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Keeping Your Elevators Up To Code

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Elevators are one of the most important elements of any large commercial building. They aren't simply a convenience for the building's occupants, they are a necessity for individuals with disabilities. Modern elevators are complex machines and they require regular upkeep to function properly and safely. Keeping your elevators up to code means following both federal and local guidelines for inspections and maintenance. Not only will this help you to avoid potentially hefty fines, but it also guarantees the safety of your riders and helps to minimize downtime due to maintenance issues.

Understanding Federal Guidelines

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration defines the federal standards for elevator inspection and maintenance. These standards include two required levels of inspection: one annually and one monthly. Monthly inspections are required to ensure that the elevator is operating as it should be. These monthly inspections are not required to be thorough mechanical inspections but are intended to identify any obvious operational issues so that they can be repaired before they become serious enough to cause unplanned downtime.

A more thorough inspection is required at least once per year, although many operators choose instead to perform these inspections twice per year. OSHA guidelines require that the records of these more thorough inspections be saved for at least one year so that they can be reviewed by regulators as needed. Additionally, the results of this inspection must be posted in the elevator itself in a visible location.

What Does An Inspection Include?

Although the time table for inspections is defined by OSHA, the actual requirements of inspection are defined by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and state safety boards. Safety service inspections must be performed by trained safety engineers who will follow a point-by-point checklist. The exact elements of the inspection that must be performed will depend on your state and the city's own guidelines. In most cases, local jurisdictions choose to adopt certain elements of the ASME standards. Many jurisdictions omit parts of the standard as well, so actual requirements can vary significantly between locations.

Additional State And Local Requirements

It is important to remember that while federal guidelines call for annual inspections, many state and local governments require additional or more frequent inspections. Texas, for example, requires that elevators be tested at full load capacity every five years. Other state and local governments may require other, more specialized types of inspections. Always be sure that you fully understand your local elevator code, as the exceptions made for late or missing inspections are rare. For more information, contact an elevator service in your area.


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