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15,000 lifts could injure or kill

A body representing the lift industry has raised the alarm over France’s ageing lifts

AROUND 15,000 French lifts could kill or injure users, according to the Fédération des Ascenseurs (FA), which represents businesses in the lift industry.

Urgent upgrades – such as making sure doors are safe – were supposed to have been made by the end of 2010, but 8% of lifts are still illegal, the FA says. It says 15,000 present risks of serious accidents or death.

The FA says overall French lifts are the oldest in Europe, with half more than 25 years old and a quarter more than 40 years old.

It published figures on progress to meet legal deadlines in advance of the next deadline on July 2013.

By this date alarms should have been installed in all lifts to help anyone trapped. At the moment only 58% of lifts are equipped and lift industry professionals say orders for alarms have tailed off.

Nonetheless the FA says security has been improving. Accidents are down (250 last year) and, since 2000, fatal ones have been cut by two-thirds. There have been 11 deaths in accidents since 2006.

Not respecting the law on lift safety can mean a €450 fine for homeowners and €2,250 for syndics (management bodies of flats). It can potentially also lead to civil or criminal action for putting people’s lives at risk.

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