ASME A17.1-2019: Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators

Elevators moving in outside shaft and designed to ASME A17.2-2019

The safety code for elevators and escalators, ASME A17.1-2019, or, if you’re in Canada, CSA B44-2019, has been revised. ASME A17.1/CSA B44-2019: Safety Code For Elevators And Escalators serves as a basis for the design, construction, installation, operation, testing, inspection, maintenance, alteration, and repair of elevators, dumbwaiters, escalators, moving walks, and material lifts.

The Safety Code for Elevators

What goes up must come down, or, in the case of elevators (lifts), must descend basically the same way it rises. Enhancing skywards construction by permitting taller buildings, or just allowing an easier upwards route for those of us who just don’t feel like taking the stairs, elevators fortify the modern life in which we thrive. In all, U.S. elevators make 18 billion passenger trips each year.

ASME A17.1-2019, as a code, is intended to provide safety of life and limb and promote public welfare. It covers not only elevators, escalators, moving walks, dumbwaiters, material lifts, and related equipment, but also their associated parts, rooms, spaces, and hoistways.

The ASME A17.1-2019 document is broken up into specific parts to ease compliance. Each part, other than those detailing general requirements, cover a specific equipment—electric elevators, hydraulic elevators, elevators with other types of driving machines, special application elevators, escalators and moving walks, and dumbwaiters and material lifts. In all, this document details a range of interests, but is succinct enough to be adopted by regulatory bodies.

Elevator cables turning

Please note that ASME A17.1-2019 excludes specific equipment covered by other standards and codes, including those specified in other ASME A17 standards. Furthermore, the code applies to new installations only, except for specific sections outlined in the document. If you’d like to learn about the various other standards in this series (including the safety code for existing elevators and escalators, ASME A17.3), please refer to our post ASME A17 Elevator Safety Standards.

If you need to acquire numerous standards in this series, you can get them bundled together at a discount as the ASME A17. Elevator and Escalator Safety Package.

Changes to ASME A17.1-2019/CSA B44-2019

The safety code for elevators dates back just about one century, so, over the years, numerous revisions have kept it current. With these changes, the scope of the document has expanded, accommodating not just elevators but also escalators, dumbwaiters, and other equipment types. Decades of changes have developed ASME A17.1-2019 into an expansive and hefty document, comprehensively approaching various topics pertinent to elevators and other machinery in its over 500 pages of content.

Continuing this tradition, ASME A17.1-2019, as the twenty-second edition of the code, features an abundance of revisions. Important changes to this standard include:

  • Updates to door requirements in private residence elevators and occupant evacuation elevators.
  • Seismic requirements for elevators and escalators were clarified.
  • Updates were made to emergency communication requirements for an elevator to ensure communication with any trapped passengers, including those who are hearing impaired.
  • Requirements were modified for increased door protection on passenger elevators.

If you’re interested in the changes made to the previous, 2016 edition of this standard, please refer to our post on ASME A17.1-2016: Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators.

Escalator outside that is tested to ASME A17.1 code

For a more comprehensive outlook of all editions and supplements of ASME A17.1, as well as when they were approved, issued, and effective, you can refer to the foreword of the standard document.

CSA B44-2019: Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators

In Canada, the safety code for elevators and escalators is CSA B44. This standard, persisting nearly as long as ASME A17.1, helps facilitate the implementation of uniform legislation across Canada. Today, much like ASME A17.1, CSA B44 covers the design, installation, and maintenance of elevators, escalators, dumbwaiters, moving walks, and material lifts, and its minimum requirements are suitable for adoption by regulatory authorities throughout Canada.

For over ten years, now, the CSA B44 Technical Committee on the Elevator Safety Code and the ASME A17 Committee on Elevators and Escalators jointly develop ASME A17.1 and CSA B44 to harmonize provisions. Therefore, these standards are published as the same document.

For those seeking to use the document in Canada, ASME A17.1/CSA B44-2019 consists of the complete ASME A17.1 code, with additional requirements applicable only in Canadian jurisdictions. To find these Canadian requirements, they are prefaced in the body of the code with:

“In jurisdictions enforcing the NBCC …”

ASME A17.1/CSA B44-2019: Safety Code For Elevators And Escalators is available on the ANSI Webstore.

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