Elevator Security

The audience listens to the speakers.

American and European lift associations present speeches on elevator security to Brazil’s industry professionals.

Representatives of lift associations from the U.S. and Europe gathered in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, in June to take part in an international event to debate the technological developments, safety laws and maintenance of lifts. The event was organized by the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Association of Minas Gerais (ABEMEC-MG), the Regional Council of Engineering and Agronomy of Minas Gerais (CREA-MG) and other local partners.

The guest speakers were Gary Schuette, president of the National Association of Elevator Contractors (NAEC) and owner of Midwest Elevator Company Inc., and Achim Hütter, chairman of German elevator association VFA-Interlift and member of the board of directors of the European Lift Association (ELA).

According to Schuette, one of the main requirements in the U.S. is specific training for people who want to work with lift installation and maintenance. This is mandatory in Missouri, where his company is located, but not in all states. Furthermore, he said, lift laws are constantly being updated. “Technology is always developing, becoming each time more specific, and the safety regulations have to follow this,” he said. Schuette said even firefighters’ training is updated to go along with technological changes and, thus, guarantee faster and more efficient rescues in case of accidents. He also said the U.S. and Canada have been working to unify the laws of both countries to harmonize the safety procedures in North America. During the lecture, Schuette also catalogued some strategies for companies to stand out in such a competitive market.

Hütter, on the other hand, said that in Europe, in addition to technicians’ specialized training, the government, companies and professionals share the responsibilities for keeping elevators safe. There, companies obey strict laws, and inspection standards demand that all safety regulations are followed. According to Hütter, the final objective is to “never have fatal accidents in lifts.” He informed guests that a total of 22 users died in elevator accidents in 2018 across all of Europe.

Brazilian experts in elevator management want to apply European and North American developments to Brazil. Fabio Aranha, president of the Elevators Association of Mercosul, said the international lecture was a good opportunity to “know the maintenance and safety patterns of elevators in more-developed countries and to confront it with the Brazilian pattern and to look for inspiration to improve the local system.”

Ronaldo Bandeira, counselor of CREA-MG, emphasized that Brazil also needs to invest in effective and independent inspections to avoid accidents with lifts. From October 2007 to May 2019, there were 14 deaths in metropolitan Belo Horizonte alone. “Here, in Brazil, there is no technical inspection from the government,” Bandeira said. “They only check the documents. The technical inspection, whether from the government or from the companies, must be technical and independent — what is called ‘third party’ by the foreigners. Only this will assure more equipment safety.”

Desirée Miranda

Desirée Miranda

Journalist for ABEMEC-MG.

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