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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


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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


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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


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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 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


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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

NEII Announces New Executive Director

TOPEKA, KS. (SEPTEMBER 15, 2020)

Amy Blankenbiller will be stepping into the role of Executive Director at the National Elevator Industry, Inc. (NEII) effective Friday, October 16. 


Amy, who has been NEII's Vice President of Government Affairs since 2009, brings over 30 years of leadership, advocacy, strategic planning and management experience to this new position. Her track record speaks for itself, and we are fortunate that Amy will be leading NEII as our industry works to advance safety, strengthen relationships, and promote innovation. 


Formerly, Amy was the President and founder of AjB Strategies, LLC, a consulting firm working with associations, organizations and private businesses to implement government policy strategies, and President/CEO of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce. She also spent nearly twenty years in the Washington, DC area where she worked on federal and state policy efforts, as well as association management issues. Most notably, Amy received an appointment from President George H.W. Bush and served in his Administration. She also worked on Capitol Hill for both a U.S. Representative and a U.S. Senator. 


The Board of Directors thanks NEII's current Executive Director Karen Penafiel for her valuable contributions over the last four years, which includes assembling a top-notch staff, spearheading the development of a professional website and branding, and overseeing a strong advocacy program.


We wish Karen well and congratulate Amy on her new role within the NEII organization. 


Greg Ergenbright

President, National Elevator Industry, Inc. 

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


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Safety Stand-Down Tools

September 14-18, 2020 was the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration's 7th Annual  Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction Week. 

Many resources have been developed for safety stand-down events and toolbox talks. 


Safety STand-Down REsources


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


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Recommendations to States Related to Building Transportation Equipment during COVID-19 Reopening Efforts

Everyone is trying to figure out what will be the new “normal” in the era of Covid-19, and we have seen lots of questions related to the use, cleaning and design of elevators and escalators within discussions about the types of services our industry can offer. One thing is certain: Transmission of the disease occurs when people are in close proximity to one another, and the space in elevators and on escalators presents opportunities for meeting the challenges of the pandemic.


We also know that many routine tasks and others aspects of commerce have changed – people are queued six feet apart to check-out of retail stores, mail packages, etc.; wearing masks is socially expected in public places; and sanitizing  surfaces and surroundings has become the norm.

The building transportation industry has the opportunity to shape the debate around the regulation and use of our equipment, and we need to take assertive action. In order to ensure the appropriate management of issues related to elevators and escalators and to assist states in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and related recovery, NEII is proposing the following: 

COVID-19 Response and Beyond (Long-Term Recommendations)

Encourage the use of “touchless” phone and app-based systems so passengers can call elevators and/or select floors from a personal device through the internet without a need to push the standard elevator buttons from the lobbies or within the car.

  • Jurisdictions should ensure that all such systems providing users a method to call cars and/or select floors from a personal device (or other alternative means), including those that connect through the internet, can be utilized.

Adopt the most recent edition of the A17.1 model elevator code (ASME A17.1/CSA B44, Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators) so that the safest and most cost-effective standards are in place and to support a strong economic recovery.

  • Jurisdictions following older versions of A17.1 are encouraged to update their elevator code to the most recent edition (2019).
  • Adopting the most recent code will significantly reduce the number of variances that may be needed each year. Variances add costs and delays, many of which can be avoided by adopting the most recent codes.
  • Manufactures design to the most recent code nationally. Building owners benefit from the economies of scale by purchasing these pre-engineered models, as well as the on-time installation of standard elevators rather than devoting resources to troubleshooting changes specific to any one jurisdiction.

Allow elevator companies to self-attest to the completion of specific work identified by inspectors during annual and other required inspections.

  • Jurisdictions across the U.S. and Canada all face challenges of managing increasing workloads with limited resources.
  • Deficiencies identified during annual inspections are often related to non-life-safety items, many of which are minor such as elevator button lights, etc.
  • Self-attestations related to the completion of the work related to items such as these will reduce the time inspectors dedicate to re-inspections, freeing resources for the completion of annual and other required inspections.
    • Spot-checks can be done to confirm compliance, or those items can be verified during the next scheduled inspection.
  • Citizens need to be confident that all elevators will be inspected every year, especially when equipment will be returned to service after being idle or  shut-down during the COVID-19 Stay-at-Home orders, and some, if not all, will be operating under different conditions and/or be modified moving forward in response to measures aimed at responding to the pandemic.

Implement video inspections to reduce the need for inspectors to travel to multiple sites.

  • Elevator service companies have utilized video inspections in various jurisdiction across the U.S. effectively during the COVID-19 Stay-at-Home orders and restricted operations.
  • Inspectors can perform on-site inspections if specific locations if issues are identified during the video inspection or other factors deem it necessary.
  • Moving forward through re-opening and beyond, video inspections would be a way for jurisdictions to maximize its resources without compromising safety.
  • Video inspections can also reduce the need for inspectors to travel to various locations and interact with numerous people, reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for inspectors, elevator personnel and others.

COVID-19 Response for Building Owners (Short-Term Recommendations)

As part of the detailed risk assessment and site-specific protection plans required by most, if not all re-opening efforts, building owners and managers should have a section specifically related to building transportation equipment to be followed for a specific length of time and discontinued thereafter.


The following recommendations are components of a multi-factor approach for this section of the site-specific protection plan. Specific measures may or may not be adopted depending on requirements, considerations or circumstances.


NOTE: NEII is not a healthcare expert. Its recommendations are based on currently available guidance from the CDC and other authorities.  NEII is not making any claim or representation that any of these measures will prevent the spread of COVID-19 or any other virus or disease.  These recommendations are subject to change as more information about COVID-19 becomes known.


A. Implement physical distancing protocols in elevators. Each site will need to review the size of its cars and number of elevators in a bank to assess distancing between passengers. 


Examples include: 

  • 2500# cars: no more than two people in opposite corners.
  • 3000# & 3500# cars: no more than three people with two in back corners and one in center by door.
  •  Larger service cars (which may have limited access by the public) greater than 72”x 72” can accommodate four.
  • These guidelines were developed based on the “standard” dimensions of elevator cars and are not appropriate in all circumstances. All factors should be considered when determining the appropriate number of persons per elevator, including what type of other preventative measures are being utilized at the location.

B. Space passengers on escalators.

  • At least four steps should remain empty in between passengers.

C. Other passenger traffic control measures, such as:

  • Markings on lobby floors and/or in elevator cars and escalator steps.
  • Stanchions (for lobbies only; not recommended for use inside cars)
  • Destination dispatch systems* (to increase efficiencies of elevator rides and reduce time spent in elevator cars). 

D. Communicate information to passengers and building tenants.

  • Signage plan for content and placement.
  • Other.

E. Cleaning methods and frequency recommendations or alternatives to traditional cleaning methods for each elevator car, escalator railing and all the call buttons.

  • Other measures to comply with current CDC guidance, including but not limited to:
  • Face masks and other coverings.
  • Sanitizer stations.
  • Staggered arrivals, departures and break times of workers and tenants.

G. Other options may also be considered as long they meet all applicable codes, laws and regulations, and they do not restrict accessibility, create unsafe conditions, or hinder performance of the elevators and/or escalators. Examples include:

  • Additional air ventilation for elevator cars and elsewhere in the building.
  • Alternative floors selection options (i.e., “no touch” screens, foot pedals, etc.).
  • Additional elevators.

*Destination Dispatch systems can be either a short-term or a long-term solution. We recommend building owners interested in exploring destination dispatch systems should discuss options with their elevator service companies.


Download a PDF of NEII's recommendations.

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


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