Elevator Safety & Inspections Vertical City

Ever since the first hydraulic passenger elevator was installed in New York City in 1870, the city has relied upon elevators to support its upward growth. Given that few would care to contemplate living or working in a 20-story walk-up, transporting people upward and back down again quickly and safely was a crucial component to the Big Apple’s development into a world-class city.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) however, escalator and elevator accidents claim about 30 lives and injure about 17,000 people annually in the United States.

Workers that maintain or clean the elevators account for almost half of the fatalities caused by elevators. The remaining half are casualties due to fall accidents in elevator shafts. There are also numerous cases of people being caught between moving parts of the elevator, collapsing platforms, stuck between doors, hit by counterweights, etc. Tragically, most of these incidents could be prevented through careful attention to safety and maintenance requirements.

Today, there are almost 60,000 elevators operating in the five boroughs. Of these, several are at work in co-op and condo buildings, some making hundreds of trips per day. Co-op boards and building owners—not elevator maintenance organizations—are ultimately responsible for the safety of a building’s elevators. Keeping these elevators safe and functional is one of building administrators’ most important duties, so it’s equally important that they stay on top of maintenance and inspection schedules, as well as promoting basic elevator safety among their residents.

Safety 101

So, is it possible for the average elevator-rider in a mid- or high-rise co-op or condo building to know at a glance if the lift they’re about to enter is safe? They can just take a look at the inspection certificate posted inside the cab, right?

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9 Comments

  • The article is pretty accurate regarding the new NYC regulation of elevator testing and maintenance requirements . I would like to have information about where is the line between the elevator contractor and the owner(s) of the elevator when an aging elevator fails to perform according the new regulations . Unfortunately in NYC currently is no regulation to bring all elevators to a certain code requirement like in some state is mandatory to bring all elevators for example to ASME A-17.1 2000 code. Other words all testing must be performed according the code when the elevator was installed or modified .
  • I take offense to the statment that was made about the NYC Dept. of Building Inspections being made for mainenance not safety. DOB ELEVATORS INSPECTORS ARE HIGHLY EXPERIANCED. tHE INSPECTIONS PROFORMED BY THEM ARE TO INSURE THE ELEVATORS ARE SAFE FOR THE PUBLIC TO RIDE.iNSPECTORS ARE QEI CERTIFIED AND ISSUE VIOLATIONS TO CORRECT CONDITIONS BEFOR THOSE CONDITION COULD BECOME HAZARDUS TO THE RIDING PUBLIC. iF ELEVATORS ARE FOUND TO BE UNSAFE THEY ARE RED TAGED AND REMOVED FROM SERVICE IMMEDIATLY BY THE DOB INSPECTOR AND A REINSPECTION IS REQUIERED BEFORE THE ELEVATOR CAN BE PUT BACK TO USE FOR THE PUBLIC. As far as tools are concerened, if tools are needed then the elevator company who works for the owner will be requested to provide any additional tools to investigate the unsafe issue at hand,.
  • 12 passenger auto elev. in 6 story bldg.Cab interior renovated by super....left no ventilation ...no fans...renov. 2 yrs. ago..insp. cert. signed....is there a ventilation requirement? Queens, N.Y.
  • there are thousands of such elevators in NYC. Coops have had millions taken from each bldg by owners, leaving all costs and expenses to be born by coop apt. tenants.Sorry, no help.Blame politicians !! $$$
  • I need some advice.. What happens when you do the category 1 and category 5 testing and have the third party wittness.. And you see the on the DOB site they have put Accepted but UNSATISFACTORY????? This a question I need answered asap.. Ok Thanks
  • For elevators in a residential buildinhg, what specific requirements are there re emergency phones? Can they be VOIP, and/ or is an intercom to the concierge sufficient?
  • I am reaching out to third party agencies for bids on elevator inspections. Please get back to us
  • I am the Board President for The Chocolate Factory Condos in Brooklyn, NY. Nouveau had been our prior elevator service company. Due to their failure to file a NYC DOB 2011 Affirmation of correction more than one year late to the DOB. This resulted in a $3,000 fine. Nouveau has not responded to requests for reimbursement for these fines. This is routine procedure and their failure to file on our behalf was a failure of service.
  • 1938 ,6 story building..modifications have closed all car ventilation that existed originally.'a tomb waiting for occupants'