Massachusetts VRC Code

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Massachusetts has a number of regulations for vertical reciprocating conveyors that are not found in other states.  This guide will highlight the standards presented by the Board of Elevator Regulations.  Because some of the standards are identical to ASME B20.1, only the regulations that exceed the requirements of ASME B20.1 will be covered.

Applicable Regulations

524 CMR is the Code of Massachusetts Regulations set forth by the Board of Elevator Regulations for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  These regulations contain the entire elevator code.  The numbers preceding “CMR” identify the agency responsible for issuing the regulations, and any numbers that appear after “CMR” are the specific chapter or section of those regulations.  In addition to 524 CMR, the Board of Fire Prevention Regulations establishes the standards that all electrical work must comply with in 527 CMR.  Your building may also be subject to additional requirements specific to the Massachusetts State Building Code found in 780 CMR.  Finally, there are references to ASME A17.1 in 524 CMR for vertical reciprocating conveyors.  ASME A17.1 is the Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators published by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Specific references to vertical reciprocating conveyors can be found in 524 CMR 32.00 through 32.13.

General Regulations

Massachusetts law declares that the term “elevator” includes vertical reciprocating conveyors.  Periodic inspections are required at an interval of not more than two years.  A licensed structural engineer must indicate a conformance to the 524 CMR 32.00 standards and verify a safety factor of three for all structural components.  All work related to the installation, maintenance, and repair must be completed by a licensed contractor and a permit must be obtained from from the Department of Public Safety prior to installation.  All wiring and electrical equipment must comply with 527 CMR 12.00  As with all vertical reciprocating conveyors, no riders are permitted on the lift while it is in motion.

Hoistway Enclosures, Doors, and Gates

Any VRC that penetrates a fully enclosed solid floor at an upper level must have full enclosures throughout their height and be constructed in accordance to the Massachusetts State Building Code.  If the VRC is adjacent to a stairway, the enclosure may not be less than 96″ above any step and must a reject a 1″ diameter ball.

The openings at each landing must be guarded by full width gates or doors that extend vertically from two inches above the threshold to a minimum height of 72″.  The horizontal running clearance between the platform and landing threshold shall not be less than 1/2 inch nor greater than 1 1/2 inches.  The horizontal clearance between the platform edge and the inside surface of the hoistway door shall not exceed five inches.  Doors must have electromechanical interlocks (also required by B20.1).  Power doors when provided must conform to the following:  Swing door closing force shall not exceed 10 lbf, horizontal sliding or vertical operating doors closing force shall not exceed 30 lbf.  Maximum closing speed for doors shall not exceed 1-ft/sec.  The control device to open and close the door shall be within sight of the hoistway door it controls.  Door control shall be of the constant pressure type and shall not be controlled automatically.

Carriage Enclosures

Non-loading sides of the carriage need to have an enclosure at least 43″ high to prevent material from falling into or against the enclosure.  Carriage gates are not required for the loading sides of the carriage..  A snap chain, drop bar, or similar device may be installed across all load sides.  “NO RIDERS” signage must be installed in the carriage.

Work Platforms

Custom Industrial Products manufactures vertical reciprocating conveyors wherein the drive header, motor, and drums for the wire rope are placed directly above the hoistway or within the tower structure on a cantilever style unit.  Massachusetts requires a safe means of access must be provided from outside the hoistway for maintenance and repairs since this equipment is not in a separate machine room.  If the access panels are greater than 72 inches above floor level, stairs or a fixed ladder must be provided.  A work platform that sits above the hoistway near the drive header satisfies this requirement.

Safety Devices

Massachusetts, as with ASME B20.1, requires certain devices be installed to ensure appropriate safety of the lift while in operation.  These include safeties (brakes) that are capable of of stopping and sustaining the carriage with 125% of it’s rated load.  Additionally, top and bottom as well as final travel limit switches are required.  Control Stations are to be placed on the outside of each landing with emergency stop buttons.  These stations must be placed in such a way that it is not possible for the same person to operate the control and ride the lift.  Finally, a slack rope or slack chain switch that causes main power to be removed from the motor is required along with a manual reset of this device.  Custom Industrial Products includes these safety features and many others as standard with the entire product line of vertical reciprocating conveyors.

Final Thoughts

VRC requirements in Massachusetts are more stringent than in many other states, however Custom Industrial Products is very familiar with these regulations and has manufactured a number of code compliant lifts for Massachusetts installation over many years.  Our goal is to deliver the best lifting solution for your application and needs.  For more information about how CIP can solve your material handling challenges, call us today at 800.699.2212.

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