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What’s new in the safety code for elevators in 2017

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It’s strange to consider that in the United States, passengers travel for some 4.10 billion km on elevators each year. An incredible eighteen billion elevator trips are taken during that time, dwarfing both rail and air travel combined. While these statistics are undoubtedly impressive on their own, what they say about elevator safety is perhaps even more remarkable. One of the safest forms of transportation in the world, the elevator industry works relentlessly to advance safety for riders and employees alike. Our industry boasts one of the lowest accident rates of any form of transportation, due in large part to the constant diligence in improving both the equipment itself and the safety codes and standards that govern the industry. The safety code for elevators, also known as ASME A17.1/CSA B44, is updated every three years to ensure that the requirements represent the latest safety and technology  available. Established by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ (www.asme.org ), the code sets standards, which govern elevators on safety across a full range of industry products and applications. The code is developed by ASME’s A17 Standards Committee, a diverse group of subject matter experts who represent an international perspective including enforcing authorities, mechanical and electrical engineering and design experts, inspectors, consultants, labor authorities, building and facility owners, and installation and maintenance specialists. With three years between updates, there are always many revisions and additions to the code. In the 2016 edition of the code, several major changes and updates went into effect including updates related to electric and hydraulic passenger elevators. Some of these modifications were clarifications to existing actions, others include additional requirements for location of hoistway access switches, securing controllers located in public areas, and type of emergency stop buttons. Some of the most notable changes for the 2016 edition include:

  • updates to general requirements such as the addition of elastomeric buffers and their detailed requirements
  • several updates to seismic requirements, including the addition of a seismic detection device and a scan feature to help determine the usability of an elevator after a seismic event
  • updated maintenance, repair and replacement criteria including requirements for replacement of car doors

and speed governors, and testing of elastomeric buffer requirements

  • updates to the alterations section including requirements for the addition of surface mount sump pumps, standard railings, and suspension means monitoring for elevators