What is EN:81-28?

EN:81-28, full title ‘Safety rules for the construction and installation of lifts – Lifts for the transport of persons and goods Part 28: Remote alarm on passenger and goods passenger lifts’, is a designated European Standard which came into effect in 2003. It focuses on how alarm equipment in lifts should function improving the safety for people trapped in a lift car due to a failure.

In 2018 the standard was reviewed, and updates were made to some of the requirements to increase passenger safety and the right to privacy.

Who may need to use the alarm?

An alarm activation point is required wherever there is a risk of someone being trapped in or by the lift. This not only involves passengers within the car but can also affect lift engineers when they are positioned on the top of the lift car, in the pit (the base of the lift shaft underneath the lift), or even in the lift motor room itself – depending on how the motor room is accessed.

Battery requirements

The standard mandates that the emergency communications equipment has enough power backup so that it can last up to 1 hour on standby with a minimum of 15 minutes of talk time*, in the event of a power failure.

*AVIRE, recommends doubling this time for increased passenger security.

3-day test calls

A test call is required minimum every 3 days to ensure the alarm system is in working order and any faults can be detected and fixed quickly, to reduce the risk of malfunctions preventing the system from operating when the passengers are in the lift.

The test call is initiated by the alarm equipment in the lift which dials into a “receiver” (typically a software platform) that records the test call. During this call, the autodialler will provide information on the:

  • speaker (is it able to emit a signal?)
  • microphone (can it capture the emitted signal?)
  • battery status (Is the unit running on battery? Is the battery charging?)

By placing the test call the alarm equipment also tests the phone line (Does it work? Is it able to communicate with the receiver?).

A record of the test calls is kept by the receiver to show compliance to the standard and that all the required steps were regularly fulfilled to ensure passenger security. In the event of a lawsuit, these records may be requested.


The emergency alarm system should also include illuminated symbols which allow hearing impaired passengers to understand the status of their alarm call.

The pictograms required, and functionality are as follow:

  • Yellow bell that goes on when the alarm goes on and a call is either in process of dialling or has effectively been placed
  • Green profile speaking that signifies a call has been answered
  • Both pictograms lighting up will signify the communication lines with the operator are open (giving them the chance to dial in and out of the emergency lift phone and listen to what happens in the car)
  • Alternating flashing lights mean that the 3-day test call has failed, and the system setup needs to be checked


Author: Milagros Gamero, EU Marketing Communications Manager at AVIRE

Share article

Related Products