The Prime Minister’s statement on 23 March included:
That is why people will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes:…….travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.
Full guidance on staying at home and away from others supported this with:
You should only leave the house for one of four reasons……..
- Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.
And also restated earlier guidance:
If you work in a critical sector outlined in this guidance, or your child has been identified as vulnerable, you can continue to take your children to school.
Lift and Escalator Industry Association (LEIA) position
LEIA members are committed to working to government instructions and guidance on controlling the spread of COVID-19. Many in our industry perform essential work on sites, critical to the COVID-19 response, to keep equipment and users safe, and in support of site work with parts and equipment. They therefore need to leave their homes to carry out this work and so fall into the category of “but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home”.
Employers and employees will need to assess whether their work is absolutely necessary and have set out below our guidance on what might be considered essential work requiring people to leave home.
Lifts, escalators and moving walks, lifting platforms and stairlifts remaining in service in critical locations
The HSE has re-affirmed that equipment which is kept in service as part of the operation of buildings must continue to be maintained and have Thoroughly Examinations when these become due. Thorough Examination and maintenance is therefore considered to be essential along with attending breakdowns and trap-ins.
It is for the building owner/manager/responsible person to confirm that they have assessed their equipment and that it is essential for it to remain in operation. The owner should also confirm the measures they have in place to control COVID-19 and protect personnel such as maintenance staff. Examples of such situations where equipment might be required to stay in service in critical buildings and infrastructure include:
- Hospitals and health care facilities – especially theatre lifts, bed-passenger lifts and lifts for users with impaired mobility.
- Other buildings associated with critical facilities such as utilities, infrastructure, transport, food production and distribution, retailing, critical manufacture, banks
- Transport infrastructure such as on TfL, rail stations, airports remaining open.
- High-rise residential buildings and other where lifts are essential for access to and from apartments.
- Buildings where lifts are required as part of fire safety – especially including evacuation lifts and lifts for the use by firefighters.
- Schools and educational buildings staying open for children of key workers and vulnerable children. Many of these have lifting equipment which is essential for users with impaired mobility.
- Care homes and nursing homes.
- Domestic buildings with homelifts, lifting platforms and stairlifts which are essential to users as section 4 of the Governments guidance on staying at home and away from others
The supply and installation of homelifts, lifting platforms and stairlifts where required to from hospital is also essential.
- Other buildings where there is equipment which the owner and maintenance contractor have assessed as essential to the occupants or the operation of the building.
For these locations and equipment remaining in service, essential work includes:
- Thorough Examination of lifting equipment according to HSE guidance
- Rectifying defects raised from Thorough Examinations and carrying out Supplementary Tests called for from Thorough Examinations.
- Maintenance work essential for safety of this equipment
- Attending to breakdowns and trap-in to release trapped passengers
- Supply of parts and materials needed to repair equipment and to keep equipment running safely.
Lifts, escalators and moving walks, lifting platforms and stairlifts not remaining in service
For equipment in buildings that are operating at a reduced level of activity and with fewer occupants, this period might present an opportunity to have maintenance and Thorough Examination carried out according to HSE guidance and Government guidelines.
Where building owners wish to remove equipment from service, please refer to our earlier guidance on the decommissioning of lifts. Similar guidance applies similarly to escalators and moving walks, lifting platforms and stairlifts. Equipment which has been taken out of service can still deteriorate and some safety hazards remain. A minimum level of “caretaker” maintenance should be put in place and Through Examination (where applicable) should also be carried to keep equipment safe.
There are other reasons why at least a basic minimum level of maintenance is needed including avoiding potential problems and additional work involved with the later recommissioning of equipment.