Car Top Guard Rail / Car Top Railing Deadline is Quickly ApproachingDoug Guderian
The December 1, 2013 deadline to have all non-conforming elevator cars upgraded with car top safety railings is almost here. Building owners, who have not already contracted with an elevator company to do the work, will probably find themselves scrambling to find a contractor who can actually fit the work into their schedule. These owners will likely pay more to have the work done since overtime work and other rush costs will be required to complete the upgrades prior to TSSA’s deadline.
The Status of the Elevator Industry
The elevator industry is currently very busy due to a number of factors. The economy has been steady to strong in most areas of Ontario for the past few years, which has kept most elevator companies’ labour forces fully booked. The extra work of these car top railing upgrades has added to the workload. The recent strike by the unionized sector of the elevator industry, took about half of the province’s elevator work force out of the market for a couple of months. This hole in the labour pool has put a higher demand on all of the elevator mechanics in the province and many regular projects are significantly behind schedule. Trying to get caught up on these projects does not leave much or any manpower to do the car top railing work with many of the companies.
Are Most Elevators already completed?
When the legislation first came out, about half of the elevating devices in Ontario needed Car Top Railings installed or upgraded. Through interactions with other elevator contractor’s, we get the sense that in the two and a half years since this legislation first came into force, about 2/3rds of the elevators have had the work completed, or almost completed. Different contractors have completed anywhere from 50% to 90% of the elevators in their portfolios. It is somewhat surprising that some building owners have not even given approval to have the work done yet. Without placing an order for a guardrail, the elevator will not even get into the queue to get the work done. In recent years, TSSA has been enforcing an elevator shut-down policy for non-conformance to legislation, so these owners could find themselves without elevator service after Dec. 1, 2013.
History of this Requirement
The Ontario safety legislation requires any elevator car top with a gap beside or behind the car of more than 30 cm (12 inches) to have a car top guardrail. The exact details of this legislation, which has been in place for years now, can be found in the: TSSA Director’s Order 245/10. This work needs to be completed by December 1, 2013. There have been accidents and fatalities for workers on elevators that probably would have been prevented by having these guardrails on all of the applicable elevators.
Advice for Owners
If you have not already had a discussion with your elevator contractor, check with them to see if your elevator requires a Car Top Guard Rail. Also see the article: Do I need a Car Top Guard Rail on my Elevator? Most reputable contractors have been working actively with their customers to provide proposals and inform them if their elevators need car top railings. If you have not placed an order to have the work done, PLACE THE ORDER TODAY! No one including your elevator contractor and TSSA want to see you without elevator service, or someone having a preventable injury on your elevator (Note: consider your added legal liability as a building owner and personally if you neglect this legal requirement). Once the work has been completed, make sure that you have one copy of the Registered TSSA Design Submission of the alteration in your files and one on site for the inspector and the mechanic as required by legislation. After this, any maintenance work or repairs to the guard rail should fall within the scope of most preventative maintenance agreements.