Obsolete Equipment and Grandfathering Dangers

Every elevator professional has seen and many have even worked on equipment that by most standards today could be considered UNSAFE. It is not necessarily that it has worn out or not been maintained well or even not operating as designed. Instead it is simply so far behind the modern safety concepts and designs that comparably speaking, it is not safe.
I believe the base underlying problem is money; however the obvious issue is with the codes and their adoption in a reasonable amount of time. The codes should prevent equipment that is so far behind the times that it has become dangerous to remain in service. I am not referring to relatively new safety features such as redundant circuits, redundant components, closed loop systems and multiple monitoring systems. I am mainly referring to the worst of the worst. I want to go after the ones that no one disputes and the ones that mandatory code adoption in a set period of time could correct. I would like to see new codes adopted within five years nationwide, but can we all agree on at least ten years or even twenty years?
I am speaking of elevator systems that don’t even have leveling circuits, let alone releveling circuits. An example of these would be the old single and two speed AC units that simply slide into the floor and open the doors wherever they end up. Items such as the number of passengers, trips that day and brake wear are normal variables. These variables often leave the elevators opening the doors several inches out of the floor. Another example would be the systems with ungrounded controller voltages. These systems can pick up partial grounds in different circuits and run with the doors open or worse. Then there is the material and sidewalk lifts that have far too few switches or still operate from windup drums. There is also the whole issue of open loop equipment in machine rooms without environmental controls that are allowed to have large temperature swings. Those swings often create large operational differences with the elevator’s operation, including leveling. I could go on, but it’s not necessary to make my point.
The adoption of new codes has become a HUGE problem. The AHJs (Authorities Having Jurisdiction) have too much pressure and limitations put upon them in the name of reasonable costs and other concerns. Something needs to change so that the new codes not only can, but WILL be adopted in a timely fashion. It’s time to get serious about safety! Please help this cause in any way you can. The more of us that discuss it and inform the general public, the more likely it is that we can bring about a change. For more information from Needed Knowledge, please visit us at www.neededknowledge.com and don’t forget to check out one of our recent books such as”Surviving Your Elevator Entrapment” or “How to Open Your First Business Successfully”.

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