To learn more about the new EN 81-40:2020 stairlift regulations launched in April, we spoke to Andrew Warbrick, Managing Director of Access BDD, one of the UK’s leading suppliers of stairlifts, platform lifts, and home lifts.
What are the main changes that Occupational Therapists should be aware of with the new regulations?
EN 81-40:2020 came into force for the European stairlift industry in April, replacing EN 81-40:2008.Within the new regulations there are four main features which every new straight and curved stairlift must have and these are:
- Interlocking arms
- Separate emergency stop button
- Seatbelt detection system
- 2-way voice communication device
What impact has the new regulations had on Access BDD?
As a supplier, the biggest impact has been on the accelerated development of our products. For example, we recently launched our new straight stairlift, the HomeGlide, which is fully compliant, now all our products meet the new regulations. As a company we are strongly focused on being a market leader in both technology and safety, so we were already very aligned in our strategy to comply with the requirements of the regulations. We have retrained our technical and sales staff to ensure they understand the new regulations and how they affect our products. It’s early days, but certainly we see the new regulations very positively. We are all about improving safety, so we have welcomed them.
What impact do you think the new regulations will have on partners and end users?
Time will tell. For end users there may be some cost implications, but these of course are balanced by a greater level of reassurance on the safety of stairlifts. I think the extra features of the lifts will require a little more explanation from our partners when they sell the lift and then provide the final handover to the user, but I don’t see this being an obstacle. For some there has been some confusion on how to correctly interpret the regulations, but I am confident this will become clear in time. The regulations were designed with the users’ safety and wellbeing in mind, so the impact has to be positive.
Do you think all the new regulations will have a positive impact?
They are there to improve safety, so as long as people understand the spirit of this, it can only be a good thing. It remains to be seen whether everyone will do their best to comply. We certainly are, and I think if all the leading stairlifts suppliers do their part, it will set the scene for the market in general, and all will follow suit.
Is there anything you feel could have been added to the new regulations?
We have often thought about the need for some kind of qualification or method of assessment for people who are selling stairlifts, to ensure they correctly assess the end user and situation, so the best solution is provided with the safety and comfort of the end user in mind. Whether the best place for this is in EN 81-40 is open to debate, but I think it’s an area that deserves more attention.
A final word
We believe in using the latest state-of-the-art technology to help people to continue living safely and independently in their home while also providing peace of mind to family members. We are very committed to investing in the research and future product development of new stairlifts and access solutions, so watch this space!