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ASME A17 Standards for Elevators and Lifts

Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, industrial engineer, mother of two, and published sci-fi and horror author.

The ASME is best known for their boiler and pressure vessel standards. However, they issue standards for many different types of equipment - including elevators and lifts. The ASME A17 standard series covers safety codes and design standards for elevators, motorized lifts, motorized walkways and escalators. Several articles of the ASME A17 standards series are shared by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA).

Anyone designing or building lifts must follow ASME A17.

Anyone designing or building lifts must follow ASME A17.

Overview of ASME Standard A17

ASME A17.1 is the ASME Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators. It is also called Canadian Standards Association (CSA) B44. ASME A17.1 is further broken down into nine parts.

The A17.1 part 2 covers electric elevators while A17.1 part 3 addresses hydraulic elevators. A17.1 part 4 covers elevators that are neither electric nor hydraulic.

ASME standard A17.1.5 encompasses special application elevators. A17.1 part 6 covers escalators, moving walks and people movers. A17.1 part 7 addresses dumbwaiters, material lifts and other material handling elevators. A17.1 part 8 outlines other general requirements for lifts and elevators. A17.1 part 9 lists related standards, specifications and reference codes.

A17.1 requires stopping accuracy of elevators to be within half an inch of the floor to minimize the risk of passengers tripping when entering and existing the elevator. Elevators must have leveling devices to maintain this accuracy. Elevator doors that close horizontally with significant force must have a door-reversing device that permits the door to be reopened in case there is an obstruction while it is closing.

A17.1 mandates that two or more pairs of escalators are required for two-way service; one escalator cannot alternate travel directions. Escalators must have sufficient space for passengers to enter and exit without crowding. ASME A17.1 permits escalators to run at angles up to 31° though lesser inclines are allowed. ASME A17.1 outlines the allowed step widths and escalator speeds at different incline angles.

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ASME standard A17.2 is the inspection guide for elevators and escalators. It mandates periodic safety tests for escalators.

A17.3 provides the safety code for existing lifts. A17.3 covers residential as well as industrial and commercial lifts. A17.4 is a guide for emergency personnel when working on lifts, such as the use of emergency stops and controls to force doors open in case of a fire.

The A17.5/CSA B44.1 standard outlines the requirements for electrical equipment used along with lifts, escalators and moving sidewalks. This section includes lock-out tag-out procedures and shut down options that must be installed with elevators and escalators.

Elevators and lifts must meet A17.5 electrical standards to be in compliance with the safety code outlined in ASME A17.1, the ASME Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators. A17.6 gives the requirements for suspension systems. A17.7 outlines a performance based safety code.

What ASME A17 Elevator Standards Do Not Cover

ASME A17 standards do not cover personnel hoists. These are generally covered under ANSI A10.4. ASME standard A17 does not cover most material hoists; these are part of ANSI 10.5.

Stairway chair lifts such as those installed in the homes of the disabled typically fall under ASME A18.1. Mobile scaffolds fall under ASME A92. Conveyors that are not classified as moving sidewalks should meet ASME standard B20.1.

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