Workplace Safety - Elevator Machine Room Guarding
Workplace Safety Update
Elevator Machine Room Guarding
A year ago we informed all our managers that a major property owner had been fined $50,000 plus a 25% victim fine surcharge when an elevator technician badly injured his hands working, with a team of technicians, on an un-guarded elevator motor. See the details at the Ministry of Labour’s website.
All buildings managed by Brookfield Condominium Services Ltd. are expected to have proper elevator machine room guarding equipment installed. The need for such guarding equipment has been legislated and discussed for several years. There is no excuse for not having guards installed in your building’s elevator machine room. If you have traction elevators and you don’t have such guarding in place, management and the board should take immediate steps to obtain proposals and bring them to the board for approval.
As with many occupational health & safety issues, the matters are complex. The attached report entitled “Elevator Machine Room Equipment Guarding: A Best Practices Guideline Produced by Industry Stakeholders”, provided by Ray Eleid of Solucore Elevator Consultants, is considered to be the best source of information. A quick read of the Introduction and Executive Summary are a good place to for managers and boards to inform themselves.
In addition, the following key observations were provided by ElevatorOne on their website.
- The MOL guarding requirements have been in place for almost 20 years, so there is often no grace period for a building owner to achieve compliance.
- No one can provide a machine room guarding solution which is guaranteed to be in compliance. The MOL will not pre-approve any design. Even after a guarding system is installed, the MOL inspector may deem a guarding order to be in compliance, but then at a subsequent MOL inspection, the exact same guarding system could be written up as non-compliant. (see photos)
- Machine room guarding adds time and complexity (and ultimately cost) to the performance of elevator maintenance and trouble shooting.
- The MOL is the highest authority with respect to the need for having machine room guarding. The MOL’s guarding requirements are more stringent than those in the building code and those in the Elevator Safety Code.
- TSSA will not write directions requiring the installation of machine room guarding. The MOL writes the directions to install guarding and then later inspects the guarding to ensure conformance to the “green book”. TSSA will only ensure that the installation is done with licensed elevator personnel and that it does not adversely affect the safety of the elevator. This safety conformance is achieved by requiring that a professional engineer submit the appropriate “Minor A Alteration” documentation to TSSA. A TSSA inspector will then visit the elevator to verify that the installation conforms to the engineer’s design. The TSSA inspector also checks that the guarding does not infringe on any required clearances around the elevator equipment.
- The machine rooms for hydraulic elevators and handicapped lifts typically do not need guarding. Guarding is primarily required for traction elevators.
Samples of Elevator Machine Room Guarding Equipment
Again, if you do not have elevator machine room guarding equipment in place, you should contact your elevator service company or an elevator consultant to obtain a proposal and get it approved by the board. The Ministry of Labour is attentive to this matter and there is a real risk of substantial fines to your condominium corporation if the proper guarding equipment is not installed. Please note that the cost of such guarding can be charged to your reserve as it is required by legislation.
Every condominium corporation should act on this issue now if machine guarding equipment has not already been properly specified and installed.