Maintaining a lift is an important responsibility for any owner or operator. Proper maintenance can ensure the safety of users, extend the lifespan of the lift, and prevent costly repairs. In this blog post, we’ll go over some key steps to properly maintain your lift.
Table of Contents
1. Keep it Clean
When it comes to the maintenance of lifts, it’s important to keep them clean to ensure a safe and pleasant experience for users. This includes regularly cleaning the interior and exterior of the lift, as well as the surrounding area.
If disregarded, debris or slippery surfaces can lead to accidents such as slips, trips, or falls. Cleaning your lift thoroughly will eliminate these risk factors. Additionally, a dirty lift can create an unpleasant atmosphere for users, which could make them less likely to use the lift in the future.
Alongside reducing risk and enhancing the experience of its users, a clean lift is also better protected from damage. Debris and dirt that accumulates in the lift or on its surfaces can wear down components or interfere with its operation. Regular cleaning can prevent this type of damage and extend the life of the lift.
Finally, keeping the lift clean can also contribute towards the building’s positive reputation. Visitors and clients are more likely to have a positive impression of the building if the lifts are well-maintained and in good condition.
2. Follow the Manufacturer's Maintenance Schedule
First and foremost, it’s important to follow the maintenance schedule recommended by the manufacturer of your lift. This schedule will outline specific tasks you need to perform at regular intervals – such as lubricating certain parts or replacing worn items – to prevent issues and keep your lift running smoothly.
3. Check and Maintain All Safety Devices
Safety devices, such as emergency brakes and safety edges, are critical for ensuring the safety of lift users. It’s important to regularly check and maintain these devices to verify they are functioning properly.
Here are some of the most common safety devices you may need to examine:
- Emergency brakes: Designed to bring the lift to a halt in the event of an emergency, such as a power failure or malfunction.
- Safety edges: Sensors that detect when an object, such as a person or a piece of luggage, is too close to the lift’s doors or walls. When the sensor is triggered, it sends a signal to the lift’s control system to stop the lift or prevent the doors from closing.
- Overload sensors: Sensors that detect when the lift is carrying more weight than it is designed to handle, and will stop the lift to prevent it from becoming overloaded.
- Emergency phones: Phones located inside the lift that allows users to call for help in the event of an emergency.
As crucial elements in the safe operation of any lift, these safety devices must be regularly checked to prevent any accidents. Each person who uses your lift has a fundamental expectation of safety that must be met with confidence and assurance.
4. Inspect and Maintain Lift Components
It isn’t just safety devices that need to be checked – lifts are complex systems with many different components that must be regularly inspected and maintained to ensure safe and efficient operation.
Here are some of the most common lift components that require regular maintenance:
- Gears and drive system: Responsible for moving the lift up and down along the shaft. Regular inspection and lubrication prevent wear and tear.
- Hoist ropes: Cables that support the weight of the lift and its passengers. Since they can become worn over time, replacements are occasionally necessary.
- Door mechanisms: Lift doors should be regularly cleaned and adjusted so that they open and close smoothly.
- Control system: The brain of the lift – responsible for controlling all of its functions. Naturally, this should always be in working order.
Each component contributes towards the overall functionality of the lift. It is therefore vital that each one operates properly to prevent the whole system from falling apart.
5. Test the Lift's Control System
The control system of a lift is responsible for controlling its movement and operation. As the brain of the lift, it must function properly and without error.
Here are some specific control system components to be checked:
- Emergency stop button: Halts the lift when pressed.
- Door interlocks: Designed to prevent the lift from moving when the doors are open.
- Safety circuits: Designed to detect and prevent potential hazards or malfunctions.
Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when testing the control system and seek the assistance of a qualified and experienced lift service provider if necessary.
6. Hire a Professional for Repairs and Maintenance
While many maintenance tasks can be performed by a trained and experienced operator, certain complex tasks should only be carried out by a professional. Attempting to perform them without the necessary skills and expertise may result in accidents or further damage.
Here are some maintenance tasks that should be left to a professional:
- Replacing major lift components: Components such as the hoist ropes and the drive system are critical for the operation of the lift, and replacing them requires specialised knowledge and skills.
- Repairing electrical components: Electrical components such as control panels and wiring can be complex and hazardous to work on.
- Overhauling the lift: An overhaul involves disassembling and rebuilding the lift, which requires a high level of knowledge and expertise.
By hiring a qualified and experienced professional for these types of repairs and maintenance tasks, you can help to ensure the work is carried out safely and correctly.
7. Keep Accurate Records
It’s important to keep accurate records of all maintenance and repairs carried out on your lift. This includes details such as the date of the maintenance, the tasks that were performed, and any issues that were identified or addressed. Keeping accurate records of all maintenance and repairs carried out on your lift is important for several reasons.
Firstly, it can help you to identify patterns or trends. By reviewing the records, you may be able to identify problems or issues that occur frequently, which can help you to prioritise repairs or maintenance tasks.
Accurate records can also be useful for demonstrating compliance with relevant laws and regulations. Some jurisdictions require lifts to be regularly inspected and maintained, and keeping records of these activities illustrates that you are meeting these requirements. Take LOLER regulations for example, one of the requirements needed to pass a LOLER inspection is to keep a log of any maintenance or repairs carried out on a lift (check out our article on LOLER regulations for more detail).
Finally, accurate records can also be helpful in the event of an accident or malfunction. If a problem occurs with the lift, records can help you identify potential contributing factors, and provide information that may be useful for insurance purposes.
8. Perform Regular Inspections
In addition to the regular maintenance tasks outlined above, it’s also important to perform regular inspections of your lift. These inspections should be carried out by a qualified professional and should include a thorough examination of all aspects of the lift. The frequency of these inspections will depend on the specific type and age of the lift, as well as any relevant laws and regulations.
During a lift inspection, a number of tasks will be performed to ensure the lift is operating safely and efficiently. This may include checking the control system, testing the safety devices, and examining the mechanical components for signs of wear or damage. Documentation may also be checked – such as maintenance records – to verify the necessary tasks have been performed.
By performing regular inspections of your lift, you can identify any potential problems or issues before they become more serious, and then take steps to address them.
9. Replace Worn or Damaged Parts
Over time, certain parts of a lift may become worn or damaged and need to be replaced. A lift in poor condition is unsafe to use. It is therefore important to replace these parts as soon as possible.
In addition to preventing injuries or accidents, replacing worn or damaged parts can improve efficiency. If a lift is not operating efficiently, it may take longer to move people or goods between floors, which can be frustrating for users and lead to delays.
Some parts of a lift may need to be replaced more frequently than others. Hoist ropes, for example, support the weight of the lift car and are subjected to constant tension as the lift moves up and down. This can cause the ropes to become worn over time, and they may need to be replaced every few years to ensure that the lift is operating safely. Other parts, such as bearings and gears, may last longer but still need to be replaced eventually.
It is a good idea to keep a supply of commonly-needed spare parts on hand to minimise downtime in the event of a failure. This can help to guarantee that the lift is always available for use and that any necessary repairs can be made quickly.
10. Implement a Preventive Maintenance Program
A preventive maintenance (PM) program is a proactive approach to lift maintenance that focuses on identifying and addressing potential issues before they become serious problems. This can be achieved through a combination of regular inspections, maintenance tasks, and monitoring of lift performance. As a result, you can expect a reduced frequency and severity of lift failures, as well as an extended lifespan.
PM is typically carried out regularly, such as every month or every quarter, and can include tasks such as inspecting the lift for signs of wear or damage, lubricating moving parts and testing the lift’s safety systems.
Another element of PM is performance monitoring. This identifies any issues that need to be addressed and can be done through the use of sensors and other monitoring systems which alert maintenance personnel to any problems with the lift.
11. Use the Correct Tools and Equipment
Maintenance and repairs must be carried out safely and effectively, which means you must use tools that are in good condition and appropriate for the task at hand.
For example, if you are working on a lift, you should use tools specifically designed for working on lifts, rather than using tools that are not intended for this purpose. Using the wrong tools can increase the risk of injury and may also result in improper repairs or maintenance.
In addition to using the correct tools, it is also important to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when carrying out maintenance or repairs. This can include items such as gloves, safety glasses, and hard hats, which can protect you against potential hazards such as electrical shocks, falls, and debris. Wearing the appropriate PPE significantly reduces the risk of injury.
12. Follow all Safety Guidelines
While the aforementioned points contribute towards overall lift safety, you should be aware of any specific safety guidelines when performing maintenance or repairs on a lift.
This includes following any procedures outlined in the lift’s maintenance manual, as well as any additional guidelines provided by the manufacturer or regulatory authority. These guidelines may include instructions on how to safely access and work on different parts of the lift, as well as procedures for testing and verifying that the lift is safe to use after maintenance or repairs have been carried out.
It is also important to be aware of any potential hazards when working on a lift and to take appropriate precautions to mitigate these risks. This can include wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) or following safety procedures for working at height or in confined spaces, and ensuring that the lift is properly isolated before beginning any work.
13. Use a Qualified and Experienced Service Provider
As mentioned above, you should hire a qualified professional when dealing with any complex maintenance situations. However, you should also have a reliable service provider for routine maintenance tasks.
Hiring a lift repairs company to perform regular lift maintenance ensures the work is carried out safely and to the highest standards. This is because certain routine inspections require specialised knowledge or equipment, in addition to some tasks that pose a significant risk to the operator if not carried out properly.
A credible service provider should have the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to effectively carry out the work, and should be familiar with the regulations and guidelines that apply to lift maintenance and repair.
It is important to carefully research and select a service provider that is reputable and has a track record of providing high-quality services.
14. Ensure That All Workers are Trained and Competent
If you have employees or contractors who will be performing maintenance or repairs on a lift, it’s important that they are trained and competent to ensure that proper lift maintenance is carried out.
To achieve this, you may want to consider providing on-the-job training. This can be an effective way to teach workers the skills they need to safely and effectively carry out their tasks. This can include hands-on training, as well as training on the use of any specialised tools or equipment.
In addition to on-the-job training, you should also confirm that your workers possess any necessary certifications or qualifications for their roles. This can vary depending on the regulations and guidelines that apply to the maintenance of lifts in your area but may include things like a mechanical engineering degree or certification as a lift technician.
15. Consider a Maintenance Contract
When choosing a reputable service provider to undertake routine maintenance tasks, you should consider establishing a maintenance contract. This is a service agreement between a lift owner and a qualified service provider that exists to ensure the lift is properly maintained and any issues are addressed as soon as possible.
A typical maintenance contract covers everything from regular inspections and maintenance tasks to necessary repairs or parts replacements. The service provider will typically visit the lift regularly to perform these tasks, solving any issues before they develop into something more serious. Maintenance contracts may also include provisions for emergency repairs or services, in case of unexpected breakdowns or failures.
Researching a trusted service provider is always important, especially when entering a contract with them. However, it is worth investing in the peace of mind that your lift is always properly cared for and any issues are handled promptly.
16. Have a Plan in Place for Unexpected Failures or Emergencies
Even if you stringently follow every step mentioned above, you may still run into an unexpected failure or emergency. If this happens, you should have a plan in place for how to handle the situation.
A plan for emergencies should be thorough and specific to ensure the situation is dealt with as safely as possible and accidents are limited. As such, different types of emergencies should also be covered – such as outlining procedures for safely evacuating passengers, securing the lift, and contacting a qualified service provider for assistance. Regarding the latter, you should include the necessary contact information within the plan, so that support can be notified with haste.
Alongside a comprehensive emergency plan, you should also have spare parts on hand. In the event of a failure, necessary repairs can then be made and downtime will be minimised.
The aim of having a strong plan and appropriate resources in place is to reduce risks in case of an emergency, ensuring lift passengers remain safe and the lift is restored into operation as quickly as possible.
17. Stay Up-To-Date with Industry Developments and Best Practices
The lift industry is constantly evolving, with new technologies and best practices being developed all the time. It is important to stay up-to-date with these developments so that you don’t fall behind and continue to use archaic and outdated maintenance methods.
Consider attending industry conferences or training events, which provide an opportunity to learn about new technologies and best practices, as well as network with other professionals in the industry. You may also want to subscribe to industry publications which can keep you informed about the latest developments and trends.
By staying up-to-date with the latest developments in the lift industry, you can ensure your lift is being maintained in the most effective and efficient way possible. This can help to improve the safety, reliability, and efficiency of your lift, and can also help to reduce maintenance and repair costs.
Overall, there is a vast range of things to consider when maintaining your lift effectively. You may not think all of them apply to you, but it’s worth considering each one to identify how you can improve your approach to the maintenance of your lift. When it comes to the efficiency of your lift and the safety of your passengers, we’d argue there’s no such thing as overkill.
If you’re looking to schedule a lift maintenance, check out our lift maintenance page – or give us a call at 01744 395028!