Emerging From COVID-19: How to Manage Your Lift Post Lockdown
As society slowly emerges from lockdown, it’s important to consider what’s needed for getting your lift back up and working again. To the best of your ability, you need to ensure safety. This is your responsibility as a lift owner. To help both you and the people using your lifts deal with this transition, here are a few pointers.
The following bullet points are Government advice for operating lifts during this time. These guidelines could change at any time, so flexibility is key. Please be advised that you may need to make changes at short notice.
- Reducing maximum occupancy for lifts, providing hand sanitiser for the operation of lifts and encouraging use of stairs wherever possible.
- Making sure that people with disabilities are able to access lifts.
- Regulating use of high traffic areas including corridors, lifts turnstiles and walkways to maintain social distancing.
Controlling Foot Traffic and Usage From the General Public
When it comes to usage from the general public, priority should be given to those with impaired mobility as they won’t have other options for travelling around the building. If possible, stairs should be the primary source of transportation. This opens up availability for those with mobility issues. It might even be helpful to reserve lifts for those less able, or unable, to use the stairs.
There are many high-traffic areas in a building such as corridors, walkways and lift turnstyles. These need to be regulated. Some good examples of doing this are one-way systems and staggering times that people will need to use the lifts. Any way to reduce foot traffic and maintain social distancing will be useful.
Now that traffic is beginning to rise again after lockdown, all lift owners need to do their bit to stop the virus spreading. Measures should be taken to keep lifts clean and germ-free. Cleaning procedures need to be ramped up, especially if the lift is used by a variety of people. Keypads, handrails, buttons and any other high-touch spaces all need to be cleaned thoroughly and regularly. We have a guide to cleaning lifts here.
Using Your Lift After Prolonged Inactivity
If it’s been a while since your lift has been in operation, there are a few things you need to do. Many buildings or office spaces were closed during lockdown and so the lift was not in such. Being inactive for long periods of time can cause many issues within a lift so first and foremost a LOLER inspection is needed.
Any lifts that were switched off during lockdown need to be turned back on by a qualified engineer. Without seeking the assistance of a qualified engineer, you might be exposing users to serious danger. While user safety is of the highest priority, without the help of an engineer, you could also run the risk of severely damaging your lift. In order to avoid expensive repair works being carried out on your lifts, safety checks must be a priority. Safety checks will help to spot any issues before further damage is cause
Other Things You Could Do to Increase Safety
If possible, policies should be put in place to prevent the spread of the virus. Using gloves is the obvious one, but some elevators have small disposable objects like toothpicks that passengers can use to safely press buttons without direct contact. Some elevators also have options for a ‘bus stop mode’ where it automatically cycles between floors so there’s no need to touch anything.
Your ‘Exiting Lockdown’ Lift Checklist
- Reduce lift capacity
- Stagger times to reduce foot traffic
- Prioritise lift use for those with impaired mobility
- Regulate high traffic areas
- Clean the lift, especially high-touch areas regularly
- Make safety checks a priority
- If inactive for a while, make sure a qualified engineer turns your lift back on
- Consider a range of ways to make your lift safer to use
- Put policies in place to keep your lift germ-free; encourage the use of gloves, masks and set up sanitization stations at entry points
Again, lift safety and hygiene is your responsibility. Ultimately, you need to ensure that your lift is safe to use operationally and that COVID-19 guidelines are being adhered to. Paperwork should be kept up to date at all times. You should also make sure that you are closely following government regulations and guidelines. In uncertain times, adaptability is key.
To learn more about proper lift hygiene during Covid-19, check out this post: Keeping Your Lift Clean, Safe and Germ-Free.