New regulations came into force in April this year for the UK stairlift industry, prioritising safety for users. Several changes have come into effect and OTs should be aware of what these are to ensure they can confidently advise their clients when exploring stairlift options.
There are four main regulations that you need to be aware of, and these should be implemented on all new straight or curved stairlifts:
Interlocking arms These provide extra safety for the user as they secure in place for the journey
Separate emergency stop button This ensures users can stop the stairlift at any point if they are in distress
Seatbelt detection system This detection system will not allow the stairlift to move if the seatbelt is not done up
2-Way voice communication device This will ensure that if a user is stuck or in distress while on the stairlift they can contact someone for help
Rick Bennett, Northern European business manager for Access BDD, one of the UK’s leading suppliers of stairlifts shares more about the changes that have come into practice and how these will affect the industry and the end user.
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 as 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 got to be positive.
How do you think the new regulations will affect the stairlift industry in general?
I sincerely hope that everyone will take the regulations seriously; we at Access certainly have. I think it would be very unfortunate if others try to circumvent the guidelines because at the end of the day they are there for safety reasons.
Do you think all the new regulations will have a positive impact?
Yes of course. 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 also do their part, it will set the scene for the market in general, and all will follow suit.
Have you had any feedback from partners about the new regulations?
Some have expressed confusion on how to interpret the regulations and in turn concern about the responsibility this puts on them. However, I think from most the feedback has been very positive, and I certainly think everyone agrees that anything designed to improve the safety of the user is a good thing.
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.
What impact have the new regulations had on Access BDD?
For us as a supplier the most important impact has been on the accelerated development of our products. For example, we have just launched our new straight stairlift, the HomeGlide, which is fully compliant. All our products are now fully compliant with 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.
Here at Access BDD, we believe in exploiting 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!
Visit AccessBDD.com for more information.