Although the legal obligation for ensuring the safety and compliance of elevator devices including elevators and escalators lies with asset owners, elevator service companies have a vested interest in compliance.
The results of their work—installations, maintenance—have a direct impact on the safety of the general public. They must ensure that all equipment is safe, meets the latest standards, and performs well. Non-compliance can lead to serious consequences including endangering the public and breaking laws.
But when it comes to elevator safety, knowing how to go about respecting compliance can be confusing? Read on for guidance on this complex topic.
How elevator service companies can ensure compliance
- Follow the relevant elevator safety codes
Compliance in the elevator service industry means adhering to relevant industry regulations, as known as elevator device safety codes.
What are elevator device safety codes?
Elevator safety codes are regulations put in place by legislative bodies to protect the safety of elevator users. They list specific technical standards and safety requirements for elevator device equipment by code or act number. Updates take into account feedback from the industry and evolving elevator technology. This creative infographic from Facility Executive depicts the safety regulation development process.
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) states that the codes are designed for “anyone engaged in the safety of elevators, escalators and related conveyances.” This includes anyone involved with “installation, operation, testing, maintenance, alteration and repair” and “emergency response.”
How to stay on top of elevator safety codes
Staying on top of elevator safety codes and requirements can be challenging for field service teams as they can be difficult to interpret and are normally updated every few years. As codes may vary between jurisdictions, the challenge is heightened when operations span several geographies.
Managers can help by making sure their teams have access to the relevant up-to-date codes and are aware of any changes. You can also get notified of any changes by staying connected to your elevator safety. For example, where possible subscribe to email updates.
Which elevator safety code should you follow?
The ASME publishes the Handbook on Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators. Now combined with the Canadian Safety Authority’s B44 guidelines, this handbook covers jurisdictions throughout North America.
However, codes can vary between country to country, state to state (in the US) or province to province (in Canada). If your elevator maintenance company operates across several Canadian provinces, for example, you need to make sure local technicians are referring to the latest code for their jurisdiction. Some examples are the Quebec Safety Code and TSSA, Ontario.
Important: it’s the responsibility of elevator service professionals to check that they are enforcing the appropriate code, i.e., the one that applies to the place where they are performing installation or maintenance work.
2. Offer maintenance contracts
Offering regular preventative maintenance is key to making sure elevator equipment operates as it should, remains compliant with regulations, and helping your customer avoid costly repairs down the line. Your maintenance obligations as an elevator service company should be outlined in the applicable elevator device code code.
Once a maintenance contract is signed between a licensed contractor and the asset owner, the owner trusts the contractor to make sure that all elevator devices comply with the relevant codes in force.
Some things to consider when agreeing on a maintenance schedule with customers include:
Frequency of maintenance. Your codes may stipulate that contractors offer full maintenance contracts that cover monthly, quarterly and annual maintenance checks. They may also stipulate a minimum maintenance period, say, once per month. However, other factors such as usage and device age need to be considered when deciding on an appropriate cadence for safety checks. Say, if your customer has a legacy elevator, you may choose to perform bi-monthly checks.
Maintaining a record of work. “A log pertaining to all maintenance activities must be maintained on site at all times by the maintenance contractor and it must be easily accessible, legible and signed by those completing the task. The log must contain, at a minimum, detailed records of all tests, inspections, and other maintenance duties that have been performed in the previous five years.” – particular requirements in a maintenance contract”
3. Share your compliance knowledge with customers
While this one isn’t a “must” for elevator professionals, it can greatly contribute to the safety of elevator devices.
Customers are legally responsible for the safety of their elevator equipment. However, they may not be experts in the area. This is where elevator service teams come in. As the industry expert, well-versed in the latest compliance codes, contractors can educate customers by sharing their expertise on the regulations. For example, they can show customers where to find the right code, how to interpret it, and how to stay on top of updates.
Another benefit of this approach is that it can help with customer relations. By going above and beyond for customers, you can build and maintain trusting, long-lasting, and profitable relationships.
When your customers’ elevators consitently pass the safety inspection with flying colors, they will know who to thank.