Elevator Entrapment

Policy

Response for all elevator incidents shall be conducted in accordance with this policy.

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Authority and Responsibility

Departments responsible for coordinating this policy are:

Environmental Health and Safety;
Facilities Services Operations and Maintenance;
Physical Plant; and
The University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD).

Facilities Services Operations and Maintenance and Physical Plant are responsible for testing the communication systems in elevators on an annual basis.

All contractors and sub-contractors are responsible for:

  • Understanding the University’s Elevator Safety Policy; and
  • Complying with lockout/tagout procedures during servicing and maintenance activities.

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Elevators

This policy shall include all present and future elevators as outlined below:

  • Passenger elevators;
  • Freight elevators;
  • Construction elevators; and
  • Lift elevators.

Note: All manual switch elevators shall only be operated by an authorized and qualified employee. Operation or use of these elevators as passenger elevators by residents or students is strictly prohibited.

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Unoccupied Elevator Failures

If an unoccupied elevator fails, contact the appropriate department responsible for the building as listed below:

  • Facilities Services: 773.834.1414; or
  • Physical Plant: 773.702.6295.

When reporting an elevator failure, provide the location (e.g., building, address) and elevator number. The appropriate department shall respond as detailed below.

  • Facilities Services
    • During normal business hours (Monday thru Friday) from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., an on-call elevator mechanic shall respond to all calls for elevator service on the campus, residential properties, and residence halls and dining locations under contract.
    • If afterhours (Monday thru Friday) from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., weekends or holidays
      • Dispatch a University employee (e.g., building engineer) to respond to the call;
      • Confirm an entrapment issue does not exist;
      •  Enter a service ticket for the elevator contractor to respond the next business day; and
      • Place an “Out of Service” sign on the elevator in accordance with the department elevator service protocol.
  • Physical Plant
    • During normal business hours (Monday thru Friday) and Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., an on-call elevator mechanic shall respond to all calls for elevator service on the campus under contract.
    • If afterhours (Monday thru Friday) or Saturdays after 2:00 p.m. weekends or holidays
      • Dispatch a University employee (e.g., building engineer) to respond to the call;
      • Confirm an entrapment issue does not exist;
      • Enter a service ticket for the elevator contractor to respond the next business day; and
      • Place an “Out of Service” sign on the elevator in accordance with the department elevator service protocol

Note: University employees shall not attempt to reset the elevator, open the shaft, or pry open the doors.

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Occupied Elevator Failures

If you are trapped inside an elevator, activate the elevator emergency phone to notify the UCPD. Passengers should not attempt to free themselves by prying doors or using other forcible measures.

UCPD shall notify the appropriate department responsible for the building.  If there are injuries or life-threatening hazards, the UCPD shall contact the Chicago Fire Department for emergency assistance. 

During normal business hours (Monday thru Friday) from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., an on-call elevator mechanic will respond to all calls for elevator service on the campus, residential properties, and residence halls and dining locations under contract. For entrapments, the elevator mechanic has 30 minutes to respond from the time of notification.

If afterhours (Monday thru Friday) from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., weekends, or holidays, the mechanic has one hour to respond from the time of notification. For buildings serviced by Physical Plant (e.g. KCBD, CLSC, BSLC, and Kovler Lab) the mechanic has two hours to respond from the time of notification.

If a student is involved in the entrapment, the On-Call Dean of Students shall be contacted by the UCPD. 

If you are outside an elevator and have knowledge of someone trapped inside the elevator, contact UPCD by dialing 123 from a campus phone or 773.702.8181 from a non-campus phone.

When reporting an elevator failure, provide the following:

  • Caller’s name;
  • Location (e.g., building, address, floor);
  • Elevator number (usually located on the outside of the elevator car doors or posted inside elevator car near the controls);
  • Cellular phone call back number, if applicable;
  • Problem (e.g., no operation of doors, stalled between floors);
  • Number of people trapped;
  • If any trapped persons are students; and,
  • Any injuries, life threatening conditions, or additional information.

The appropriate department shall:

  • Dispatch a University employee (e.g., building engineer) to respond to the call;
  • Communicate with the trapped persons inside the elevator that help is on the way;
  • If equipped with a stop button, ask if the button is accidentally activated and if so instruct the passenger to toggle or depress the stop button;
  • Contact their elevator contractor for a service request and determine the estimated time of arrival;
  • If the estimated time of arrival is more than the department’s elevator service protocol timeframes, a University-trained employee (e.g., building engineer) may reset the elevator in accordance with the department elevator service protocol to assist in bringing it to a floor. If the elevator does not reset, the University employee shall continue with procedures listed in their departmental elevator service protocol;
  • Ascertain if there are any injuries, severe sense of panic, or life-threatening conditions inside the elevator and reassure the occupants that they are safe and help is on the way; if injuries or a medical emergency exists in the elevator car, notify UCPD to ensure the Chicago Fire Department is immediately dispatched;
  • Meet with the Chicago Fire Department when requested and provide details of the occupants and actions performed; and
  • Maintain communication with the elevator contractor during the event to avoid activities that could endanger passengers, mechanics, or other people responding to the scene.

Note:  Except as noted, University employees shall not attempt to reset the elevator, open the shaft, or pry open the doors.

Reviewed: March 2019

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