SNEL, the safety norm for existing lifts (EN81-80)

This is an essential norm, for the upgrading of the existing stock of lifts in Europe, and harmonizing de facto  the safety of existing lifts.
The industry is in full agreeemnt on this, through its different associations. ELCA supports the improvement of the lift stock in Europe, which is the oldest in the world.

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 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)
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 regulations.
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 maintenance and repairs are a necessary ongoing process.

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 a powerful 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 serves as a benchmark and an example to other countries inside and outside pf Europe.
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 pro-active 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 chapters 1.3 and following).

European Recommendation 295/16/EC
This was the first effort done to modernize the existing lift stock in Europe, in 1995, at the same time as the Lifts directive was published.
When the European Commission produced the Lifts Directive 95/16/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 and its partners, 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 safe, 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 all risks that lifts could pose. The Committee under the chairmanship of Michael Savage 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:

European directives


- EPBD directive 2010/31/EU EN - FR

- Lifts 95/16/EC

- Machinery 2006/42/EC EN - FR