With nearly one million elevators in operation throughout the U.S. and 10 times that many throughout the world, our industry’s equipment has proven to be the world’s safest form of personal transportation. In support of this claim, recent U.S. studies have reported more than 5 million auto accidents annually, resulting in more than 43,000 fatalities, as well as nearly 700 bicycle accidents, of which 20% resulted in fatalities. And with as many as 12,000 deaths caused by accidents on stairways, elevators are certainly the safest form of vertical transportation considering the billions of trips they provide each day. The articles in this month’s Focus on Safety section explain why this has been the case.
An article from CEDES Corp. describes its latest IMS 100 safeguard sensors and how they are applied to elevator entrances to ensure disabled hospital patients and hospital staff are protected from being struck by elevator doors as they travel throughout the Lucerne Cantonal Hospital in Lucerne, Switzerland. This innovative door-protection system also serves to protect elevator entrances from damage that may be caused by their being struck by large hospital beds and service carts that are routinely transported on the elevators throughout this major health-care facility.
Also, an article in this month’s issue describes a method to test hoistway-door contacts without the need to jump them out of the safety circuit. This method not only reduces the time it takes to check all of the interlocks’ contacts on a high-rise elevator installation, but also ensures the safety circuit’s integrity will be maintained when this essential safety test is completed.
The article entitled “Software Testing of Embedded Safety Loops” describes the hardware, as well as the software, testing of programmable electronic safety systems used in passenger-elevator control systems. The determination of the required Safety Integrity Level (SIL) of elevator components, as well as how these SILs are tested, is discussed.
“A Way Out” by Kaija Wilkinson describes a new high-rise building escape system that has the ability to not only transport building occupants out of a building, but also be used by emergency personnel to effectively respond to building emergencies, regardless of damage that may have been inflicted on the building’s vertical-transportation system. In this article, you will see that several installations of this system are underway throughout the world, and it is likely that it may be prototyped in North America in the near future. This emergency response and escape system is a fine example of how people in our industry strive to fulfill the needs of building occupants, even during extremely dire situations.
This month’s concentration on safety is further emphasized in Ralph M. Newman’s article on Columbia Elevator Products Co., Inc. and its elevator car enclosures and entrances, which have been specially designed to enhance worker safety. As indicated in the article, public and worker safety have always been hallmarks of Columbia’s products.
In addition to building and running their businesses, many people in the elevator industry are committed to public and worker safety and spend a lot of their own time and money to fulfill this mission. These individuals serve on various industry safety committees and, in particular, work as volunteers on the Standards and Working committees of the ASME A17.1 Safety Code for Elevators, Escalators and Moving Walks. They travel extensively to do this and make themselves available to assist the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) in developing and administering the safety codes and standards for which our industry has become so well known. It is the tireless effort of these individuals who go above and beyond the call of duty that contributes to the formidable safety record of our industry’s equipment and systems. It is their mission to ensure that when the public rides our industry’s equipment, they will be – as called out by Elisha Graves Otis following his first safety elevator demonstration in 1853 – “All Safe!”