Owners guide: escalators & moving walkways

So you own/are responsible for an escalator or moving walkway but are unsure of what this means in terms of your responsibilities? Don't worry; you're not alone! This is precisely why we've put together the information below...

Every minute of every day, people are using escalators and moving walkways. In shopping centres, department stores, cinemas, airports, train stations and a host of other buildings, they are quietly, efficiently, safely and unobtrusively transporting large numbers of people.

The key to their smooth and successful operation is efficient planning, installation and quality maintenance. If you are a building owner with an escalator/moving walkway, you have certain responsibilities for the proper care, maintenance and upkeep of these products.

What are my responsibilities?

Owners are responsible under The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 to keep up to date with any changes in legislation, standards and codes of practice that might affect their escalator/moving walkway equipment.

It is recognised that the care of this type of equipment is highly specialised, but help will be provided by a reputable escalator maintenance contractor. Your service provider should advise about possible breaches of legislation or compromise of safety for passengers.

Escalators and moving walkways are used by millions of people every day. Their safety is crucial, and Regulations, Standards, and Guidelines exist to ensure that they continue to be safe modes of transport and to also ensure the safety of the engineers maintaining the equipment.

And what do these regulations say?

All new escalators and moving walkways must comply with the Machinery Directive and therefore meet all current industry standards. The escalator company that supplied your equipment will normally provide a 12-month warranty covering parts and labour. In many cases, it may include escalator maintenance work to ‘fine tune’ the equipment as it settles into the building.

The Machinery Directive provides the harmonisation of the essential health and safety requirements for machinery through a combination of mandatory health and safety requirements and voluntary harmonised standards. The Directive applies to new products on the market for the first time.

Lifts, escalators and moving walkways tend to have a much longer life span than most other forms of transportation. Still, if your equipment is more than ten years old, it is unlikely to comply with all the current legislation, including the safe working requirements for engineers. For example, modern escalators require balustrade skirting deflector devices, adequate stop buttons and appropriate safety notices.

So what do I need to do?

You must arrange an initial inspection of your equipment, carried out by a specialist building services consultant or an escalator service company, such as Stannah Lift Services. They can provide escalator repair and/or recommend any work that may be needed to meet current requirements.

These recommendations can take the form of minor fixes through to fuller escalator refurbishment or escalator modernisation workIt's worth bearing in mind that most lift companies have engineers with the technical capability to work on all makes and models - not just their own.

Escalator maintenance - how often is it required?

Even if your escalator or moving walkway meets all current standards, it is still advisable to undertake regular preventative maintenance on them to prevent costly faults and breakdowns. When in good working condition, escalators are an incredible asset for indoor mobility, but when in a state of disrepair, they can also represent a significant health and safety risk.

As there are many moving parts within escalators and moving walks, the need for expert maintenance is very important. During services, parts are lubricated, checked and adjusted to ensure they move smoothly, with minimum friction. When escalators are not regularly serviced, parts can wear down and deteriorate more quickly, leading to component failure and more frequent breakdowns.

There are a variety of items a service engineer will check during service, including the following:

  • Conveyor belts are not showing any sign of wear

  • Protective barriers are not damaged and are in place

  • No broken tread teeth on steps

  • Safety signs and instructions are clearly displayed

  • No components are missing or loose

  • Safety catches or stops are all in place

  • Test emergency stop buttons

  • Check electrical wiring is not frayed or damaged

  • No obvious damage, such as cracked glass or loose panels

  • Check all safety lighting, including skirt, comb plate and step ga

  •  Ensure all walking surfaces are free of trip and slip hazards

  • Listen for excessive noise or grating sounds during the operation

The correct service interval can vary depending on the type of equipment, the age of the equipment and the amount of day-to-day traffic it carries, but on average, escalators should be serviced at least twice a year.

Stannah offers a range of lift services and maintenance packages to ensure your escalator repair and service needs are met. Our 11 service branches are located across the UK and offer a full range of services – 24/7, 365 days a year.

Could I replace my existing worn escalator with a new one?

Yes. Although it is not always necessary to replace an existing product, a lift company can help extend product life by refurbishing and upgrading the principal parts of the equipment.

As well as the refurbishment option, you can consider removing the existing product and installing a new moving walkway or escalator. Replacement of old moving walkways or escalators for new ones can incur large building work costs. Instead, you can upgrade equipment or undertake an in-truss replacement, saving budget, time and disruption to a business. 

Local lift refurbishment and modernisation by Stannah

How we can help...

Whether your equipment requires refurbishment for a wide range of reasons, from meeting current legislation and standards to cosmetic enhancements or improved reliability and efficiency, our highly trained engineers will ensure that the works are carried out efficiently, on time and above all, safely.

Lift maintenance, repair, servicing and contracts by Stannah

Still unsure? No problem! Get in touch to speak to one of our lift experts, or click here to download your FREE guide to escalator and moving walkway servicing and maintenance.

With over 50,000 installations across the UK and nearly 100,000 units in our service portfolio, we offer a wide range of lift solutions and services to move people and goods. Take a look at our product range or simply get in touch.

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