WRITTEN QUESTION No. 573/98 by Fernand HERMAN to the Commission. Commission Recommendation of 8 June 1995 concerning improvement of safety of existing lifts (95/216/ EC)

Official Journal C 310 , 09/10/1998 P. 0093

WRITTEN QUESTION E-0573/98 by Fernand Herman (PPE) to the Commission (4 March 1998)

Subject: Commission Recommendation of 8 June 1995 concerning improvement of safety of existing lifts (95/216/EC)

In 1995, when Parliament considered the proposal for a directive on lifts, which laid down the essential safety requirements for new lifts installed in the Member States, it made it clear that its approval was subject to action on the part of the Commission to improve the safety of existing lifts.

The Commission thus issued Recommendation 95/216/EC ((OJ L 134, 20.6.1995, p. 37. ))and the Directive on lifts (95/16/EC ((OJ L 213, 7.9.1995, p. 1. ))), published soon after, mentioned the implementation of the Recommendation in its recitals. We note, more than two years after its publication, that most of the Member States have not yet really taken the improvements envisaged in the Recommendation into account in their regulations.

Although the implementation of the Directive will guarantee a proper standard of safety for those who use the 50 000 lifts installed each year, the same cannot unfortunately be said for the millions of people who each day use one of the 3 million lifts already installed. Serious, often fatal accidents will continue to occur during the decade or so needed to renew all existing lifts.

Furthermore, the man hours needed to carry out the safety improvements would make a substantial contribution to employment in this sector. No fewer than 30 000 new jobs, spread over 5 years, could be created in the Union in this way.

What does the Commission intend to do to ensure that the Member States give Recommendation 95/216/EC as much priority as the Directive on new lifts and hence that the wishes of the European Parliament are respected?

Answer given by Mr Bangemann on behalf of the Commission (2 April 1998)

The Commission agrees entirely with the Honourable Member and is fully aware of the importance of making existing lifts safer.

European Parliament and Council Directive 95/16/EC on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to lifts ((OJ L 213, 7.9.1995. )) has made a considerable contribution towards health and safety by ensuring a high level of safety for new lifts brought into service in the Community.

In addition, the Commission has adopted Recommendation 95/216/EC ((OJ L 134, 20.6.1995. )), which recommends action to make existing lifts safer, based on the principles set out in the Annex. Quite aside from the safety issue, application of the Recommendation ought to create a large number of specialist jobs.

The Commission felt the Member States should be given time to set up an action plan to implement the relevant measures. Three years have passed since the Recommendation was adopted and the Commission now intends to ask the Member States what action they have already taken, and with what results in terms of safety and employment, and what action they still intend to undertake. This will provide an overall picture of the current state of affairs in the Community.

The Commission would also draw the Honourable Member's attention to the provisions of Directive 89/655/EEC on the use of work equipment by workers at work ((OJ L 393, 30.12.1989. )), as amended by Directive 95/63/EC ((OJ L 335, 30.12.1995. )). Point 3.2.4 of Annex 1 to the Directive includes several minimum requirements to be met by 5 December 2002 at the latest in all workplaces and which will ensure that lifts and goods lifts used by workers are sufficiently safe.