in Huy. He was working at night
cleaning offices and was crushed against the wall of the car
by a large bin stuck on the wall; a typical accident that would
not have happened if decisions taken in 2004 for high risks
had been applied as initially decided in by the Royal Decree,
by 2008. The successive ministers in charge postponed twice
the application of the safety upgrading for high risks. The latest
decision in Belgium (December 2012) involves all stakeholders
and is firm, in terms of works to be done and of timing.

ELA SNEL white paper April 2013


10. Summary of other experiences

The best experiences were described earlier.
There are other examples of successful legislation or recommendations issued by the government, that have brought good results but
unfortunately partial results.

10.1 Norway

10.2 Sweden

A good example is Norway, with its new regulation launched

officially on May 30th, 2008 by the Norwegian Office of
Building Technology. The Technical regulation guidance
HO-2/2008 Endring og reparasjon av heis og rulletrapp
(Modifications & repair on elevators and escalators) has
become the basis document for the lift inspections carried out
on all lifts which are not CE-marked in the whole country. This
recommendation is dealing with the 27 highest risks defined
in SNEL. There are national adaptations proper to Norway,
such as the installation of light curtains instead of car doors.
Periodical inspections by the notified bodies, that must take
place every 2 years, will be based on the new SNEL-based
legislation in the building law. Inspectors have been duly
informed. They are independent but government controlled.

In Sweden, the legislation in place is not complete. The

legislation BFS 2006:26 H 10 dates from the autumn of 2006.
It is based on the ten points programme of Recommendation
216/95/EC. Most risks of SNEL are covered for Sweden, but
there are still some gaps that would need to be filled in a
revision of the legislation.

The lift owners in Norway have shown discipline in respecting

the recommendations made by the inspectors and the
existing lift stock is gradually being improved. It is clear
that this introduction of SNEL has had an influence on the
improvement of safety, through modernization and repair,
even if the accident statistics are not sufficiently developed
yet to give an indication on the importance of the reduction
of accidents & incidents. A great part of the lift stock has been
upgraded already.


10.3 Portugal
In Portugal, the government has accepted at the end of 2012 to
discuss an application of SNEL at the same time as it accepted
to integrate lifts & escalators in the transposition of the Energy
Performance of Buildings Directive. This late decision proves
that it is never too late to promote SNEL and obtain at least the
coverage of the highest risks by legislation.
Next to these very good or good experiences, there are many
European countries where nothing has been done at all or
nothing obtained by the lift industry to improve the safety of
the existing lift stock.

ELA SNEL white paper April 2013

10.4 UK & Ireland

10.5 Italy

In the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, no legislation

has been passed and the efforts of the lift industry to inform
lift owners of the dangers present on lifts, of the necessity to
improve lifts and of the liabilities owners would face in case
of accident, have only had a minimal impact. The accident
statistics have not been influenced.

In Italy, legislation was passed, but later cancelled. The

Italian lift association AssoAscensori, obtained very early in
the process (2005) that legislation was passed, promoting
SNEL. Decree DM 26.10 2005 on the Improvement of the
safety of existing lifts never received its application decree.
Another decree DM 16.01.2006 Rules for improvement of
safety of existing lifts: UNI EN 81-80 was not supported by an
application decree either.

There is still a lot to be done in many European countries. A

new approach and a renewed effort are needed.

Finally, an application decree was published and the

SNEL legislation was announced to the public: a Decreto
Ministeriale was signed on July 23rd, 2009 and confirmed in
the Gazzetta Ufficiale on August 17th, 2009. Unfortunately,
a few months later, following the appeal of the Italian
association of building owners (Confedelizia), a regional law
court, the TAR LAZIO court (Region of Rome), cancelled the
Decree, on the basis that it was not supported by an article
of the Constitution, as all these decrees must be. It was a
technicality, but the result is there and the published legislation
will probably never be applied. The Italian lift associations
AssoAscensori, ANACAM and ANICA (Components) clearly
understand the need to find another angle of approach. The
Italian lift stock (nearly 1 million lifts) is one of the largest in
Europe and is ageing, with serious and fatal accidents every
year, which indicate that something needs to be done to
organize the safety upgrading of the Italian lift stock.
The Italian example is probably one of the worst, especially
since the danger of accidents is high and legislation had been
passed, before being retracted.

ELA SNEL white paper April 2013


10. Summary of other experiences

10.6 Greece

10.7 The Netherlands

The Greek case is another difficult case, in the sense that the
Greek government adopted a SNEL legislation, defining some
20 risks that need to be covered, but the new legislation,
though voted and published is not applied in practice.

The Netherlands is another case where public management has

been poor. The Dutch administration shas for years declared
that there were more accidents on the road and that lift safety
could not be a priority, since lifts are already very safe.
The Dutch Ministry informed the Dutch Lift Association
VLR by letter (dated 15.04.2005) that there was no need
to go ahead with a National SNEL filtering approach and
SNEL implementation. The result is that 9 out of the basic
10 recommendations (95/216/EC) made by the European
Commission in 1995 are NOT at all taken into account. Only
the recommendation regarding asbestos is implemented. All
other recommendations relate to safety of the use (car doors,
stopping accuracy, alarm, etc.) and are not implemented in
any kind of legislation in the Netherlands.
By chance no fatal accident happened since in the
Netherlands but the first ones to happen will clearly be due
to a lack of legislation and the refusal of the Dutch authorities
to legislate in any way. The Dutch lift association wants to
alert the public, the Members of the Dutch Parliament and the
consumer associations of the increasingly dangerous situation
of existing lifts in the country.


ELA SNEL white paper April 2013

11. A national SNEL legislation?

Pros & Cons
Why should a country legislate in order to improve the safety of the existing stock of lifts?
What are the key Pros and Contras arguments in a nutshell?
Here are the most important:

11.1 Pros

11.2 Cons

(What are the reasons why a country does not legislate)

w Higher safety for the lift user;

w Low awareness about the safety of lifts;

w Decreasing number of accidents;

w Reluctance to invest in lift safety if no legal obligation;

w Evaluation of the lift;

w High modernization costs;

w Increase in value of the building;

w Investments show no immediate improvement of lift safety;

w Higher safety for the maintenance persons during inspection,

w Ratio balancing: higher safety = higher costs (willingness to

(Why is a legislation needed and introduced)

maintenance and /or repair;

w Legal requirement is a framework for modernization;

do a little but no major work);

w Readiness for modernization increases only after accidents.

w Lifts technology according to the state of the art

(Best Available Technology BAT).

ELA SNEL white paper April 2013


12. Recommendations to progress

on SNEL for countries

that still need to work on it
12.1 General
It is regrettable that the European Commission limits itself to a
single recommendation to improve the safety of the exiting lifts
in Europe. The recommendation should be further developed
and the SNEL requirements converted in a European regulation,
not a Directive. The European Recommendation 95/216/EC
clearly refers to EN 81-80 (SNEL) as the standard supporting
its application, but the European Commission only legislates
for the present situation and the future; the national authorities
keep the responsibility for the safety of the existing stock of
lifts, based on their differing national legislation.
For the countries where nothing much has happened to
upgrade the safety of lifts installed prior to the introduction of
the Lifts Directive (1995) or where the process has stalled, a
fresh approach is needed. Here are a few recommendations to
make a new successful start:
The application of best practices in Europe is the best option.
ELA recommends to carefully analyze the soft approach in
Germany or the full French approach and then to decide
how the association will start re-awakening the topic for its
own country. Use of the experience of countries with existing
regulations to define a new approach for countries that still
need to work on SNEL means a major effort at communicating
with the public and the national authorities, via the press, the
social media and other means.
It is in any case interesting to put one person in charge at the
association level, clearly in charge, and it might be useful to
hire a consultant that can be paid a success fee for part of his/
her work. An external consultant will relentlessly come back,
pushing for progress, while internally, there are always plenty
of other things to do and to drown the best of resolutions.
Financing a study on the recurring serious accidents and near
misses in the country and their impact is another way of relaunching the process.


Accident statistics are vital for any lobbying effort on the

issue of safety. ELA is ready to help, but the last fatal and
serious accidents in the country must be listed, with all
suitable information on each case, and the linkage with SNEL
made clear. Documents can then be prepared, illustrated by
drawings, to lobby the authorities effectively. How much is
one life worth? The association must be ready, in case of a
heavy accident, to communicate on the topic and to link it
with one of the SNEL risks. A lack of car door has killed in
Heilbronn Germany as late as December 11th, 2012. The
countries that have applied SNEL dont have or shouldnt have
lifts without car doors. A huge difference in terms of safety!
Press conferences, Visits organized abroad, to one of the
countries where SNEL is well applied, with a programme of
meetings of the political deciders in the visited country and
visits of upgraded installations, might help. Politicians, civil
servants and other deciders can form a delegation that is
carefully coached by the association.
The detailed explanation of individual accidents (age of victim,
job, family data, circumstances of the accident,) taken as
worst examples of accident in other countries, illustrated of
course, can also be an approach that makes the reasons to
legislate clearer to the national deciders.
Other organizations should be on the same wavelength and
could be persuaded to support a national SNEL application:
w Trade unions defend jobs: mechanics jobs for modernization

are highly skilled and cannot be delocalized. The countries

where SNEL has been systematically applied have created
long-term jobs in the modernization sector;
w Consumer associations and disabled organizations should

be supportive of an improved and safer environment for all


ELA SNEL white paper April 2013

12.2 Arguments & recommendations

w The average life time of a lift is 10 times higher than other

means of transport such as a car or a plane;

w The safety on existing lifts corresponds to the safety rules

and technology at that time of their installation;

w According to the accident statistics analysis the following

points should be pushed as primary (minimal) targets:

w Stopping accuracy / levelling accuracy;
w Protection device for automatic doors to minimize risk of

injury when the door is closing;

w Protection device against unintended car movement (UCM);
w Partial or full modernization? Environmental aspects,

energy consumption and accessibility have to be taken into

w National events must be conducted in order to discuss

experiences of other countries in the implementation of

w Accident analysis for raising awareness of the owners,

standardization bodies, and legislator;


w Collection of additional information from notified bodies

about final inspection, periodic inspections and the

implementation of safety related evaluation of lifts
w A press campaign on safety on lifts is welcome for raising

general awareness in the public.

ELA SNEL white paper April 2013


13. Outside of Europe implementation

Outside of Europe the portfolio of existing lifts is also getting
old and the gap in the level of safety between new lifts and
existing ones is beginning to increase at a large scale.
Countries like Australia or Hong Kong have adopted the
methodology set up in SNEL standard for improving the safety
of existing lifts within their respective portfolios.
This led ISO TC 178 in charge of standardisation for safety
on lifts, escalators and moving walks to take a resolution in
2007, for preparing a Technical Report, as a first step before a
possible standard be published, in order to:

Share European & other experiences on modernisation for improving safety of existing lifts, and


a recommendation about how to improve

safety on existing lifts.

In a second step, another resolution was taken to publish a

technical specification based on the methodology stated in the
European standard EN 81-80
At the ISO TC 178 Plenary meeting of 2011, a new resolution
had been taken to skip directly to drafting a standard, still
based upon the methodology for improving safety stated in
EN 81-80, and not any longer a Technical Specification. This
shows the strong will of countries such as China, Hong Kong,
Japan, and Australia to upgrade the level of safety of their
lifts portfolio and the benefit they can get from the European


ELA SNEL white paper April 2013

14. ELA Supporting documents

w SNEL Brochure 04 2013
w SNEL Guideline part 1
w SNEL Guideline Part 2
w Lift Safety for Users - 10 recommendations 2001
w A list of available PowerPoint presentations
SNEL Implementation: pilot checklist
w SNEL Implementation Q&As
w SNEL Brochure Recommendation 95/216/EC

15. Documents available

on the ELA website (public section)
The following documents are available at:

15.1 France
w Presentation
by J.L. Detavernier (French Federation France) 2012

Power Point

15.2 Spain
w Presentation
by I. Aranburu (FEEDA Spain) 2012

Power Point

15.3 SNEL Forum

w Documents (2004)

ELA SNEL white paper April 2013


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