European Lift Association (ELA) COVID-19 Statement

The safety of the public when using lifts and safety of all lift technicians who maintain and service equipment are the highest priorities for ELA and its national association members.

Lifts are essential for providing movement around any building, especially residential developments and medical facilities. This is crucial, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, in areas where residents have their movement restricted beyond a few weeks, or when hospitals become crowded. Lifts play a vital role in making sure people can carry out essential activities such as shopping for essential items or when receiving deliveries. This is particularly important for the elderly and disabled. Furthermore, critical patient care and movement is another obvious area where lifts have a life-saving role.

Medical and emergency services personnel also need fully-functioning lifts, in order to reach tenants and carry out their work safely and efficiently. A lift is critical in any of these situations, and becomes paramount during a widespread virus outbreak, such as we see today.

In addition, lifts are crucial for business continuity in places like distribution centers, or areas of mass-transit and public infrastructure. These are complex areas where essential goods need to be moved, food and supplies need to be delivered and critical healthcare providers need to commute to work.

A lift which is inadequately maintained presents risks to person using it or people who are in the building where it is situated. Therefore, providing adequate maintenance is absolutely fundamental to keep lifts safe and operational. In today’s circumstances, with people increasingly working from home, many stores, businesses and schools are closed, while residential lifts are being used more than normally. This increases the need for regular maintenance. Therefore, performing ongoing preventative maintenance and other services, such as responding to call-outs to re-start lifts and to rescue trapped users from lifts which have stopped working, is necessary. This is needed even when the usage of office, retail and hotel lifts are reduced because of a slowdown, or because of a closure of the operations.

National association member companies have provided education and training for technicians concerning their health and wellbeing and ways to mitigate risks during the coronavirus pandemic. The member companies have provided appropriate protective equipment and instruction, including how to follow measures introduced by government authorities such as “social distancing”. The industry is committed to prioritizing the health and safety of the public while conducting this essential work in the safest and most efficient manner possible.

For escalators, the ELA shares similar concerns regarding the readiness for operation and having equipment in service. Escalators are essential for people transportation, particularly at mass-transit hubs or at public transport facilities.

In light of the recent recommendations and other strict policies to limit non-essential activities and/or services, the ELA and its national member associations formally request that the relevant national authority in each country consider the maintenance of lifts as “critical activity” or “essential service” thereby not restricting the movement of lift maintenance technicians in the cities and across the country.

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