SBS position on ISO 8100-20, Lifts for the transport of persons and goods – Part 20: Global essential safety requirements (GESRs)

SBS position on ISO 8100-20, Lifts for the transport of persons and goods – Part 20: Global essential safety requirements (GESRs)


The interest in preparing non-prescriptive and performance-based standards that have global relevance started in ISO more or less at the time when the text of the European Lifts Directive 95/16/EC was being prepared within the European Commission. The idea was that such standards would be suitable for implementation throughout the whole world without any need for local deviations.

In trying to copy the Essential Health and Safety Requirements of the Lifts Directive, ISO TC178 developed a Technical Specification, TS 22559-1, Safety requirements for lifts (elevators) – Part 1: Global Essential Safety Requirements for lifts (GESRs). In this document, by making use of the procedures for risk assessment and risk reduction, new wording, often more appropriate, was proposed for most of the Essential Health and Safety Requirements (EHSR) of Annex 1 of the Lifts Directive. This means, though, that there are some technical differences between the GESRs of the ISO document and the EHSR of the Lifts Directive. The former Technical Specification had been converted into an ISO standard, now ISO 8100- 20, although ISO rules require to revise it.

In addition, no GESRs were proposed to match those indicated in the Annex 1 of the EU’s Machinery Directive, although the satisfaction of these, for lifts, is clearly made mandatory by reference to them from Annex 1 of the Lifts Directive. This was a major drawback of the Technical Specification and will also be a limitation of the new ISO standard. In particular, it will mean that lifts complying with the standard will not fully comply with the EHSR of the Lifts Directive.

The objective of the development of standards within ISO was to have “one global set of standards for lifts” which could be used as identical national standards worldwide, thereby:

1. improving global harmonization of technical requirements,
2. improving the efficiency of the industry and of all the stakeholders involved.


To a large extent this objective has been achieved or will be achieved soon. In particular, two new ISO standards, ISO 8100-1 and ISO 8100-2 will be identical to the two relatively new European Standards EN 81-20 and EN 81-50, the two harmonised standards on which the compliance of lifts with the provisions of the Lifts Directive is based. To complete the full harmonisation of lift requirements through the world, all that it is needed is for ISO TC178 to revise this new standard ISO 8100-20 as soon as possible.

Specific comments and recommendations

For these reasons, SBS proposes that:

SBS members support the substantial work already undertaken, both within CEN TC10 and ISO TC178, and recognise the benefits of this in terms of establishing world-wide safety requirements for lifts.

SBS members call on ISO TC178 to modify the standard ISO 8100-20 so that it fully allows for the compliance of lifts with the current Essential Health and Safety Requirements of the EU’s Lifts Directive and Machinery Directive for lifts within the EU.

SBS members call on ISO TC178 to fully implement, for ISO 8100-20, the ISO provisions for the drafting of Global Relevance standards.

SBS members support the idea that, at an appropriate point in the future, the ISO standard ISO 8100-20 and the Essential Requirements of the Lifts Directive are fully aligned.

Update on the 6th February 2019

Further to the preparation of this position paper, other actions were taken, among which it is worth mentioning the article1 on this subject written by the Secretary General of EFESME and SBS Representative, Mr Luciano Faletto, in view of possible presentation at the IESS Symposium, which took place on the 15th and 16th November 2018, in Istanbul.

The attendance was impressed by the comments and the proposals made by Mr Faletto, so much that it was planned to bring the essential parts of this presentation at one of the incoming meetings of the ISO TC178 Working Groups involved in the development of the standard ISO 8100-20. We are glad to inform that the outcome of the debate sparked on this subject at the latest ISO TC178 WG 4 TFC led to a preliminary agreement that, at the next revision of such standard, the proposals drafted by the SBS representative, highlighted since the very beginning in this SBS positon paper, would be suitably taken into account.

Further information on the subjects raised in this document can be obtained from the SBS Secretariat at

1 The article, “A New Approach necessary to keep all new lifts safe and reliable”, in question was proposed in June 2018 to the IEES Symposium in Istanbul. The document was considered of interest to the participants, and was subsequently included in the presentations, and in the documents made available to them.


Views and opinions expressed are those of Small Business Standards (SBS) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or EFTA. Neither the European Union nor EFTA can be held responsible for them.