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Proposed Changes to Elevator Rules in Iowa

For almost 3 years the Iowa Elevator Safety Board (Board) has been studying the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) A17.3 code that requires older elevators be upgraded to a higher level of safety. During 2012, the Board held 5 public meetings and sought public input on the A17.3 code.

New controllers necessary to implement the fire service requirements of A17.3 would have been a costly upgrade for many elevator owners. As a result of public comments, the Board decided to drop the fire service provisions of A17.3 from further consideration.

Better information concerning the other A17.3 requirements is needed. Therefore, the Board has requested that every older elevator be surveyed during the regular elevator inspections in 2013 to determine what work would be required by A17.3. As a result of the surveys, owners will be given information about their own elevators, and state-wide totals will be available for statistical purposes.

Which provisions of A17.3 are still being considered by the Board?

What if my elevator is new?

What if my elevator has been modernized?

How long would I have to comply with the new requirements?

What happens if I don't comply in 5 years?

Are there any advantages to complying with A17.3?

What work would be required on my elevator?

How much would I have to spend?

Will the proposed changes affect my escalator?

What is the A17.3 code?

Why would Iowa adopt a code written by ASME?

How do I find out what happened at the public meetings?


Question: Which provisions of A17.3 are still being considered by the Board?
Answer:

● Car door restrictors will be required for the safety of a passenger trapped in the elevator car.
● Operating devices on the top of the car, safe access to the elevator pit, permanent lighting in machinery areas, and an emergency stop switch in the elevator pit will be required for the safety of elevator inspectors and mechanics.
● Key-operated stop switches must be installed in the car to prevent crime and vandalism.
● Hoistway door unlocking devices for use only by elevator inspectors, elevator mechanics, and emergency personnel must be installed.
● Platform guards or aprons must be installed to prevent passengers from falling into the hoistway.
● Emergency lighting must be installed in the car.
● An alarm bell or other emergency signaling device must be installed in the car.
● The top of the elevator car must have an emergency exit.
● The rated load or capacity of the elevator must be posted in the elevator car.
● The walls of passenger elevator cars must be enclosed with solid material rather than grating.
● Pit drains may not connect to sewer lines.
● For a freight elevator with doors that open up and down instead of sideways, safer door edges may be needed.
● For a very old freight elevator operated by a tiller rope rather than push buttons, a new controller will be required.
● An elevator that is suspended by only 1 wire rope or 1 chain must be replaced or reconfigured with a minimum of 2 wire ropes or 2 chains. As a general rule, these elevators do not have a motor and the rider lifts the elevator. If installed in a location with the potential for combustible dust, explosion-proof wiring may be required.
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Question: What if my elevator is new?
Answer: As a general rule, an elevator less than 20 years old will not be affected by the adoption of A17.3. Most of the requirements will only apply if your elevator was installed before 1975 and has not been modernized.
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Question: What if my elevator has been modernized?
Answer: Typical elevator modernizations include many of the items required by A17.3.
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Question: How long would I have to comply with the new requirements?
Answer: The Board has discussed phasing the requirements in over a 5-year period. The 5-year period would not begin until final adoption of an administrative rule. Final adoption is unlikely to occur before the spring of 2014.
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Question: What happens if I don't comply in 5 years?
Answer: Continuing to use your elevator would be illegal. At the first inspection after the deadline, a safety order requiring the upgrades would be issued. The state has the authority to shutdown non-compliant elevators.
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Question: Are there any advantages to complying with A17.3?
Answer:
● Enhanced safety for elevator inspectors and elevator mechanics
● Reduced risk of property damage from vandalism
● Easier operation by people with disabilities
● Emergency communication for people in the elevator
● Reduced risk of people falling down the hoistway
● Safer extraction of people trapped in the car
● Reduced risk of overloading the elevator car
● Reduced risk of a crime against a passenger in the car
● Reduced risk of injury due to crushing
● Reduced risk of catastrophic failure of manually-operated elevators
● Prevent the accumulation of sewer gas in an elevator pit and hoistway
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Question: What work would be required on my elevator?
Answer: What needs to be done depends on factors specific to each elevator such as the original model, installation details, upgrades, and maintenance. During the 2013 inspections of older elevators, an A17.3 survey will be completed for each older elevator. The owner will be given a copy of the completed A17.3 survey. The survey information will be used by the Elevator Safety Board to estimate the impact of adopting A17.3.
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Question: How much would I have to spend?
Answer: After your 2013 elevator inspection, you can show your completed A17.3 survey to elevator construction and maintenance companies for estimates. Obtaining estimates from 2 or more elevator companies is the best way to determine your cost.
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Question: Will the proposed changes affect my escalator?
Answer: A17.3 also improves the safety of older escalators. However, it is not anticipated that the owners of escalators will be required to make a significant financial investment as a result of A17.3.
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Question: What is the A17.3 code?
Answer: A17.3 is a safety code written by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers specifically for existing elevators.
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Question: Why would Iowa adopt a code written by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers?
Answer: Elevators, escalators, boilers and pressure vessels in Iowa are all governed by ASME codes adopted by reference. The Board is specifically authorized by Iowa Code Chapter 89A to adopt A17.3. The A17.3 code was first published in 1986 and about half the states are enforcing it.
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Question: How do I find out what happened at the public meetings?
Answer: Click Here (pdf)
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Iowa Division Of Labor Services | Elevator Safety Board | Elevators and Other Conveyances