1. All Elevators are inspected annually
In the state of West Virginia, elevator inspection is handled by the Department of Homeland Security, Elevators and Amusements. For existing buildings with elevators, the job of the elevator inspector is to annually inspect all elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other lifts, and issue certificates of operation. Part of this inspection is ensuring the annual and (if required) 5 year test performed by your elevator company is up to date.
2. You must pay the annual fee to the State, or you will not receive a certificate
In order to receive a certificate of operation for your elevator, you must pay the state their annual inspection fee. This is a common oversight and something to check on if your building has not yet received its certificates.
3. The elevator inspector does NOT send the inspection report to your elevator contractor
This is maybe the most important part of this piece. If the elevator inspector finds something and writes up the violation on his report, they will submit this report to the building owner or property manager. If you receive this report, you must send a copy to your elevator contractor so that they can help resolve the issues.
4. You can help keep your elevator compliant with the state
When the elevator inspector comes to your building, the objective is to make sure that the elevator is operating in a safe manner for all building occupants. Some items can be taken care of by you, and are best practices to keep your building safe:
• Elevator machine room or penthouse door should be self-closing and self-locking. This is prevents unauthorized personnel or children from entering the room and potentially getting injured or worse. This is outlined in the building code and will be written up by the inspector
• Elevator machine room lighting is adequate, in good working order, and with proper bulb guarding, if required. There are many hazards to a poorly lit room, and this can be written up by the inspector
• Elevator machine room cannot be used as a storage area. We have seen building maintenance or tenants stack material or furniture in the elevator machine room. This is a fire hazard and will be written up by the inspector.
• If possible, find out the phone number to your elevator phone line, and the service provider. Your elevator contractor will not be able to check your elevator phone operation if the there is no service to the phone line
5. Know what to look for in your elevator service provider
The most common items that an elevator inspector will write up are as follows:
• Elevator pit light is not functioning
• Elevator car top light not functioning
• Elevator pit is dirty and/or full of debris or water
• Elevator car top is dirty and/or full of debris
• Elevator annual tests or 5 year tests are past due
• Door reversing device not functioning
• Elevator emergency lights in cab not working
• Elevator fire recall service not working properly
• Door restrictor not working or missing
• Elevator Machine room used as storage, contains non elevator equipment
• Elevator machine room has no lighting
• Elevator machine room access door not compliant (not locked, self-closing, etc.)
• Elevator phone not working
• Elevator cables measured to be not within tolerance
A good preventative maintenance program should help keep these types of write ups to a minimum. Most items are easily correctable.
6. After your violation is corrected, you must file the report with the state
When your elevator service provider corrects the violation, the technician will sign the report saying that this item has been corrected. The building owner or property manager then takes this report and submits it to the State. Depending on the seriousness of the violation, the inspector may choose to come out and perform a re-inspection, or the inspector may wait until the following annual inspection to verify the items have been completed.
7. If you don’t resolve your elevator violations, your elevator can be shut down by the elevator inspector
If the violations are not resolved in this time frame requested by the state, you risk getting your elevator tagged out of service by the elevator inspector. Repeat violations increase the risk of a tag out. It is long and involved process to remove a state inspector tag out, and will likely result in weeks of costly downtime, loss of production, and/or angry tenants.
8. Before the inspector leaves your property, make sure that all your elevators are running normally
This doesn’t happen frequently, but every once in a while we get receive service calls that the elevator inspector left and the elevator now does not run. Most commonly, the inspector has accidentally left a stop switch pulled or forgot to turn the unit on automatic operation before leaving.