Washington State Material Lift Code

by | FAQs

In Washington, Vertical Reciprocating Conveyors can only be part of an automated system.  What may be classified as a VRC in other parts of the country is considered a Material Lift in Washington and it has its own code.  Custom Industrial Products manufactures code compliant lifts for Washington State.  For the full Material Lift Code for Washington State, reference WAC 296-96-05010 through WAC 296-96-05290.  This guide addresses many of the requirements from the Department of Labor and Industry for material lifts in Washington that are different than the ASME B20.1 Safety Standards.

What are the Department’s rules on material lifts? 

A “material lift” is defined as a fixed stationary conveyance that has a car or platform moving in guides, serves two or more floors of a building or structure, has a vertical rise of at least five feet but no more than sixty feet, has a maximum speed of fifty feet per minute, is not part of a conveying system but is an isolated self-contained lift, travels only in an inclined or vertical direction, is operated or supervised by an individual designated by the employer, is installed in a commercial or industrial area not accessible to the general public, and may not be operated from within the car.  Material lifts must not carry people so their operation or failure will not endanger people working near them.

What requirements apply to the construction and fire safety of hoistway enclosures? 

Generally, local codes and ordinances govern hoistway enclosure construction. When not in conflict with a local code requirement, the enclosure must be built to a height of 7 feet above each floor, landing and adjacent stairway tread; extend (adjacent to the counterweights) the full height of the floor and 8 inches beyond the counterweight raceway;  be constructed of either solid material or material with openings that will reject a 2-inch diameter ball; and be supported and braced so that it does not deflect more than 1 inch when subjected to a force of 100 pounds applied perpendicular at any point.  A full height hoistway enclosure is required only on the side(s) of the material lift for which the car is not equipped with a gate or enclosure.

What are the construction requirements for hoistway enclosure gates and doors? 

Enclosure gates (doors) must be constructed according to the following standards.  The gate must guard the full width of each opening on every landing. It must be built in one of the following styles:  vertically sliding; biparting; counter-balanced; horizontally swinging; or horizontally sliding.  It must be constructed of either solid material or material with openings that will reject a 2-inch diameter ball and be constructed with a distance of not more than 2 1/2 inches between a hoistway gate or hoistway door face and a landing sill edge.  Additionally, it should be designed and guided to withstand (without being broken, permanently deformed, or displaced from its guides or tracks) a 100 pound lateral pressure applied near its center and be equipped with labeled and listed electrical interlock(s) that prevents the operation of the lift when the doors or gates are open.  Finally, it must be constructed with balanced type vertically sliding gates that extend no more than 2 inches vertically from the landing threshold and no less than 66 inches above it.

What requirements apply to a hoistway that does not extend to the lowest levels of a building or structure? 

If the space directly below the hoistway is accessible, the following requirements apply.  All lift counterweights must have safeties.  All cars and counterweights must have either spring or oil buffers.  Spring buffers must not fully compress when struck by a car carrying its rated load or by the counterweights when they are moving at the following speeds:  (a) for safeties operated by a governor, the tripping speed of the governor is the maximum striking speed, or (b) for safeties not operated by a governor, 125 percent of the rated speed is the maximum striking speed.  Car and counterweight-buffer supports must be able to withstand any impact upon the buffer (without permanent deformation) while occurring at the following speeds:  (a) for safeties operated by a governor, the tripping speed of the governor at the rated capacity is the maximum impact speed, or (b) for safeties not operated by a governor, 125 percent of the rated speed is the maximum impact speed.

What requirements apply to lift hoist driving machines?

Lift hoist driving machines must be one of the following types: winding drum, traction, direct plunger, hydraulic, roped or chained hydraulic, rack and pinion, roller chain drive, scissors, or screw.  Overhead mounted driving machines must either be secured to the top of overhead beams or supported by the floor above. Hooks, cables, chains or similar devices cannot suspend driving machines.  For traction machines, the diameter of drive sheaves cannot be less than 30 times the diameter of the hoisting cables. The diameters of all other sheaves cannot be less than 21 times this diameter.

How much running clearance is permitted between a car sill and a hoistway?

Running clearance between a car sill and a hoistway enclosure must not exceed two inches. If the lift is supplied with a car door or gate, the running clearance is measured from the car sill to the hoistway sill.

What requirements apply to car operating devices, terminal stopping devices and electrical protective devices? 

If electrically operated, such devices must be enclosed. On lifts driven by winding drum machines, there must be a slack rope device employing an enclosed electric switch (manually reset type) which halts power to the drum and brake when the hoisting rope becomes slack.  On other lifts suspended by flexible means such as chain, there must be a slack rope/chains device employing an enclosed electric switch (manually reset type) which halts power to the machine and brake when the suspension means becomes slack.

What requirements apply to car safeties?

Car safeties must be used on all material lifts that are suspended by wire ropes or chains. They must be able to stop and sustain a car carrying 125% of its rated load. This must be demonstrated during the acceptance inspection and test procedure with an overspeed or gravity drop test, minimum two safeties at a time.

What safety regulations apply to exposed equipment? 

All exposed gears, sprockets, sheaves, drums, ropes and chains must be guarded to protect against accidental contact as required General safety and health standards adopted according to chapter 49.17 RCW.

What are the minimum maintenance requirements for lifts?

All owners, or designated owner representatives, of material lifts described in this chapter are responsible for the maintenance of their lifts and parts. Minimum maintenance requirements are that all lifts and their parts must be maintained in a safe condition. Maintenance, examinations, and safety tests are to be performed and documented to the applicable sections of Washington Administrative Code (sections 296-96-23601 through 296-96-23610).  Also, all devices and safeguards must be maintained in good working order.

When are inspections required?

Inspections are required for each lift installation, alteration or relocation and must be conducted at the completion of the job before the lift is placed into service. The inspection must include a safety test at 125 percent of rated load.

Are you ready to start designing the right lift for your unique application?