ASME A90.1-2023: Belt Manlifts

Large distribution warehouse company utilizing a belt manlift that adheres to ASME A90.1-2023.

Do your employees travel vertically in the routine performance of their duties? If so, the low-cost mechanical solution is a belt manlift. ASME A90.1-2023: Safety Standard For Belt Manlifts establishes safety requirements for belt manlifts.

What Is a Belt Manlift?

As opposed to an elevator with cars, the belt manlift (also called a manlift) is a simple belt with steps or platforms and handholds. The belt is a loop that moves in a singular direction, allowing an individual to go up or down by using the opposite sides of the loop. The belt moves continuously, so one can simply get on when a step passes and step off when passing any desired floor without having to call and wait for a car to arrive.

ASME A90.1-2023 defines a belt manlift as “a power-driven endless belt that moves in one direction only and has steps (platforms) and handholds for the transportation of personnel from floor to floor.” Simply put, the device is designed for moving individuals vertically between floors of a building; it can be used in applications such as the grain industry, pulp and paper industry, and parking garages.

What Is ASME A90.1?

ASME A90.1-2023 applies to the manufacture, installation, maintenance, inspection, and operation of belt manlifts. Belt manlifts covered by this standard consist of steps (platforms) and accompanying handholds mounted on or attached to an endless belt that operates vertically in one direction only and is supported by and driven through pulleys at the top and bottom. These belt manlifts are for the conveyance of people only. Further, ASME A90.1-2023 applies to belt manlifts used only to carry authorized personnel trained in their use. It is intended as a standard reference for use by manufacturers, architects, plant designers, installers, consulting engineers, users of belt manlifts through voluntary application, and governmental authorities.

This standard does not cover moving stairways, elevators with enclosed platforms (paternoster elevators), gravity lifts, or conveyors used only for transporting materials.

Manlift VS Conventional Elevator

A belt manlift and conventional elevator both aim to provide reliable vertical transportation. In contrast to conventional elevators, however, there is no waiting for a belt manlift. This is because its endless belt provides continuous transportation in both directions. An employee can step on or off at any floor without interrupting service for other employees using the belt manlift. One worker can perform inspection or supervisory duties on a number of floors, rapidly, and without fatigue. For the ease of getting on and off the steps, ASME A90.1-2023 details that the belt speed should not be greater than 80 ft/min.

What Are Common Uses of a Belt Manlift?

Belt Manlifts are typically used where space is limited and may be found in facilities such as warehouses, grain milling facilities, factories, ships and shipyards, chemical plants, grain elevators, warehouses, breweries, oil refineries, and even alternative energy windmills. Here are some other common uses of a belt manlift:

  • Automobile parking garages
  • Bakeries
  • Can and carton plants
  • Cement, gravel, rock and sand processing
  • Dairy processing plants
  • Dehydrating plants
  • Distilleries
  • Ethanol plants
  • Feed mills
  • Flour mills
  • Glass manufacturing plants
  • Hydrocarbon processing plants
  • Malting plants
  • Meat packing plants
  • Mines and quarries
  • Paper and pulp mills
  • Power plants
  • Rice mills
  • Salt processing plants
  • Seed handling and processing plants
  • Soap products plants
  • Soybean mills
  • Sugar refineries
  • Waste incineration facilities

Hazards Associated with a Manlift

It is important to note that operating belt manlifts requires expertise. Attempting to carry items onto a manlift can result in injury due to the item (e.g., freight, lunchbox, construction materials) being caught between the lift and the landing or being dropped and falling onto personnel below. In addition, one hand must be free to operate the pull stop rope in case of an emergency. Solutions to these hazards include never attempting to carry items when using a manlift and being sure there are no tools or other large objects protruding from the pockets of work clothes that could become dislodged and fall onto someone below. It is also important to keep hands on handholds until the manlift has stopped at the landing. Luckily, ASME A90.1-2023 details the appropriate design safety factors in belt manlifts to minimize potential hazards.

ASME A90.1-2023: Safety Standard For Belt Manlifts is available on the ANSI Webstore.

Share this blog post:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.