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Keeping up With the Code

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The adoption of B44-16 affects elevating equipment owners and contractors in B.C.

by Nav Chahal

Technical Safety BC oversees the safe installation and operation of technical systems and equipment across British Columbia, one of Canada’s busiest provinces. Its safety oversight covers all types of elevating devices, such as elevators, escalators and moving walks. As the independent, self-funded safety regulator for B.C., it operates within a legislative framework that includes the Safety Standards Act and regulations.

The Safety Standards Act applies to everyone who installs, alters, maintains or operates elevating equipment in the province.

Through an amendment to B.C.’s Elevating Devices Safety Regulation, the 2016 edition of the ASME A17.1/CSA B44 — Safety Code for Elevators, Escalators and Moving Walks came into effect on April 30, 2020. Since then, Technical Safety BC has been working with the industry to implement the new code and inform equipment owners about the new requirements. Owners of elevating devices and licensed contractors are affected by new requirements in the B44-16 code that aim to improve the safety of elevating devices, especially in the areas of enhanced maintenance and equipment testing.

MCPs and New Testing Requirements

The B44-16 code requires owners of elevating devices to have a maintenance control program (MCP) in place for each device they own no later than September 30, 2021. The MCP is a maintenance and examination schedule for an elevating device in which maintenance intervals can be customized to reflect installation and usage. The MCP helps ensure each device is properly maintained throughout its lifecycle.

B44-16 also requires owners to conduct annual, three- and five-year testing of elevator systems (categories 1, 3 and 5), and testing of escalators and moving walks (category 1 tests for escalators and moving walks). These testing requirements help ensure that devices can operate and stop safely in all circumstances.

Roles and Responsibilities

The owner of an elevating device is responsible for ensuring an MCP is in place for each unit they own. However, only a licensed elevator contractor has the knowledge to develop and carry out the MCP’s requirements. It is standard practice for owners to contract licensed elevator companies to develop and implement MCPs on their behalf. The new requirements may also impact how often contractors visit a facility or perform maintenance. It is important that equipment owners and contractors engage in conversations to ensure their maintenance contract complies with the new regulations.

To support owners and contractors in the adoption of B44-16, Technical Safety BC has developed an MCP online registration portal where owners and contractors can review their shared portfolios and plan the transition to B44-16. The information available through the portal includes device fabrication details (e.g., the make and model of key components) and a list of all test dates. Access to the same information by owners, maintenance providers and the safety regulator will enable stronger safety-minded decisions and more effective safety oversight.

COVID-19 and New Code Implementation

Technical Safety BC is working closely with industry partners to ensure a smooth, effective and safe adoption of the B44-16 code in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 26, B.C. defined elevator maintenance providers as a non-health essential service (bit.ly/2Viy2Tt).

Individuals and companies that own, operate or maintain elevating equipment are required to continue meeting all regulatory requirements for public safety. This includes capacity for enough personnel to maintain compliance with the Safety Standards Act, regulations, code and equipment manufacturers’ operations and maintenance requirements. In cases where facilities close or service is disrupted due to COVID-19 measures, duty holders have been reminded to follow safety protocols for equipment shutdowns and supervision.

To support industry, Technical Safety BC’s safety officers have continued performing safety-critical assessments, either remotely or in person. If clients are unable to meet their regulatory responsibilities due to COVID-19, they should contact the safety regulator to ensure they continue to receive support in keeping safety a priority. Technical Safety BC also has an online FAQ page (bit.ly/31mWk2C) that addresses questions from the industry.

Continuing Education Requirements

Changes to B.C.’s Elevating Devices Safety Regulation also require certified mechanics to complete continuing education training every three years to renew their certificates of qualification. Continuing education allows mechanics to keep up-to-date on the latest safety hazards and changes in codes and regulations.

Shared Responsibility

The safe installation and operation of elevating devices is a shared responsibility between owners, contractors, mechanics, safety regulators and the public. Access to accurate and timely information is vital for making the right safety decisions, so Technical Safety BC will continue to introduce digital tools and resources to empower those in the industry.

Visit Technical Safety BC’s website at bit.ly/3dwBeBf for more information about the B44-16 code requirements, online code courses and continuing education options available for mechanics.

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Nav Chahal

Nav Chahal

Manager of transportation at Technical Safety BC, an independent, self-funded provincial safety regulator for British Columbia. He has been involved in the elevating devices industry for almost 20 years, including the last 10 working at Technical Safety BC. He has a mechanical engineering background and is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and Canadian Standards Association code committees. He is also a board member of the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation of Canada.

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