All Posts by Nicole Van Velzen

Mental Health Awareness Resources

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), construction has one of the highest suicide rates of any industry, with suicide deaths five times greater than all other construction deaths combined. Mental health in the construction industry is an invisible health hazard that the building transportation industry takes very seriously. 


Long hours, physically demanding work and high stress in the industry are among the reasons there are higher suicide rates and mental health concerns in the construction industry.


Resources:

Center for Construction Research and Training Suicide Prevention Resources

Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Suicide Prevention Workplace Tools

OSHA: Preventing Suicides

Podcast: Suicide Prevention Awareness for Construction

Suicide Prevention Resource Center

About NEII

NEII is the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry. Its members install, maintain, and/or manufacture elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other building transportation products. NEII‘s membership includes the six major international companies – Fujitec America, Inc., KONE, Inc., Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc., Otis Elevator Company, Schindler Elevator Corporation, TK Elevator  and several other companies across the country. Collectively, the NEII members represent approximately eighty percent of the total hours worked within the elevator and escalator industry, employ more than 25,000 people in the U.S. and indirectly support hundreds of thousands of American jobs in affiliate industries. 

For more information about NEII, please visit www.neii.org


RECEIVE IMPORTANT INDUSTRY UPDATES

JOIN THE NEII INSIDER NEWSLETTER

Elevators in Emergency Occupant Evacuation

Any regular elevator user in North America is likely to be familiar with a particular sign posted in all elevator

lobbies warning the public not to use elevators in case of a fire. These ubiquitous signs are mandated by the

ASME A17.1/CSA B44 Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators, the International Code Council’s

International Building Code used in most of the United States, the National Building Code of Canada, and

through numerous local codes and ordinances. These signs have done their job well—rarely does one see

building occupants jamming the “down” button in elevator lobbies while a fire alarm blares throughout a

building.


The reasons behind prohibiting the use of elevators in a fire were based on historical concerns that have

become modern anachronisms in new buildings. Due to today’s advances in building design and elevator

technology, working elevators don’t become inoperable in fire situations, trapping passengers as the

environment becomes untenable. There isn’t necessarily a serious loss of power to the building or a shutdown

of the elevator system due to intrusion of water into the elevator shafts, capturing passengers engulfed by

smoke or fire.


Ironically, there have been instances that predate our modern building and safety codes in which elevators

have saved countless lives in fatal fire conditions. For example, the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in

Manhattan was New York City’s deadliest industrial fire. One hundred forty-six garment workers died from

fire, smoke inhalation or falling or jumping to their deaths from the 10-story windows. During the disaster,

two elevator operators who could assess the conditions of the conflagration chose to stay at their jobs, making

trips to the eighth and tenth floors to carry an estimated 150 workers to safety —approximately half the

number of survivors.


By mid-century, elevator operators were giving way to automatic operation by elevator passengers, directing

their desired destination but lacking any knowledge of whether an elevator was safe in a fire situation. In the

1970s, a number of fatalities occurred in high-rise building fires where people were trapped in smoke-filled

hoistways or taken to a floor where a fire was active.


The Elevator Safety Code responded to this hazard by introducing Phase I firefighter service as a requirement

for new elevators in the late 1970s. This service automatically returns elevators to a main floor and placed out

of service when smoke is detected in an elevator hoistway, lobby or machine room.


In the 1980s, views on using elevators to evacuate building occupants in emergency

situations began to evolve. As accessibility for persons with disabilities became a social goal

– and eventually a civil right under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 – policy

makers called for changes to provide evacuation for everyone. For persons using wheelchairs

or those with a limited capacity to use exit stairs, elevators are really the only viable option

in emergency circumstances. Still, using elevators to evacuate non-disabled building

occupants in building fires remained an idea outside of the norm.


All of this changed on September 11, 2001 with the attack on the World Trade Center. Nearly 3,000 died as

the Twin Towers collapsed, with desperate office workers leaping to their death from some 90 stories in the

sky. Many have theorized that had the building elevators remained operational as a means to evacuate the

upper stories of the buildings, more lives could have been saved. In fact, in the 18 minutes after the North

Tower was struck, hundreds of workers chose to evacuate the South Tower and reach safety on the ground

floor by using the building’s elevators.


In 2002, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) began to study the evacuation issues

related to the attack in its World Trade Center Disaster Study. Shortly after, the model code groups held a

“Workshop on the Use of Elevators in Fires and Other Emergencies” in March 2004, in Atlanta, Georgia. The

workshop was co-sponsored by American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), National Institute of

Standards and Technology (NIST), International Code Council (ICC), National Fire Protection Association

(NFPA), U.S. Access Board, and the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF). As a result, the ASME

A17 Elevator Standards Committee established a Task Group on the use of elevators for occupant evacuation.

Within nine years the NFPA and ICC building codes and the ASME A17.1/CSA B44 Elevator Code, in

conjunction with requirements in the fire alarm code, etc. all had new provisions. These permitted extremely

high-rise buildings to use elevator systems to safely remove building occupants from the upper stories of a

building during fire. In fact, the International Building Code has incentives for installing these types of

elevators where a building exceeds 420 feet in height.


Professionals now recognize that properly designed buildings with occupant evacuation elevators can provide

the safest and quickest way to get people to safety in fires and other emergency conditions. These specially

designed buildings protect elevator lobbies, hoistways and machine rooms from the intrusion of fire, smoke

and water. Requirements for compartmentalization, fire-resistive construction, and sprinkler protection make

buildings safer and provide additional safeguards for persons who cannot use exit stairs to evacuate a fire

floor or building. With extremely high-rise construction in particular, using elevators versus the exit stairs can

shave hours off of the time it takes for building occupants to move from close proximity to a fire to the safety

of the outdoors.


Just as elevator technology has come a long way since the “Do Not Ride” days, standard fire safety

precautions have as well. Most high-rise buildings now have codes that require designated floor wardens and

searchers to assist in the efficient evacuation of fellow occupants. Monthly fire drills and equipment checks

are also commonplace.


As the Chicago condominium fire fatality just two short years ago reminds us, we still have work to do.

However, once the technology, building codes, and education all fall into place, the public will start noticing a

new crop of signs popping up in the lobbies of high-rise and extremely high-rise buildings. “In case of fire,

elevators are out of service” will slowly be replaced by “Elevators are available for evacuation.”



Originally published in the NEII Insider, March 17, 2015

About NEII

NEII is the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry. Its members install, maintain, and/or manufacture elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other building transportation products. NEII‘s membership includes the six major international companies – Fujitec America, Inc., KONE, Inc., Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc., Otis Elevator Company, Schindler Elevator Corporation, TK Elevator  and several other companies across the country. Collectively, the NEII members represent approximately eighty percent of the total hours worked within the elevator and escalator industry, employ more than 25,000 people in the U.S. and indirectly support hundreds of thousands of American jobs in affiliate industries. 

For more information about NEII, please visit www.neii.org


RECEIVE IMPORTANT INDUSTRY UPDATES

JOIN THE NEII INSIDER NEWSLETTER

NEII Announces New Staff

TOPEKA, KS. (APRIL 14, 2022)

The National Elevator Industry, Inc. (NEII), the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry, announced three new hires with government affairs and safety expertise to expand its influence in the regulatory and legislative arenas. The new members of NEII’s team include:

Trent Behr, Director of Safety – Prior to joining NEII, Trent served as a project manager for Global Power Technologies, where he led teams and managed the electrical power monitoring system of mission-critical buildings including the Google Southlands Data Center. In addition, Trent has experience in overseeing inspections to assess for code compliance and in industrial hygiene and safety engineering. He has bachelor degrees in political science and psychology and is currently working towards a Master of Public Administration. Read Trent’s complete bio here.

Savannah Clarkston, Assistant Director of Government Affairs – Savannah brings experience in public policy analysis, research project management, and consensus building to her new position at NEII. She earned a Master of Public Policy and has worked to unite stakeholders regardless of political affiliation to implement policy-based solutions to improve lives in her prior positions. Read Savannah’s complete bio here.


Billy J. Taylor, Director of Government Affairs – Before Billy joined the NEII team, he served in various roles in the public and private sectors in developing advocacy and media strategies to influence public policy. With over 18 years of experience in government affairs and communications, he previously served as Director of Legislative Affairs for the Council of Producers and Distributors of Agrotechnology, where he represented more than 70 companies on Capitol Hill. Read Billy’s complete bio here.


“As we continue to set higher and more strategic goals, I am excited to announce an expansion of NEII’s team to meet the challenges ahead," said Amy Blankenbiller, Executive Director of NEII. “Trent, Savannah and Billy are joining our hard-working and effective team, and I am looking forward to seeing the achievements this staff can make on behalf of the building transportation industry.”


Download this release here.


About NEII

NEII is the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry. Its members install, maintain, and/or manufacture elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other building transportation products. NEII‘s membership includes the six major international companies – Fujitec America, Inc., KONE, Inc., Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc., Otis Elevator Company, Schindler Elevator Corporation, TK Elevator and several other companies across the country. Collectively, the NEII members represent approximately eighty percent of the total hours worked within the elevator and escalator industry, employ more than 25,000 people in the U.S. and indirectly support hundreds of thousands of American jobs in affiliate industries. 

For more information about NEII, please visit www.neii.org

OSHA Focus Four Campaign Resources

Each year, the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) presents a four month campaign to raise awareness and education on the top four safety hazards in the construction industry. NEII is gathering the resources we have received from OSHA Region 3 to provide a single place to find a wealth of information on electrical, struck-by, fall and caught-in/between hazards. In 2020, the focus four hazards were responsible for 57% of construction worker deaths.


Eliminating these four hazards would save 574 lives each year. Click here for the statistics.


Start here for tips for conducting a successful toolbox talk

struck-by hazards


Electrical hazards


other Toolbox Talks



About NEII

NEII is the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry. Its members install, maintain, and/or manufacture elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other building transportation products. NEII's membership includes the six major international companies – Fujitec America, Inc., KONE, Inc., Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc., Otis Elevator Company, Schindler Elevator Corporation, Thyssenkrupp Elevator Company and several other companies across the country. Collectively, the NEII members represent approximately eighty percent of the total hours worked within the elevator and escalator industry, employ more than 25,000 people in the U.S. and indirectly support hundreds of thousands of American jobs in affiliate industries. 

For more information about NEII, please visit www.neii.org


RECEIVE IMPORTANT INDUSTRY UPDATES

JOIN THE NEII INSIDER NEWSLETTER

Construction Inclusion Week 2021

October 18-22, 2021 marks the inaugural Construction Inclusion Week to identify ways to advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in construction. NEII is proud to support the efforts. Below are resources to support Construction Inclusion Week and any other efforts to increase DEI. 

Daily webinars held at 12pm ET throughout Construction Inclusion Week are available here

Toolbox Talks are available here

Learn more about Construction Inclusion Week here.  


DEI and Community Service Resources



About NEII

NEII is the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry. Its members install, maintain, and/or manufacture elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other building transportation products. NEII‘s membership includes the six major international companies – Fujitec America, Inc., KONE, Inc., Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc., Otis Elevator Company, Schindler Elevator Corporation, TK Elevator  and several other companies across the country. Collectively, the NEII members represent approximately eighty-five percent of the total hours worked within the elevator and escalator industry, employ more than 25,000 people in the U.S. and indirectly support hundreds of thousands of American jobs in affiliate industries. 

For more information about NEII, please visit www.neii.org

NEII Announces 2021 Board of Directors

TOPEKA, KS. (AUGUST 2, 2021)

NATIONAL ELEVATOR INDUSTRY, INC. Announces 2021 Board of Directors


The Board of Directors will lead the NEII mission as the organization continues to represent the global leaders in the building transportation industry through advocacy and code development.


The National Elevator Industry, Inc. (NEII), the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry, announced the election of its Board of Directors and officers. The leadership team will serve a one-year term. The elected officers of the Board of Directors include:


  • Greg Ergenbright, President – Ergenbright has been President of Schindler Elevator Corporation’s U.S. operations since 2013. He has 25 years’ experience in the elevator industry.
  • Erik Zommers, Vice President - Zommers is senior Vice President/General Manager of Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc.'s Elevator and Escalator Division. He has been with Mitsubishi Electric since 1989 and is in charge of all US operations for the division.
  • Jared Radabaugh, Treasurer - Radabaugh is the Global BU Controller at Prysmian Group, where he provides financial, analytical, and decision-making support to the Elevator Escalator business units.
  • Amy Blankenbiller, Secretary – Blankenbiller is the Executive Director of NEII and leads the staff team to drive the industry's objectives. She brings over 30 years of experience in public relations, government affairs and policy development to her role.

In addition to the officers, returning members of the NEII Board of Directors include:


  • James Cramer, Otis Elevator Company – Cramer has been with Otis Elevator Company for over 35 years and is currently the President of Otis Americas.
  • Gary Krupp, Fujitec America, Inc. - Krupp organizes and oversees the management of operations, engineering, manufacturing, sales and marketing and service across the United States and Canada as the President of Fujitec America, Inc. Mr. Krupp has over 25 years in the elevator industry and began his career with Fujitec in 2002.
  • Kevin Lavallee, TK Elevator - Lavallee serves as the President and CEO of TK Elevator North America and global COO Field at TK Elevator where he has a history of over 30 years in both the U.S. and Canada with the company.
  • Sterrett Lloyd, Draka EHC – Lloyd currently holds the position of President at Draka EHC where he directs the company's worldwide operations. He began his lifetime of industry service as a contractor and is the third generation of his family to work in the industry.
  • Ken Schmid, KONE Americas - Schmid leads KONE Americas as Executive Vice President, also serving as a member of KONE's Executive Board. He has been with KONE in a series of successive leadership roles for 35 years.

The NEII Board of Directors sets the strategic direction of the association to drive its mission to advance safety and innovation in the building transportation industry throughout North America.


“As president of the NEII Board of Directors, I will work with my colleagues to build on our association’s successes and continue moving our industry goals forward," said Greg Ergenbright, President of NEII. “I'm honored to serve with this group of recognized leaders in the building transportation industry as we  promote safety, drive innovation, and work towards a more inclusive labor force.”


Download the Media Release

About NEII

NEII is the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry. Its members install, maintain, and/or manufacture elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other building transportation products. NEII‘s membership includes the six major international companies – Fujitec America, Inc., KONE, Inc., Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc., Otis Elevator Company, Schindler Elevator Corporation, TK Elevator and several other companies across the country. Collectively, the NEII members represent approximately eighty-five percent of the total hours worked within the elevator and escalator industry, employ more than 25,000 people in the U.S. and indirectly support hundreds of thousands of American jobs in affiliate industries. 

For more information about NEII, please visit www.neii.org


RECEIVE IMPORTANT INDUSTRY UPDATES

JOIN THE NEII INSIDER NEWSLETTER

NEII CodeFinder Tutorial

Watch our brief tutorial video on accessing and using NEII's CodeFinder database. 


About US

NEII is the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry. Its members install, maintain, and/or manufacture elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other building transportation products. NEII‘s membership includes the six major international companies – Fujitec America, Inc., KONE, Inc., Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc., Otis Elevator Company, Schindler Elevator Corporation, TK Elevator and several other companies across the country. Collectively, the NEII members represent approximately eighty percent of the total hours worked within the elevator and escalator industry, employ more than 25,000 people in the U.S. and indirectly support hundreds of thousands of American jobs in affiliate industries. 

For more information about NEII, please visit www.neii.org


RECEIVE IMPORTANT INDUSTRY UPDATES

JOIN THE NEII INSIDER NEWSLETTER

NEII Position on the Adoption of ASME A17.1/CSA B44-16

The most effective way of ensuring the safety of the riding public as well as elevator personnel is by the adoption of the latest version of the ASME A17.1/CSA B44 Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators. This state-of-the-art code is widely used throughout North America and is updated regularly. The code represents the optimum in safety as it is developed and refined by hundreds of experienced experts representing all aspects of the elevator industry. Such expertise is drawn from enforcing authorities, mechanical and electrical engineering and design experts, inspectors, consultants, labor authorities, building and facility owners, and installation and maintenance specialists.

The code development process consists of a thorough consensus-building protocol which invites examination of proposed code language and the opportunity to comment on and suggest modifications to such language. The process also includes the opportunity for a thorough public review of any proposed language. In view of the thoroughness of the process, all issues are examined in-depth, and pitfalls and shortcomings are fully addressed before publication of the code.

 
Particular attention is given to requirements for acceptance and periodic inspection as well as ongoing maintenance. Such requirements are regularly updated to ensure the highest levels of safety.
Adoption of the most recent version of the ASME A17.1/CSA B44 code without modification in all jurisdictions ensures a uniform high level of safety throughout North America. 

 

ASME A17.1-2016/CSA B44-16 is the latest version of the code, published November 30, 2016 with an effective date of May 30, 2017. Some of the important enhancements in this edition of the code are as follows:


  • Added requirements for hoistway access switch location, Phase I recall operation with closed hoistway doors, escalator braking distance monitor, and requirements for elevators not in automatic operation.
  • Updated seismic requirements for consistency with the ICC International Building Code, the National Building Code of Canada, and ASCE 7.
  • Updated overhead clearance requirements to compensate for removal of refuge space in earlier edition. Updated requirements for Rack & Pinion and Special Purpose Personnel Elevators. Moved Wind Turbine Elevator requirements to new A17.8 document.
  • Reduced hoistway door to car door clearances on Private Residence elevators and added car door deflection and strength criteria. Updated and clarified several requirements for existing elevators and alterations.

NEII is committed to public and elevator personnel safety and is ready to support the authorities having jurisdiction in understanding the latest version of the code and assisting in the process of adoption. To this end NEII provides information and training on the code and related issues, using webinars and podcasts in addition to meetings with interested parties.


Approved:
The NEII Central Code Committee is responsible for maintaining this position paper. This position paper shall be in effect for three (3) years from the date of approval by the NEII Central Code Committee.


NEII Central Code Committee: July 19, 2017


About NEII

NEII is the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry. Its members install, maintain, and/or manufacture elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other building transportation products. NEII‘s membership includes the six major international companies – Fujitec America, Inc., KONE, Inc., Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc., Otis Elevator Company, Schindler Elevator Corporation, TK Elevator Company and several other companies across the country. Collectively, the NEII members represent approximately eighty percent of the total hours worked within the elevator and escalator industry, employ more than 25,000 people in the U.S. and indirectly support hundreds of thousands of American jobs in affiliate industries. 

For more information about NEII, please visit www.neii.org

NEII Position on Fire Service Access Elevators in the 2012 IBC


This position paper is issued by the National Elevator Industry, Inc. (NEII) in response to concerns about a conflict between the requirements for Fire Service Access Elevators (FSAE) in the 2021 IBC and ASME A17.1/CSA B44. In addition, it addresses a clarification provided by the 2015 IBC.


The 2012 IBC added a new requirement addressing elevator Phase I emergency recall operation. This requirement was deleted in the 2015 IBC.


“3007.2 Phase I Emergency recall operation. Actuation of any building fire alarm-initiating device shall initiate Phase I emergency recall operation on all fire service access elevators in accordance with the requirements in ASME A17.1/CSA B44. All other elevators shall remain in normal service unless Phase I emergency recall operation is manually initiated by a separate, required three-position, key-operated “Fire Recall” switch or automatically initiated by the associated elevator lobby, hoistway or elevator machine room smoke detectors. In addition, if the building also contains occupant evacuation elevators in accordance with Section 3008, an independent, three-position, key-operated “Fire Recall” switch conforming to the applicable requirements in ASME A17.1/CSA B44 shall be provided at the designated level for each fire service access elevator.”

 

The conflict is created by the first sentence. It requires initiation of Phase I emergency recall operation in accordance with ASME A17.1/CSA B44 but also states that it should be upon activation of any building fire alarm initiating device.


The ASME A17.1/CSA B44 Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators referenced by the IBC requires fire alarm initiating devices installed in conformance to NFPA 72 to be located at each elevator lobby, associated elevator machine rooms and spaces, and in the elevator hoistway to initiate FEO Phase1 emergency recall operation (section 2.27.3.2.1).


The NFPA 72 Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, section 21.3.3 requires only the elevator lobby, hoistway and machine room detectors to be used to recall elevators for fire fighter service unless otherwise required by the AHJ. Initiation of Phase I elevator recall upon activation of any fire alarm initiating device in the building is not permitted.


Elevators recalled unnecessarily by FAIDs outside of the elevator lobby, hoistways and machine rooms are not available to persons with disabilities who require elevators to egress the building. This will require resources from first responders to locate and evacuate those persons. The use of these resources could be better deployed addressing the fire/emergency.


Unnecessary recall of the elevators may also create confusion and cause delays for the firefighters. The confusion and delays would occur if all elevators are recalled because the firefighters will not know which ones are safe to use. If only the affected elevators are recalled the firefighters can capture a non- recalled elevator immediately for their use.


Elevators that are recalled on Phase I Emergency recall operation by “any fire alarm-initiating device” will require either elevator personnel or emergency personnel to reset Phase I Emergency recall operation so that the recalled elevator(s) can return to automatic operation. By code this cannot be done by building personnel. The result will be unnecessary removal of elevators from automatic operation and significant delays in returning these elevators to automatic operation.


Requiring compliance with this policy in existing buildings that currently comply with ASME A17.1/CSA B44 creates significant burdens in the areas of permitting, inspections, equipment, and costs.


Another concern expressed with the 2012 IBC was the requirements in 3007.7.5 for the Fire Service access elevator symbol are not clear. There were two issues. The first was that it was not clear how the three inch minimum dimension was applied. The second was due to the fact that the code book is not printed in color and there was some confusion as to whether the symbol had to be black and white only. Both of these issues were clarified in the 2015 IBC. The three inch dimension applies to the rectangular field around the fire hat. The symbol is allowed to be any combination of light and dark colors to provide contrast.


NEII is committed to public and elevator personnel safety and is ready to support the authorities having jurisdiction in understanding the latest version of the code and assisting in the process of adoption. To this end NEII provides information and training on the code and related issues, using webinars and podcasts in addition to meetings with interested parties.


Approved:

The NEII Central Code Committee is responsible for maintaining this position paper. This position paper shall be in effect for three (3) years from the date of approval by the NEII Central Code Committee.


NEII Central Code Committee: February 19. 2016

Elevators & Escalators are the Safest Form of Transportation

NEII's popular Going Up infographic was updated to include data to 2020. 


Click the graphic below to download a PDF.

Going Up Safe Transportation Infographic

About NEII

NEII is the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry. Its members install, maintain, and/or manufacture elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other building transportation products. NEII‘s membership includes the six major international companies – Fujitec America, Inc., KONE, Inc., Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc., Otis Elevator Company, Schindler Elevator Corporation, Thyssenkrupp Elevator Company and several other companies across the country. Collectively, the NEII members represent approximately eighty percent of the total hours worked within the elevator and escalator industry, employ more than 25,000 people in the U.S. and indirectly support hundreds of thousands of American jobs in affiliate industries. 

For more information about NEII, please visit www.neii.org