Elevators are among the safest of all transportation modes. However, avoidable accidents, operational failures, and injuries do happen. To prevent accidents in and around elevators, you can play a key role in guiding passengers toward safe behaviours and explaining how to remain safe if something should go wrong.
What Building Owners and Managers Can Do
As a concerned owner or manager, you can convey elevator safety information to tenants in a number of ways. These include posting notices in lobbies, cabs, and communal gathering spots around the property, placing copies in mailboxes, and even having doormen and facilities staff distribute handouts. If the building maintains a tenant database for newsletters, you can email out notices as attachments that can be printed and retained.
So, what should you communicate to tenants?
Elevator safety notices can cover several different areas, including:
- Evacuation Routes
Many elevators have a ‘star’ button, but not all passengers know that this indicates a floor with a safety exit (often the ground floor or lobby). Aim to regularly remind your tenants of their evacuation routes and highlight that they should never call or enter an elevator in the event of fire but instead take the stairs.
Make sure your tenants know what to do if they are caught between floors when an elevator stops unexpectedly. The car will not free-fall, and they are safe in the cab. Advise them to remain calm, without jumping up and down or attempting to pry open the doors or escaping via the ceiling hatch. The best course of action is to stay put, use the emergency phone, and wait for help to arrive.
- Child Safety
Most parents know to teach their children that elevators are not amusement rides and that they need to be treated with respect, but you can help parents have elevator safety conversations with their children. You may want to provide a clear explanation of how to use the emergency button and telephone in case they become entrapped alone, highlight the importance of always keeping hands and feet clear of moving doors, and assure them that the cab is safe even when stopped – with plenty of air to breathe and instant emergency lighting in the event of a power outage.
- Pet Safety
It’s easy to get complacent about elevator safety when walking a dog in and out of elevators every day, yet accidents can easily happen if a leash gets trapped or a dog gets separated from its owner. Remind your tenants of the importance of monitoring their dog closely when entering and exiting the cab, standing in the doorway as the dog moves through the doors, and not allowing the dog to leave the elevator without you.
- Move-Ins and Move-Outs
Moving in and out of a multi-story building can be risky when tenants attempt to shift bulky or heavy items on their own. Before the start or end of a tenancy, you may want to give your tenants some advice on how to avoid accidents. Remind them to wear well-fitting shoes with good traction that won’t slip and trip in the elevator, to avoid baggy and loose clothing that could become trapped in the doors, to wear thick gloves to protect fingers and improve grip, to never jam objects into the doors to force them to remain open, to not exceed the weight limit of the elevator, and to avoid stacking boxes too high so they risk toppling over.
Communicating COVID-19 Elevator Safety
Another area of elevator safety practices worth communicating is COVID-19.
There are many approaches you can take to help promote a safe environment during a pandemic, especially surrounding the elevators. You will want to have a number of guidelines in place – and make people aware of them.
COVID-19 elevator guidelines for passengers could include the following:
- Wear appropriate face coverings in elevators
- Self-limit the number of passengers per ride
- Load the elevator in a checkerboard pattern, face-forward
- Have each passenger announce their desired floor, with the person nearest the button panel selecting for everyone using a tissue, a keyring or similar
- Avoid conversation in the cab
- Keep the distance when queuing for the elevator
As a building manager or operator, you are responsible for providing signage in lobbies, elevators and on landings, promoting safe passenger behavior. In commercial buildings, it could also be useful to schedule staggered employee arrival and departure times to help avoid crowded elevator cabs.
To learn more about how to ensure passenger elevator safety and good user behavior during the pandemic, take a look at our downloadable COVID-19 Passenger Safety guide.
Elevator Safety Is Ongoing
Communicating elevator safety shouldn’t be a one-and-done activity. It’s important to keep reminding your tenants and visitors of what they need to do to remain safe and to help to keep the elevators running smoothly. This will also help you to create good relationships and improve dialog with your tenants.
We Are Here to Help
For any help with improving and communicating elevator safety in your building, call our professional team at the DC Elevator headquarters at 859-254-8224.