When a new elevator is installed in a building, there is an expectation that the elevator will last for quite some time. That is typically the case. At the same time, the safety codes that govern elevator maintenance can, and often do, change over the course of several years. The standards and codes for elevator operation and safety are different today than they were twenty years ago.
Statistically, elevators in the United States are very safe, with only 27 deaths per year out of over 18 million uses. This is according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. At the same time, only one death is enough to raise the question of what might be done to make elevators safer for everyone.
In December of 2011, two fatalities brought to the forefront two distinct areas of concern in the elevator maintenance industry. First concerned the licensing requirements for maintenance technicians. The second was regarding the safety standards that apply to the older, existing elevators. In each case, it was noted that the laws and codes that have to be followed by facility managers vary widely from state to state as well as locally. Each elevator that is inspected and maintained has its own history in its building. Some elevators have seen many changes in what is standard maintenance practice over the years.
Elevator Laws and Codes May Vary
When it comes to fatal accidents, over half of them occur during a maintenance procedure and involve the repair crew. This means that typically only half of the fatal accidents involve passengers.
Additionally, when many of the fatal accidents are investigated more thoroughly, it is often found that maintenance professional wasn’t fully aware of the guidelines for maintaining an elevator properly. Because these guidelines vary so drastically, some maintenance professionals do not even need to be licensed to work on an elevator.
Despite all of this, it is the stringent codes that keep elevators running smoothly and safely. Though these codes vary, it is the wise, forward seeing Elevator Company that knows what a difference can be made by being extremely tough on maintenance standards.
Any building owner will tell you that an elevator is the single most expensive piece of equipment that they will own in their building. Finding the right people to service their elevators is a top priority when it comes to keeping them safe and in tip top shape.