It pays to think safety first when you are designing and building homes from scratch or are updating existing properties to install an elevator. Taking the steps necessary to protect your team from injury will help you avoid construction delays. You’re also more likely to complete your projects on budget when you put an emphasis on safety. Additionally, your team will be happy that you’ve taken the steps needed to look out for their needs and protect them.
Construction jobs, including being an elevator mechanic or installer, are among the most dangerous in the U.S. Having a grasp of the hazards your team might face when installing a residential elevator is the first step to take toward elevator fall protection and other safety measures.
Hazards of Residential Elevator Installation
Working on a construction project, including residential elevator installation, brings with it a number of hazards, such as:
- Falls: A worker can fall from a height during elevator installation for many reasons. The structure they are working from might be unsteady, or they might lose their balance. Across the construction industry, falls are usually responsible for the greatest number of deaths each year.
- Electric shock: Electrical shock can occur during elevator installation if a mechanic is using a power tool that isn’t grounded. Shock can also happen if there are loose wires or conductive materials nearby.
- Not using personal protective equipment (PPE) properly: Workers at any job site should always be given the right protective equipment. For the most protection, it’s essential that they are shown how to use it properly.
- Scaffolding collapse: If scaffolding or a similar structure is being used during the installation process, it needs to be secure, constructed on solid ground and able to carry four times its maximum load. It’s also important that the scaffolding is constructed by a trained and experienced person and that workers are properly trained before they climb onto it.
- Getting struck by the elevator: As the installation process progresses, a worker could be struck by the elevator itself. If someone is working in the hoistway or elevator shaft, and the elevator begins to travel along the hoistway, they need to have ample time to get out of the way.
- Getting stuck in confined spaces: There’s also a risk that a worker will become stuck in the confined space of a hoistway during installation. The elevator shaft can be very narrow and difficult for a person to exit quickly in an emergency.
- Muscle strain: An elevator installer can develop injuries such as muscle strain, repetitive motion injuries or sprains as a result of the daily requirements of their job.
Is Being an Elevator Mechanic Dangerous?
The job of an elevator mechanic and installer can be a physically taxing one. Many installers need to be able to lift up to 200 pounds. As they work, an installer might need to stay in the same spot for an extended period and might have to work in a confined space such as the elevator shaft.
Along with the physical demands of the job, there is also a physical risk. Some of the injuries most commonly experienced by elevator installers include falls, electrical burns and muscle sprains. Providing installers with the appropriate protective equipment, such as helmets or hard hats and harnesses, can help to make their job safer.
Residential Elevator Installation Safety Tips
In 2019, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recorded 14 injuries involving elevators. Thirteen of the injuries were fatal, and the vast majority of them involved elevator installation or maintenance. Here’s what you can do during a residential elevator installation project to help keep the list of injuries, both fatal and non-fatal, as low as possible.
- Establish and review safety protocols: If you do not already have a set of safety protocols, now is the time to create them. Your safety measures can include clear instructions on what workers can do to minimize injury. They should also outline the steps to take in an emergency situation. Part of the protocols can include training people to lift objects safely to reduce the risk of sprains or strains.
- Train employees on the proper use of PPE: Hard hats and harnesses, as well as other types of PPE, can effectively reduce the risk of significant injury if a person falls or is struck by an object. For PPE to work effectively, a person needs to know how to wear it or how to use it. Offer training sessions to your team that demonstrate how to use a harness as well as how to remove or safely get out of a harness after a fall.
- Always secure ladders and scaffolding: Scaffolds and other structures that require a person to be at a height should always be properly assembled and fully secured. They need to be on steady ground. Additionally, a ladder or scaffold should not be moved from one location to another while someone is on it.
- Turn off electrical power: If possible, turn off the power to the elevator before beginning any work on it. The condition of any cables or wires should also be carefully monitored. Avoid using any wires that are frayed or otherwise showing signs of significant wear.
- Make sure power tools are grounded: Any power tools used during the installation of an elevator should be properly grounded.
- Don’t overload an elevated surface: Along with securing ladders or scaffolding, it’s also important to make sure that they are not carrying more weight than they are rated for.
- Use the buddy system: Create a buddy system to protect workers who need to travel into the hoistway or another confined area. While one person is in the tight spot, their “buddy” can act as a spotter, alerting them to any changes and alerting others to the presence of the worker in the shaft.
Work With a Trusted Elevator Manufacturer
Another way to make sure the elevator installation process is as safe as possible is to partner with a trusted elevator manufacturer. Inclinator has been building high-quality, safe and reliable elevators for many years. We perform extensive testing to ensure that our elevators pass all safety measures. Many of our elevators have been in service for decades and still operate safely. We’re also here to provide top-notch technical support when needed.
Contact Inclinator to Learn More About Our Residential Elevators
Inclinator has been providing safe and reliable elevators to residential builders and architects for decades. If you are considering making residential elevators part of your next building project, we will work with you to create an elevator that meets your needs and complements the properties you design. We build all of our elevators to order, meaning you’ll get the exact size and design you need. Contact us today to learn more.