Uplifting the Safety of Aged Lifts in Hong Kong

CW Chan
Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, Government of HKSAR, Hong Kong SAR.

Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated cities.  There are around 70 000 lifts operation to transport millions of people in the built environment of the territory.  In general, safe use of lift can be safeguarded through proper periodic examination and maintenance.  Owing to rapid technological advancement, modern lifts are equipped with more comprehensive safety devices than the aged ones.  Lift modernisation could transform aged lifts to deliver more versatile services with enhanced safety, reliability and comfortability.  In view of the above, the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (“EMSD”) of the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (“HKSAR”) of the People’s Republic of China as the “regulator”, “facilitator” and “promoter” of the safety of lifts in the HKSAR, actively introduced multidimensional measures for uplifting the safety of aged lifts, thereby enhancing public safety.  While the EMSD has been paying attention to the progress of lift modernisation works, the EMSD stepped up the surveillance of aged lifts and requested the responsible persons and registered contractors to step up the maintenance of aged lifts, which have not yet been modernised, in particular for those components that may affect the safe operation of lifts.  At the same time, the Government has made available financial assistance with appropriate professional support to building owners in need to modernise or replace their aged lifts.  In the long run, the EMSD will consider mandating lift modernisation works by making reference to relevant experience in other countries, the enactment and enforcement of similar ordinances in Hong Kong as well as taking into account the impact on the community and the trade.  This paper will share the experience, effectiveness and challenges faced when implementing measures to enhance the safety of aged lifts in Hong Kong.
Examples will be coded in MATLAB and presented to illustrate the method and its results. 

Brake Failures

David A. Cooper1,2 , Lutfi Al Sharif3,4
1LECS (UK) Ltd, UK. 2University of Northampton, UK. 3The University of Jordan, Jordan.  4Peters Research Ltd, UK.

Brake failures affect many types of equipment and whilst many efforts have been made in standards to improve the outcome of a brake failure they still occur. The consequences of a failure can range from a near-miss to one or more fatalities.   Many service technicians take the view that with the introduction of variable frequency drives into the lift and escalator industry that the brake no longer needs maintaining. This paper will demonstrate that this opinion is incorrect. The paper will look at what happens when a brake fails, the causes of brake failure, examples of brake failures and how standards have developed to reduce the risk of brake failure.

A Brief History of Lift Safety Devices

Lee Gray
University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA.

The history of lift technology is, essentially, the history of lift safety devices. Passenger safety has always been a primary focus of the lift industry and all aspects of lift technology are typically designed with regard to safety. For over 175 years the invention of safety devices has followed a developmental pattern predicated on an assessment of risk, the needs of different lift types (passenger or goods), lessons learned from actual lift operation, and changes in lift systems and technologies. The latter factor has been influenced by changes implemented by lift manufacturers, changes desired by lift users, and changes inspired by events that occurred outside the lift industry. Critical safety concerns have included rope failure, over-speed, access to lift cars and shafts, automatic door operation, leveling, and overloading. This paper will offer a chronological overview of the development of lift safety devices and will, when possible, link the appearance of a given safety device to a specific cause, determining factor, perceived problem, or change in use. This history of lift safety devices will reveal that the development of these systems followed both logical and (occasionally) somewhat illogical paths.

Challenging Our Thinking Regarding Elevator Incidents

Roger Kahler, Nicholas Pierce
InterSafe, Australia.

The purpose of this paper is firstly to present an understanding of the elevator fatality problem. Fatalities will then be presented in the context of the overall burden of personal damage. Damage to people can be classified as multiple fatality, single fatality, non-fatal permanent damage, temporary, and minor damage. The patterns or taxonomies associated with each class of damage are generally quite different from one another. The paper will suggest that the damage class of non-fatal permanent damage represents 80% of the cost of all damage (by any measure) and yet data with respect to elevators is seriously lacking on this class of damage. If we cannot describe the non-fatal permanent damage problem, we form hypotheses as to whether or not it is simply a subset of another level of damage. For example, a hypothesis could be “non-fatal permanent damage is a subset of fatalities. Therefore, manage fatalities and you will manage non-fatal permanent damage”. 

If the hypothesis is true, the overall size of the problem will alter. If the hypothesis is not true, we do not impact a critical class of damage. The proposition that will be put before the conference is that we cannot describe the size and nature of the problem associated with non-fatal permanent damage associated with elevators. Herein lies an opportunity, but the beginning point is the recognition of the gap.
Additionally, the paper will present a model for thinking about the timeline of an elevator fatality event, suggesting there is still much more to do in the engineering space versus the procedural/training space. For example, Engineers need to be challenged to think about elevator equipment and the elevator shaft more strongly as an information detector, information processor, and decision maker. This will allow for controls to be found in the metastable and unstable time zones of an incident. Several elevator fatalities will be presented to illustrate.

Future Modernizations

Rory Smith
University Of Northampton, UK.

Modernization has been a part of the lift industry for a very long time.  There are buildings that are over 100years old that have been modernized multiple times but continue to use the original direct current machine.  Both societal changes and technical innovations will make the modernizations of the very near future different from the modernizations of the present.

The motivations for modernization, the societal changes, and the technical innovations will all be reviewed.  The benefits of the next generation modernization will also be explored.