With hurricane season in full swing, elevator safety is one of the aspects facility management teams should be examining. If your building is in a hurricane danger zone, you don’t want to put passengers in unnecessary danger in your elevators following a natural disaster. Additionally, taking precautionary care of elevators can prevent significant damage and avoid costly repairs.
Elevator manufacturer KONE has developed a before, during and after safety checklist to follow in preparation for a hurricane. For example, before the hurricane, it’s important to check all sump pumps, float switches and alarms in elevator pits. And during the hurricane, elevators should be parked at the top floor of the hoist way with the main breaker switched off.
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Meanwhile, the National Elevator Industry, Inc. (NEII), the national trade association of the building transportation industry, featured the below article on elevator and escalator maintenance for safety in its The Insider newsletter this week.
The Role of the Building Owner or Manager in Elevator & Escalator Safety
When we think of elevator and escalator safety, many people assume it is the responsibility of the elevator manufacturer and the elevator service company. However, the building owner or manager and the riding public also play a vital role in elevator and escalator safety.
Once elevator or escalator equipment is installed, tested, inspected and put into service, the building owner or manager owns the equipment. As such, it becomes their responsibility to ensure that all components are properly inspected, tested and maintained. The ASME A17.1/CSA B44 Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators provides all the necessary requirements for inspection, testing, maintenance and repair of elevators and escalators:
- Section 8.6 provides requirements for maintenance, repair and testing
- Section 8.11 provides requirements for inspection and witnessing of tests
- Authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ) specifies the required intervals for inspection and testing which may be based on the recommendations in Appendix N
Proper maintenance of elevators and escalators is vital. The responsibility falls to the building owner for making sure that each system is properly maintained. Typically, owners hire a service company with trained elevator and escalator mechanics to provide all equipment maintenance. Just like a homeowner: when you buy a home, you’re the one in charge to make all the necessary repairs, if/when a pipe bursts or a foundation cracks. Who do you call in that situation? A professional. Every elevator and escalator is required to have a Maintenance Control Program (MCP), which is essentially a detailed guide to ensure proper maintenance throughout the life of the equipment. We highlighted MCP’s in the May 21, 2014 edition of The Insider.
But building owner responsibility doesn’t end there. Even though service companies perform the maintenance and repair of the equipment, the owner is tasked with making sure each system operates safely and is up to date on inspections and tests. Even though inspection and test requirements vary by jurisdiction, it is up to the building owner to ensure that these are being done.
There are a few things that building owners can do proactively. One is to ensure the equipment is performing properly by appointing someone to be responsible for routine elevator and escalator examinations. What exactly should they be looking for? That person should observe the following:
- Equipment is operating normally, no noises or abnormal odor
No loose or missing features
- The area around the equipment is clean and free of anything that could disrupt normal operation
- They should also immediately take the equipment out of service and notify the elevator repair service if they observe any unsafe conditions.
For NEII safety is the number one priority and it requires a team effort. The manufacturer is responsible for providing a reliable, code compliant product. The installation and service companies ensure the equipment is properly installed, maintained, and repaired. Inspectors are responsible for ensuring the installation meets all of the required codes. All riders should follow posted instructions and understand proper use of the equipment. But above all, the building owner or manager has the responsibility to make sure every member of that team is working to provide the best service for everyday use.
“This article was reprinted from “The Insider” with permission of National Elevator Industry, Inc., Salem, NY. NEII and NEII logo – Registered U.S. Patent and Trademark Office”