With all of the busyness in the weeks leading up to the New Year, it can be easy to lose sight of the risks inherent in the work that International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) elevator mechanics and apprentices do every day. It takes training, experience, and focus to be able to work safely with complex equipment and in environments that pose as many hazards as those found on an elevator constructor’s jobsite.

Making safety a priority is important all year round, but during the holidays, it’s even more urgent to keep focused – because distractions are everywhere. Airports, shopping malls, and parking garages are full of people who aren’t paying attention to what they’re doing or where they’re going. Workers may be tired from putting in overtime hours to prepare for an out-of-town trip to visit relatives or to buy someone in their family that really special gift. Distractions come from all sides and can seem ever-present.

Regardless of what’s going on in the environment, it’s absolutely essential for elevator constructors to remember their training and stay focused on working safe. Live electrical hazards, open hoistways, cramped spaces, entanglement risks, noxious fumes, machinery with sharp or heavy moving parts – all of these are dangers people working in the elevator trade face daily, and any of them can cause serious injuries to workers who get distracted or lose their sense of situational awareness.

The IUEC’s registered apprenticeship program offers comprehensive safety training to those new to the industry beginning as soon as they are hired into the trade. After completing an initial 6-month probationary apprenticeship period, first-year students are trained in general worksite safety courses such as OSHA and American Heart Association First Aid Heartsaver CPR as well as techniques for working safe with equipment and in environments specific to the responsibilities they’ll have installing, maintaining, troubleshooting, repairing, and maintaining elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other specialized conveyance equipment.

In-class lab activities at the National Elevator Industry Educational Program (NEIEP) classrooms across the United States have students trying on and demonstrating the use of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) they’ll be using on the job, such as hard hats, safety harnesses, hearing protection, respiratory protection, gloves, goggles, and more. Safety awareness is at the heart of NEIEP’s training for a reason – the IUEC believes that the most important part of an elevator constructor’s work each day is making it home safe to their family each night.

In the coming weeks, ElevatorInfo.org will be sharing content that highlights the vital need for safety awareness in the elevator industry. Watch this video, then share to help make this holiday season a Season of Safety.

 

International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) Local 2 recently hosted its anniversary gala at the Westin Chicago Northwest. Elevator constructors, company representatives from Otis, TK Elevator, and Cabworks Custom Elevators, distinguished retirees, and others gathered to celebrate 125 remarkable years.

Chicago elevator constructors are the individuals who helped shape – and today, maintain – one of the world’s most extraordinary skylines. The Chicago Charter of the International Union of Elevator Constructors since March 12, 1897, today Local 2 proudly represents more than 1,300 members.

IUEC Local 2’s members are some of the most respected men and women in the industry. They are well known for working together to fight for the working people of Illinois. What’s more, they understand the importance of serving one’s community – and demonstrate their commitment to making the world a better place by hosting an annual golf outing to fund diabetes research and supporting Chicago-based nonprofit Toy Box Connection.

 

 

The International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) recently joined the National Elevator Industry Educational Program (NEIEP) and IUEC Local 133 in Austin, Texas to highlight the central role the union’s education and training program plays in creating pathways to fulfilling careers in the elevator industry.

“In the elevator trade, there is no training in the same league as the National Elevator Industry Educational Program,” said Texas AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Leonard Aguilar. “Men and women enrolled in NEIEP have access to the industry’s premier apprenticeship program – which helps them become the safest, most highly-skilled apprentices and elevator constructors in vertical transportation.”

Attendees ranged from IUEC members and lawmakers – including members of the Austin City Council – to representatives from the Texas Building Trades Council and the Texas AFL-CIO. Companies like TK Elevator, Otis, and Schindler, as well as three independent companies, were also in attendance.

Texas House Member Gina Hinojosa (District 49) and newly elected U.S. House Representative Greg Casar (District 35) took time out of their hectic schedules to visit the fair, tour each station, and talk with instructors about hands-on training and education opportunities in the organized elevator trade.

“Union apprenticeship programs create meaningful opportunities for working people throughout the Lonestar State,” said Representative Hinojosa. “IUEC members are the safest, most talented workers in the elevator industry; their NEIEP training really sets them up for success.”

“Visiting the NEIEP fair was nothing short of impressive,” said Congressman-elect Greg Casar. “As I traveled from station to station, it was clear that IUEC members go through world-class, thorough training, making union elevator constructors the best and brightest in the industry.”

With a combination of hands-on classroom and computer-based instruction, along with 8,000 hours of on-the-job learning under the supervision of an experienced mechanic, the IUEC’s apprenticeship program gives workers new to the trade all the skills they need to be successful elevator constructors. Once they complete their apprenticeship and pass a capstone Mechanic Exam, they go on to build and maintain the complex and varied conveyance systems in our nation’s most striking skylines. And as mechanics, they keep their skills sharp through dozens of online and in-person continuing education courses they can enroll in through NEIEP.

“On behalf of the more than 1,800 union elevator constructors in Texas, the NEIEP event in Austin was a great success,” said IUEC Organizer Clarence Baker. “We wanted lawmakers, companies, and others to come in and witness what it takes to become a union elevator constructor – and we did just that. From safety to electrical, each course is critical and, frankly, invaluable. Attendees saw firsthand how the knowledge and skills IUEC members take away from their four years at NEIEP ensure they are the most talented and safest workforce, and when it comes to safety, our members not only prioritize the safety of themselves and their colleagues but also that of the men, women, and children who ride elevators and escalators every day.”

The all-day event took place at the Hilton Austin, a hotel whose employees were recently organized and are now members of UNITE HERE.

“At NEIEP’s core, we are all about safety. Everything we teach and everything we do is to help apprentices stay safe at work,” said NEIEP’s Head of Development, Lester White. “Without education and training, how can employers expect any worker to feel safe on the job? Graduates of NEIEP know this complex field inside and out. What’s more, they know that nothing comes before safety – their own safety and that of the riding public.”

 

elevator maintenance

As a building owner, scheduling periodic elevator maintenance checks on your properties is crucial to ensuring a safe ride for your passengers. Simple, routine maintenance checks performed by professional elevator mechanics can prolong elevator life and reduce energy waste, providing a smoother, safer travel experience while saving you time and money.

Routine elevator maintenance will keep your equipment clean, minimizing the chance of fire hazards while alerting building owners to any components that need to be replaced or refurbished. Ultimately, these checks ensure safety for you and your passengers.

Preventative Elevator Maintenance

Elevator breakdowns can lead to unanticipated downtime, serious injury, or worse – a catastrophic event. Preventative maintenance aims to mitigate issues with machinery through regular upkeep.

The mechanics responsible for checking the elevators will look for any critical signs of wear and tear, faults, or other problems that could impede an elevator’s proper function. They will identify damaged or worn-out parts, lubricate machinery and make adjustments or tunings to the equipment.

Preventative elevator maintenance, if done correctly, improves elevator services by ensuring your equipment runs better and lasts longer – with fewer calls to elevator repair companies to fix issues that could have been prevented.

Prolonged Elevator Life

The life expectancy of an elevator installation depends mainly on its type and intended use. Generally speaking, if an elevator is more than 20 years old, it can be considered an appropriate candidate for elevator modernization. Elevators typically end their cost-effective lives somewhere after 20 to 25 years.

Several variables are involved regarding the life expectancy of an elevator install. At the top of the list are environmental factors, service type, and changes in technology. The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) recommends mandatory maintenance checks to increase your elevators’ lifespans. Elevators without regular checks may need to be modernized within their first decade of use. For building owners, this means that instead of modernizing elevator(s) based on investment, they will have to do so out of necessity.

Increased Cost Efficiency

Maintenance checks can also help optimize the energy consumption of your building’s elevator equipment. There is a range of cost-effective solutions you can choose from to optimize aging elevator equipment, ensuring energy efficiency and significantly reducing your building’s energy costs.

Probably the best time-saving, efficient method to improve the overall reduction of elevator energy costs (up to 70%) is installing regenerative drives. These can be added to existing systems, allowing the elevator’s generated energy to be fed back into the building’s power grid and used by other loads connected to the same network. Other ways to improve energy efficiency include replacing tube lights inside the elevator car with LEDs and adding modern, energy-efficient door operator systems and other equipment.

Ultimately, routine elevator maintenance checks by qualified, capable elevator mechanics can dramatically reduce your building’s electricity bills.

Improved Elevator Travel Times

Over time, elevator travel times can seem longer, which can slowly begin to inconvenience your tenants, employees, or customers. Routine elevator inspection and maintenance checks can improve travel speed and acceleration, allowing passengers to enjoy more comfortable and faster elevator travel.

An Elevator Inspection Will Save Time and Money

You can significantly extend your elevators’ lifespans by following scheduled maintenance checks. Failing to keep elevators adequately maintained and serviced will ultimately incur downtime and elevator repair costs.

Sticking to a schedule of regular elevator maintenance checks by qualified elevator mechanics can help you avoid costly losses, saving you time and money.

A Safer Ride for Your Passengers

You must keep your building’s elevators in excellent operating condition to ensure a safe ride for your tenants, employees, or customers. Safety is the primary reason for performing routine elevator maintenance for your properties – this should be a top priority for every building owner.

All elevator installation and maintenance checks must be done only by qualified elevator mechanics. Unqualified workers may cut corners during the job and fail to do a complete and thorough inspection.

If you are looking for exceptional maintenance for your building’s elevators, contact an International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) affiliated elevator company and benefit from the best-qualified elevator union labor force in the industry.

Visit www.elevatorinfo.org/elevator-customers/ for assistance finding an elevator maintenance provider in your area.

Having started her career as a mechanic and National Elevator Industry Educational Program (NEIEP) instructor in the busy Metro Denver area, NEIEP Area Coordinator Kristi Savala knows how important it is to work safe.

The best way for someone coming into the elevator trade to establish a foundation of safe work practices begins with the hands-on safety training NEIEP students receive in the classroom. This is a distinction that sets NEIEP apart from other training programs in the industry, which are offered via correspondence course.

In this video, Kristi stresses how critical it is for apprentices to have the opportunity to practice using safety equipment in the classroom – this way, they can be sure they’re using it correctly and consistently on the job. “You’ve got to build that muscle memory. If they build safety into the muscle memory, and it builds habits every day, they’re not going to forget it. That’s going to save somebody’s life someday.”

NEIEP’s safety training doesn’t end when someone passes their mechanic exam and graduates to mechanic status – it’s at the heart of the program’s Continuing Education courses as well. Kristi emphasizes the importance of continuing to learn in a trade where technology and work processes are constantly being updated. “If you keep learning, you keep growing. You become that much more valuable to your coworkers, your bosses… to other people you can pass that knowledge onto. Really great skills that you can transfer (to) so many different pathways.”

 

 

elevator info

IUEC mechanics have the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to fulfill the needs of the wind power industry. If you are a wind tower owner or operator, don’t assume unnecessary risk by allowing your equipment to be serviced by inexperienced hands.

IUEC mechanics go through a rigorous four-year USDOL-Registered Apprenticeship program at the National Elevator Industry Educational Program (NEIEP). To graduate and achieve mechanic status, apprentices must complete 8 semesters of college-level classroom training, log 8,000 hours of on-the-job learning under the supervision of an experienced mechanic, and pass a comprehensive capstone examination.

During their apprenticeship, IUEC members master all aspects of the elevator industry including building, installing, servicing, and maintaining state-of-the-art electrical & mechanical systems. Throughout their training, safety is always a priority.

IUEC training does not end once apprenticeship is over. As part of their benefit package, journeyman mechanics regularly participate in continuing education courses to learn about new equipment, update their skill sets to adapt to changes in the industry, and refresh their knowledge base.

 

 

What started out as one woman’s goal to make the world a better place for children in need has become a nationwide movement. The Toy Box Connection (TBC) Children’s Charity Founder & Director Michelle Maxia’s big heart and passion for helping those experiencing hardship has inspired volunteers and donors from across the country to dive in, creating a vast network of supporters who have made a real difference.

TBC envisions a world where children facing challenging situations are connected to whatever they need – whether it be toys and books for the holidays or a special event, or mattresses and clothing for those affected by a fire, tornado, or other disaster. They help kids in hospitals, shelters, and foster homes, as well as those with parents stationed overseas.

Under the leadership of General President Frank Christensen, the International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) has played an important role in their work. Members have donated not only their resources but their time, driving truckloads of toys, food, and other items to children in the Chicago area and beyond.

Michelle is especially thankful for the connections the IUEC has provided to volunteers and donors from across the building trades. She describes these relationships as “like a tire – in the middle is the hub. That’s the IUEC. And there are many spokes…these are the Building Trades Unions who have said ‘yes, absolutely, what does she need, we’re there.’”

Because of this, she characterizes the IUEC as being the organization’s greatest support system. As she highlights the many instances in which the IUEC answered TBC’s call for help, it’s clear that the nonprofit’s relationship with the union has been deeply impactful. When calling on others to step up to do their part, Michelle adds, “No act is too small.” Everything matters. Every act of service. Every donation.

If you would like to learn more about the Toy Box Connection Children’s Charity and the work they do, visit www.toyboxconnection.com.

 

 

elevator constructor

IUEC Local 4 members work on elevators, escalators, and other conveyance equipment in eastern Massachusetts, the majority of New Hampshire, and all of Maine. Recently, ElevatorInfo.org visited Local 4’s headquarters in Dorchester, Massachusetts to talk with their President Doug Cullington, members of the Executive Board, Business Managers and Representatives, and new apprentices in the trade. We covered a lot of topics during our conversations, but paramount on everyone’s list of priorities was safety.

Staying focused, working safe, wearing the correct personal protective equipment – these are just some of the things that Local 4 Elevator Constructors remind themselves of daily. “To work safe is to think. Think before every move. Every step of every project must be talked about,” emphasizes Doug Cullington, President of IUEC Local 4.

“Safety is always our number one priority,” says Mary Kate Kelly, one of Local 4’s apprentice Elevator Constructors. In the video, she shares insights about the everyday hazards she encounters on the job and how she and her mechanic work to avoid them, including what they do to ensure they’re working safe around members of other trades on the jobsite. Knowing how to be proactive around potential dangers and getting everyone home to their families at the end of each day is everyone’s shared goal.

IUEC Local 4 was organized in February of 1899, and currently has almost 1,200 members.

 

&nbsp

Jack Demmel

How many individuals do you know who were able to afford buying their own house through hard earned wages before they were old enough to buy a beer?

ElevatorInfo recently caught up with a young man who did just that. Jack Demmel, a fourth-year apprentice in the organized elevator industry, will sit for the Mechanic Examination in 2023.

“Once I’ve successfully completed the Mechanic Examination, I’ll no longer be classified as an apprentice,” said Demmel. “I’ll advance to mechanic status.”

The 22-year-old shared with us his journey to the elevator trade. While Demmel did grow up around plenty of people who made a name for themselves in the elevator industry, his path was not necessarily a traditional one.

“I had the grades for college, so after graduating from high school, I gave college life a shot,” said Demmel. “I ended up at Prince George’s Community College for a single semester – then I realized that I was actually happiest when working with my hands. For me, a fulfilling career would challenge me both mentally and physically.”

After completing the recruitment process, Demmel soon was hired as a union elevator constructor and began taking classes through the National Elevator Industry Educational Program (NEIEP), a U.S. Department of Labor-registered apprenticeship program offering craft training – in the classroom and also in the field – for all employees covered by the agreement between signatory contractors and the International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC).

“NEIEP has been great. Not only have I participated in online and in-person classroom training, I have also been provided with a variety of hands-on training opportunities,” said Demmel.

When asked about his early days in NEIEP compared to his experience now as a fourth-year apprentice, Demmel expressed that NEIEP’s training is the reason he feels confident working in such a complex trade.

“I’ve always felt that I was mechanically inclined, but being a smart, safe mechanic requires more than a general knowledge of how to fix things,” said Demmel. “Thanks to my NEIEP instructors and the leadership at IUEC Local 10, everything I do feels like second nature. What’s more, I have found lasting friendships within the elevator trade. The people I study with and work alongside all have a team-first mentality – I’m very happy.”

Demmel went on to explain that, as far as enrollment fees and other charges related to NEIEP, there have been no out-of-pocket costs. People from all walks of life are welcome to participate in the recruitment process. This opens the door to a rewarding career, family-sustaining wages, and a dignified retirement – thanks to the training funded by contributions from IUEC signatory contractor partners.

“If young people are ready to work hard to secure the future they want for themselves and their families, the union elevator industry is a smart path to take,” said IUEC Local 10 Business Manager and IUEC Executive Board Vice President John O’Connor. “The earn-as-you-learn approach means our apprentices don’t incur student debt. Instead, they earn wages and benefits as they learn the elevator trade. It is a career choice that I wish more hardworking young people knew about – and knew about sooner.”

Escalator safety

Did you know that when riding an escalator some footwear, including foam clogs and flip-flops, can be dangerous? Every year, children and adults sustain injuries to their toes and feet at shopping malls, hotels, and other areas with escalators.

According to ABC News article, some people have reported that kids wearing foam clogs have had their feet sucked into the side of escalators.

Luckily, companies including Schindler Elevator Corporation and groups like the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation have published useful escalator safety tips for the riding public. While some tips may seem like common sense (e.g., step on and off carefully), there are other things you may not have considered. It is especially critical to review these safety tips with children.

Below is a list of escalator safety tips from Schindler’s website:

  • Watch the direction of the moving step and step on and off with extra care.
  • Take care if you are wearing bifocals or similar eyewear.
  • Hold children firmly with one arm or hold child’s free hand.
  • Hold small packages firmly in one hand, but always leave one hand available to hold the handrail.
  • Grasp the handle as you step onto the moving step.
  • Do not go in the opposite direction of the escalator.
  • Do not take wheelchairs, electric scooters, strollers, hand carts, luggage carts or similar items on the escalator.
  • When riding escalators: Keep loose clothing clear of steps and sides.
  • Wear closed-toed and hard-soled shoes, and avoid wearing footwear made of soft-resin or other rubbery materials.
  • Stand clear of the sides of the escalator.
  • Face forward and keep firm grip on the handrail.
  • Reposition your hand slowly if the handrail moves ahead or behind the steps.
  • Don’t climb onto or ride the handrail.
  • Do not let children sit on steps or stand too close to sides.
  • When exiting escalators: Don’t hesitate and step off promptly.
  • Make sure to step over the comb fingers; don’t let your feet slide off the end of the escalator.
  • Immediately move clear of the escalator exit area; don’t stop to talk or look around since other passengers may be behind you.

While the list of safety tips included in this post is surely thorough, remember that, in the event of an emergency, pushing the “STOP” button at the top or bottom of an escalator will immediately halt the machine.

Also, if you have children in your life, ElevatorInfo would like to introduce you to the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation. EESF, the leading resource for educational programs that teach children and adults how to properly ride elevators, escalators, and moving walks safely, has an excellent website that offers plenty of practical, hands-on methods to help kids learn about safe riding rules on elevators, escalators, and moving walks.