Poland: How is the modernisation proceeding?
The Polish lift market is now not only looking back on a record year 2015 in economic terms, but can also point to the positive effects overall of the technical modernisation within the industry since the EU accession of the country in 2004. But what about the safety of the older lifts?
Tadeusz Popielas, managing director of the Polish Association of Lift Manufacturers (PALM), confirmed that the market in Poland currently possesses immense innovation potential. However, how best to guarantee the safety of already old lifts is disputed.
Observance of EU standards in Polish lifts is now part of the safety standard, according to Paweł Rajewski, department manager for means of transport at the Polish Office for Technical Monitoring (UDT). This was good, but not enough, emphasised Popielas, and called for faster and legally regulated modernisation of Poland’s lifts.
Regular conduct of technical checks
Today about 123,000 passenger lifts, passenger and cargo and pure cargo lifts are in use in Poland. All questions regarding lift maintenance are regulated by a law on technical inspections and a series of implementation ordinances. The regulations include measures for technical personnel intended to ensure the safety of machinery and lifts.
The focus here is on the regular conduct of technical checks. All lifts are inspected at regular intervals by trained technical experts. Paweł Rajewski is convinced that more legal regulation is not required. Moreover, in observing safety standards Poland orients itself to several EU regulatory guidelines. In this way obsolete lifts are being taken out of operation with increasing frequency and new lifts built that comply with current regulations.
Weak points being uncovered early
The regular prescribed checks are leading to weak points being uncovered early on as well as potential technical risks. If technical defects are uncovered in the course of checks, the lifts have to be renovated or if necessary replaced. "Overall, one can say that the safety standard of lifts in operation in Poland is on the same level as other European countries,” according to the expert. Nevertheless, it was necessary to take additional steps towards modernisation in order to minimise accidents and shutdowns.
For the first time in a long while there were once again fatal accidents involving the use of lifts in 2015. These accidents occurred with lifts installed before 1992, which did not meet the conditions of the PN-EN 81.1/2 standard. There are still 30,000 lifts in Poland built between 1970 and 1990, which do not meet this standard. "These lifts are admittedly checked at regular intervals, but what they urgently need is comprehensive modernisation,” recommended Tadeusz Popielas.
4th Euro-Lift from 18 to 20 October
"Since 2015 there has been a training programme in Poland for a new profession, on our recommendation,” he explained. "Technician for lift equipment.” The profession can be learnt in a four-year course at vocational training colleges. There were now ten vocational training colleges providing this training throughout Poland, but that was only the beginning, according to the expert.
"We have already repeatedly submitted proposals for legal regulation of the modernisation of old lifts to the Polish ministry of the economy,” Popielas revealed, "but so far nothing has come of it.” In the meantime the modernisation of old lifts is proceeding very slowly. If it went on at the previous pace, it would take 20 years for the process to be concluded. "In my view, this would be intolerable.”"
From 18 to 20 October the 4th Euro-Lift, the international fair of the lift industry, will take place in Kielce in central Poland. The B2B trade fair takes place every two years and is the only meeting of its kind in central and Eastern Europe. The Polish Association of Lift Manufacturers (PALM) is one of the co-organisers of the event.
Marc Ziegler, Arndt Mediendienste Darmstadt