Stair Lifts

How Safe Are Stair Lifts?

Those considering buying a stairlift are essentially looking for a way to ease their current life and gain peace of mind. The question whether stairlifts are safe is quite an easy one to answer. Stairlifts are definitely safe. All modern stairlifts must adhere to strict safety specifications and have various built-in features. These features include:

1) Safety sensor bars that are able to detect any obstructions in the stairlift’s path and bring the lift to a slow stop.┬áThese are normally located around the footrest area, so even lower objects are detected.

2) Local and locale on/off switch that prevents unnecessary use of the stairlift

3) All stairlifts must feature dual electrical and mechanical braking devices

In addition to these features, if you have a curved stairlift, you will probably notice that when it reaches turns in the staircase, the lift will gradually slow down. This is the self-levelling mechanism at work and it means that the stairlift will keep it’s balance so that you don’t tip off. It also reduces any stress places on the curved areas of the rail system.

Stairlifts should also include a swivel seat that will lock when you have reached the end of the stairs. This swivel seat means dismounting is much easier and the locking mechanism is used as a barrier to stop you from falling down the stairs if you were to lose your balance. It’s an essential safety feature and is primarily designed for when you reach the top of the stairs.

The British Standards Institution provides codes of practices and technical specifications that must be used by stairlift manufacturers in Europe. Some examples of specifications used include:

  • SME A17.1 – 1990, Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators
  • ASME A18.1 – 2005 Safety Standard for Platform Lifts and Stairway Chairlifts

A more up-to-date version is the BS EN 81-40: 2008 –┬áSafety rules for the construction and installation of lifts.

All in all, the safety features required in modern stairlifts are strict and thoroughly thought out. When buying from a licensed and reputable stairlift company such as Stannah, Acorn or Companion there really is no need to worry – all their product ranges adhere to these rules and are definitely very safe.

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