Platforms lifts and how they benefit people
Platform lifts allow a platform to rise up and down and are often installed in homes to provide independence. These lifts can also be both indoors and outdoors and offer access in buildings where passenger lifts cannot be installed.
Platform lifts fall under the Machinery Directive, which means they travel at 0.15 m/s or less. Their slow speed means that they are used in low-rise buildings. Platform lifts are cost-effective and easy to install, and are popular as disabled lifts.
 Types of platform lifts
 Step lift (or low rise vertical platform lift)
 Inclined stair lift
The inclined stair lift refers to a level platform secured to a diagonal rail on a staircase. The aim of this lift is to carry a wheelchair and travel from the ground level to an upper one, leaving the steps clear. These lifts are available in many different design options, so they can be installed virtually anywhere, including offices and homes. They can be placed in straight or curved staircases with several landings or turns.
 Vertical platform lift
These types of lifts are typically self-supporting structures secured to a wall. They are versatile, so they can be customised to existing designs or aesthetics. They can also be enclosed, allowing passengers to travel up and down a tube.
Platform lifts are commonly used to improve access to a building or level, so they are an asset for anyone living with a disability. However, there are many more uses of these types of lifts, including:
- The transport of people with physical disabilities who find it difficult or impossible to use stairs. This includes people with limited mobility or visually impaired.
- The ability for people with injuries to have access to different levels. For example, transporting an injured person down a flight of stairs can be a challenging or impossible task, whereas platform lifts grant easy access to medical personnel, equipment and people that need medical attention or have been injured.
- Families with children, pushchairs or prams can benefit from a platform lift. Carrying these items down a staircase can be dangerous or cumbersome, which is where a lift is handy.
- Moving goods and merchandise, especially if it weighs more than what can be comfortably carried by hand, is easy with a platform lift. They also offer safety, as it’s easier to control health and safety risks when the heavy goods are transported with a machine.
- Efficiency: A platform lift can carry a lot of weight while retaining its speed and safety. They are also energy-efficient, as they don’t consume large amounts of energy.
- Safety: Platform lifts are significantly safer than staircases when it comes to transporting people between floors. Also, a person in a wheelchair doesn’t need to leave it in order to use the lift.
- Independence: A platform lift can help people to remain independent in their own homes, as it allows easy access to different levels of the home.
- Confidence: Being confident is another benefit of platform lifts, as they provide safety and stability when on the move; and their features protect users from accidents and injuries.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- A Brief History of Lifts Over the Years.
- Considerations When Installing a Residential Lift.
- Disabled access lifts
- Different Types of Lift Doors
- How to Install a Stairlift
- Lifting platform.
- Low Pit Lifts.
- The importance of service lifts.
- The science of lifts.
- The world's fastest lifts.
- Wheelchair platform stairlifts.
--Nathan Massey 10:13, 05 Jul 2017 (BST)
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