escalator accidents

Elevator Radio Show - Video/Audio Show #397 - Week 04/22/15

Elevator Radio Show - Video/Audio Show #397 - Week 04/22/15 erssubA much better show this week with all the technical difficulties taken care of and with the disturbing news from the last two shows it’s nice to produce one with some more upbeat topics. Next week we will be giving away our prize pack so get your email address added to the subscribe list so you’re eligible to win. Remember no purchase necessary to enter, void where prohibited and all that good stuff. For those who are finishing up at the NAEC Spring Conference in Hawaii, I hope you had a great time and learned a lot.

News/Article Links: Interesting about Invasion of Privacy and Videos Family meets hero who caught child falling over side of escalator Injuries, failures reported on Augusta VA Elevators Riders ask about broken escalator at MTA Port Authority ordered to make transit station accessible Taylor County approves elevator replacement Memphis airport escalator replacement project underway 47-second elevator ride shows NY progress New super tall building for Chicago planned Slow skywalk escalator repair EIWPF: Work Safety Posters Company fined $28000 in elevator accident Prague airport hires porters because of no escalator

A17.3 Safety Code for Existing Elevators and Escalators – Why not?

The Code Corner -
By James Runyan
Education Director
NAESA International

A17.3 – Why not?

In my tenure as an AHJ, I noticed that many elevators in my jurisdiction were never in compliance with the code under which they were installed.  Some were missing pit ladders, pit lighting, car top inspection stations, and other items that should have been installed at time of the original installation.

How were these items missed you ask? Simple; the AHJ was not paying attention to the code requirements of the time.  And once you overlook required items and allow them to go unchecked for sometimes several decades, it is difficult to convince a building owner that these safety requirements are now of major importance. Of course the argument from the owner is that no one goes into that pit except the “elevator man”, and no one rides the car top except the “elevator man”. And of course, the everlasting saying, “and no one has ever been hurt!”  The operative word here is, “yet”.

Most of us in the industry understand the hazards of working in elevator pits and on car tops, yet accidents and deaths have occurred nonetheless.  Thus, it is important to provide safe working conditions to the extent possible for elevator technicians engaged in maintenance and repair of existing elevator equipment.  So often, building owners seem to exclude elevator technicians from the realm of safety. While owners are not mean-spirited, they often forget that vendors on their property are afforded the right to a safe work place by OSHA. That means that owners certainly should have a vested interest in seeing that not only their employees have a safe work environment, but vendor’s employees also.

After having jumped down into 4-foot pits numerous times and in the dark no less; and after trying to service hoistway equipment with no car-top inspection station during my tenure as Chief for the State of Oregon, I decided that these items and others were too important and should not be allowed to continue. So how do you go back over several decades of ignored code items and try to bring the existing elevators into compliance?

The answer is ASME A17.3 - Safety Code for Existing Elevators and Escalators!  ASME recognized the need for standardization for existing elevators and escalators to correct earlier code oversights, encompass better technology, or address design issues that later proved potentially unsafe; for example, shear angles on bi-parting doors.

ASME published the first edition of A17.3 in 1986 and it still exists today and is in its seventh edition of 2008. Of course A17.3 was not written just to allow AHJ’s to correct overlooked code items. Its main focus was to bring a consensus code to the foreground such that AHJ’s could utilize a nationally recognized standard as opposed to writing a local code. Local codes are well intended, but often overlook the issues that are broad-brushed within the industry. Generally AHJ’s do not have the resources to provide the depth of input that comes from a consensus-based standard.

Oregon made a vain attempt at some rules for existing elevators known affectionately as the “49-Rules” (later changed to the “47-Rules” as two of the original rules were dropped). Most of these rules were already covered in A17.3, but the home-grown rules were written in a vague script which allowed interpretations to pop up everywhere.

As Chief, I decided the best approach at solving this problem was not to go back and try to unravel all of the missed code requirements, but to adopt ASME A17.3 as a State standard that would allow enforcement and a method for owners to phase-in compliance over a reasonable time frame. Also, A17.3 would capture just about all of the overlooked code items making administration of the code requirements more focused.

As you might expect, there was push-back from some owners. There were those that just could not see the justification for the safety upgrades since they would not directly benefit from them and would not derive any additional revenue as a result of the upgrades. However, reluctant as some were, the concept of allowing owners to establish a plan of attack on A17.3 code requirements seemed to ease some of the financial pain. As a result many elevators were updated with car top inspection, pit ladders, pit lighting, machine room lighting, properly fused disconnects or circuit breakers, lockable machine room doors, safer roof access to machine rooms, and many other features; all designed to make the work place safer for elevator technicians and the end users.

But alas, political tides shift and often new management just wants to throw the baby out with the bath water since they do not like dealing with issues that are not fully understood by management or politicians. Well wake up and smell the coffee folks; being a regulator may not win many friends, but the goal it serves is essential. Without regulation, equipment would tend to degrade as owners try to tighten their outflow of expenses. Regulators must have the tools to keep the industry and owners responsible for the well-being of all who come in contact with a building and the equipment located therein. After all, when something serious does happen to a worker or member of the public, the outcry from the public is, “where was our government when this happened”; and my personal favorite, “there should be some kind of law against that”!

A17.3 is not really a monster in a regulator’s garb. It is an essential tool to deal with existing conditions that can be made safer. So let’s put in the pit ladders, install adequate pit lighting and add car-top inspection stations. For the owner this is normally a one-time cost per elevator. Otherwise, the ultimate cost for not having these safety items could be paid by the “elevator man”.

Reprinted with permission from NAESA International. For more information regarding this article or NAESA International please contact them directly. For commentary regarding this article from the Elevator Radio Show Podcast, listen to the show on March 30th, 2011, show 247.


NAESA International
6957 Littlerock Road SW Suite A Tumwater, WA 98512
Phone: 360-292-4968 FAX: 360-292-4973

Post: December 1st, 2010: ERS-2010-12-01 #230 Show Notes

Click Here to download ERS-2010-12-01 #230 I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving; my only wish is that it was a little longer.  Finally after two weeks I’m starting to feel better and I’m glad that today’s show is a shorter one. It appears that today’s show is filled more with escalator articles than elevator articles. We’ll also cover the calendar of events for the month on today’s program as well. For those of you attending the CEA Holiday party tonight I look forward to seeing you.  Have safe travels!

Calendar Of Events: NAESA Calendar NAEC Calendar IAEC Calendar EIG SC Calendar CEA Calendar EAF Calendar ECNY Calendar CECA Calendar EESF Calendar Elevator U Calendar MESA Calendar NCEIG Calendar

News/Article Links: Five Jets Fans Injured in Escalator Accident Designing buildings that you don’t get lost in MARTA and new malfunctioning escalator Grey Cup reveler seriously injured after escalator fall Matchmaker stuck in elevator looses rich client China Elevator Market Seems To Be Booming Lockport’s Christmas festival opens Outside escalators = bad idea NEII ® Announces new government affairs consultant – good news Dogs part of family can use lift for free Man missing after rescue from elevator in Kennedy Plaza fire MARTA Video of the escalator accident Elevator Magazine – not industry specific Take a step in the right direction Rising infrastructural needs promote increased use of vertical transp. A Lift for a Vet Donates equipment and labor – Cool article Marshall museum has fire scare Stupid is as stupid does – I love our college kids For Sale – 1894 Otis Elevator Elevaider Website provides an on the job perspective Stupid is as stupid does – I love our college kids For Sale – 1894 Otis Elevator Elevaider Website provides an on the job perspective Ohio couple sues for elevator malfunction Baby abandoned in hospital elevator

Escalator Accidents-Important Information!

coveredescalator After last weeks show I received the e-mail below from an industry friend  who is concerned about escalator accidents, especially the one that happened at the Triangle Town Mall.  With his permission to republish it I felt that this was the best way to reach as many people as possible in hopes of preventing accidents such as this from happening in the future.

I'm thankful that industry experts such as Helmut Meuris is doing his part in sharing the important information that he has learned from his work with escalator accidents.

If you have any questions or comments I encourage you to contact Helmut for additional information.

Remember that many of the escalator accidents are indeed caused by rider behaviour!  Spread the word about the safe use of elevators and escalators by promoting the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation. We can all make a difference if we do!

e-mail from Helmut Meuris - 11/4/2009

Girl falls from escalator at Triangle Town Center Mall

Hi Tom,

Relative to the above, I was in the business of lifts and escalators for some 40 years before I was asked to act as an expert witness in an event similar to the above.  It was not until this time that it became obvious to me there is a problem at the top end of down escalators.

What occasionally occurs is someone faces in the direction of the void adjacent to the escalator and, due to a crowded situation, is forced against the outside edge of the escalator handrail which is moving in the direction towards the edge protection guard around the atrium.

When contacting the outer edge of said handrail, one is propelled towards the void and depending on the pressure between handrail and body and the height of the fixed guarding, (Required to be a minimum 1000mm in this country (Australia)) as well as the gap between the escalator and the fixed guarding, there can be sufficient momentum generated to throw someone over the guard.

The friction generated between a handrail and someone’s body can be considerable and in fact lethal in as much as it can be instrumental in toppling them over the guarding. Something I did not give any credence to until investigating the fatality that took place here.

On a different location a near-miss was also recorded on a security camera as well clearly showing the above. In this instance the woman was prevented from falling by having her ankle caught. Yes it was the entrapment of her ankle that saved her life.

I did discuss this at the ISO WG5 level however am not sure if the US representatives took it on board.

I am sure the Escalator Safety people would be most interested in this one.

Best regards
Helmut Meuris
53 Torwood Ave.
Glen Waverley Vic.
Australia             3150
Phone: (61)(03) 9574 8090 Fax:     (61)(03) 8502 0684