How Can an Elevator Malfunction?

An elevator malfunction can cause serious injuries to the people inside, be it the employees at your workplace or the guests at a hotel. From power failures and shaking lifts to sudden stops and door failures, lift maintenance should be a top priority for your business to prevent lift malfunctions from occurring.

It’s crucial to know the different causes of an elevator malfunction. In this guide, we’re going to explain how an elevator can malfunction and what to do when problems arise. The team at Sheridan Lifts can provide nationwide lift maintenance to prevent elevator malfunction, so if you need us, we’re here for you.


Common Lift Malfunctions, and How to Identify Them

Many things can go wrong and become faulty with an elevator and its parts, causing it to break down and pose a risk to passengers. Some problems can be minor and easily fixable – however, some elevator issues can be major and lead to an elevator crash or malfunction that causes severe injury to individuals.

Learn about some of the most common elevator problems and how to avoid them in this guide to help ensure your elevator is operating correctly and to prevent it from undergoing malfunctions that could put people at risk.

We’ll not only discuss how these common lift malfunctions occur but also what you should do when they occur and the importance of lift maintenance in tackling them. 

Power Failure

A power failure is one of the most frequent elevator issues that can lead to malfunction and potential injury. 

Anything from an electrical storm to a broken fuse might trigger this. Power failures typically only cause a brief delay and do not increase the risk of injury to people inside the elevator. That said, some power failures can cause an elevator to stop suddenly, which jostles the people inside, leading to potential harm and injuries.

In the event of a power failure, you should wait for the maintenance team to arrive before attempting to operate the elevator yourself. Make sure you follow the elevator maintenance plan if you want to prevent this issue. In that way, any possible issues can be identified early on before they become significant problems.

We provide passenger lift, residential lift and platform lift repairs, as well as lift maintenance contracts at Sheridan Lifts. We can provide you with the assurance that you are protected in the case of a lift failure and that lift maintenance services will be conducted regularly.

It is also very likely that communication will be lost as well when you experience a power failure. As a result, the elevator is unable to interact with its control system, which means lift passengers will be left with no communication. What’s the solution? Ensure the elevators are equipped with backup communication systems so that they can be reached even if the power goes out on your premises.

Lift Doors Failing to Open

Another common elevator issue is lift doors failing to open. This issue is not uncommon and the problems it can cause aren’t too serious. 

It can soon become very uncomfortable and unsettling for people inside a lift when the doors of the elevator fail to open at a stop. Being stuck in an elevator is a massive fear for many. That’s why it’s best to stay calm and not panic. 

It’s especially worrying for passengers when the temperature in the elevator is warm and lots of people are inside. Elderly persons and people with anxiety and claustrophobia are more prone to the fear of door failures. Even among those who don’t often experience claustrophobia in crowded places, overcrowded passenger elevators might make them feel anxious. 

Numerous factors, like something being stuck in the door or the door not shutting properly, might contribute to elevator doors failing to open. Luckily, there are ways to bypass this issue. Making sure that nothing gets stuck in the door and following an adequate maintenance routine can help you avoid this issue. The door should close smoothly and properly when nothing is blocking it.

Do not attempt to push the door open if you are having this issue as you may end up doing more harm. Wait for the maintenance team to show up and address the issue for you. As with any other elevator issue, regular maintenance will allow you to avoid problems like this, ensuring the safety of passengers is guaranteed. Explore our range of elevator maintenance and installation services and find out how we can help.

Defective doors are also a common elevator issue. In order to prevent accidents, modern elevators typically contain built-in door sensors that slow down the opening and closing of the doors. Door sensors, however, are susceptible to error and could potentially fail to detect a person or their limb. Suddenly closing doors might trap a person within the lift or crush part of their body. If the elevator begins to move up or down, this could cause serious injury or death.

Sudden Stops/Stops Between Floors

Though designed to stop at each floor when programmed to, elevators are not intended to stop abruptly or between floors. 

The elevator is programmed to stop steadily as it approaches each floor, but never abruptly. Passengers risk falling or hitting their heads and getting life-threatening injuries like concussions when this programming is flawed or there is an electrical issue.

A power outage or a badly maintained elevator can cause abrupt stops between floors. This issue could also be inflicted by timing issues and faulty electronic work or electrical failures. Each of these can make the movement of an elevator more shaky and jerky. The best way to effectively prevent sudden stops between floors is routine maintenance.

Sudden pauses can be caused by electrical failure and timing difficulties, but programming the elevator should prevent them. Injury to passengers – especially back injuries and fall-related injuries – is likely to occur as well. Sudden stops can throw passengers into walls and into each other, so all sorts of injuries can occur. 

Additionally, the lift compartment could collide with its counterbalance, and if bolts and other hardware are ripped off, the lift could lose control and cause more problems. 

Need to have your elevator checked? No problem. We’ll send a qualified lift maintenance professional from the Sheridan Lifts team in Manchester

Lift Jerking or Shaking

Given the uncontrolled passengers, elevator jerking and shaking are the most dangerous elevator issues out there. Elevator compartments don’t usually have handrails, and even if they did, they might merely provide someone with a false sense of security against the swaying elevator.

Elevator shaking and vibration can be brought on by a number of factors, including component failure, changes in the system’s overall performance, or even a combination of them both. 

The brake linings, springs, or drum may be at fault when jerking and shaking occurs. Also, the electrical voltage may vary or the elevator may be overloaded. Modern variable voltage elevators halt the automobile dynamically before applying a brake to bring it to a complete stop.

Elevators are susceptible to misleveling as well – however, the problem is typically brought on by a floor selector component, levelling subsystems, or doors opening before the lift compartment reaches the stop.


What to Do If a Lift Malfunctions

Okay, so we’ve established some of the most common elevator malfunctions and problems that can arise, but what exactly should you do when a lift malfunctions, you may be asking? 

While we can’t stress enough that lift maintenance is paramount to ensuring your elevators experience no problems or malfunctions, once a lift has malfunctioned, it’s time to take action – or let a professional take care of it for you. 

You must keep in mind that it is your obligation to protect the safety of stranded passengers if you are the property owner and, consequently, the owner of the lift. Unless there is a medical emergency or the broken elevator poses a threat to life, local emergency services shouldn’t be called for these situations.

If you have a commercial or apartment building elevator that has been installed by trained professionals, the following will help in the event of a lift malfunction:

  • Emergency lighting inside the elevator compartment.
  • An appropriate communications system – trapped passengers should be able to communicate and alert you that there is an emergency.
  • Lift breakdown signage to notify people what to do in the event of a breakdown or elevator malfunction. 

An emergency phone link to an area outside the building is required if an alarm bell or intercom message is unlikely to elicit a response (e.g. because the remainder of the building is unoccupied or because anybody else within is too far away to hear it).

Our emergency procedures for a lift malfunction are as follows:

  • Stay calm – this applies to you and the stranded passengers 
  • Communicate with people inside
  • Don’t try to fix the problem yourself
  • Alert emergency personnel
  • Contact an emergency lift repair company immediately

Your main priorities when a lift malfunctions should be to communicate with the people stuck inside the inoperative elevator and contact a lift repairs company that can come and repair your lift and resolve the issue for you.

There are many potential causes for the elevator to malfunction, therefore you must leave repair work to the experts unless you are competent to do so. No matter what, don’t try to get involved because you risk the possibility of making the situation even worse and putting yourself and everyone else on the premises in danger. Contacting a reputable lift repair firm can reduce further risks and problems, while also ensuring the safety of everyone trapped within the lift.

The Importance of Lift Maintenance to Prevent Lift Malfunctions

You need to be confident that your lift is well maintained to prevent lift malfunction and potential harm to passengers – be they building workers, office workers or hotel guests.

An elevator is a sophisticated system that needs routine maintenance to guarantee the functionality of the car, cables, pulleys, air traps, motion detectors, programming, and other components. People are more likely to suffer an elevator injury if a property manager, landlord, or operator doesn’t carry out the necessary maintenance and repairs. You don’t need to do it yourself either, just arrange for a trusted organisation in the lift industry to perform a lift maintenance check in your building. 

Ultimately, failure to effectively maintain your elevator and comply with lift maintenance requirements are the primary cause of lift malfunctions, problems and injuries in all industries. With an abundance of parts within the elevator shaft and car, one of the many elevator parts can mess up the entire lift system if it’s faulty – a lift check-up or refurbishment can identify this and ensure no one walks out of your lift as an injured person.

Here at Sheridan Lifts, our incredible maintenance and repairs team achieve effective lift maintenance, among other things, by implementing a routine maintenance plan that involves routine inspections of your lifts to look for possible problem spots before they have a chance to develop into major problems.


Reduce Elevator Malfunction with Our Stellar Lift Maintenance Service

We’ve repeated over and over again just how crucial lift maintenance is for your commercial and residential elevators. You should arrange for a lift maintenance check-up to come and inspect your elevator and prevent future problems. But how? By getting in touch with Sheridan Lifts!

Make Sheridan Lifts your first point of contact when looking for a lift engineer company since we constantly provide affordable prices, unmatched services with rapid response times, and a devotion to customer service that we’re sure you won’t find anywhere else. We work nationwide, from Manchester and Liverpool to the booming capital of London.

Competent lift maintenance is a very effective practice that should be carried out regularly to identify any smaller faults as soon as possible before they get greater and necessitate emergency lift repairs.

You will receive routine inspections and maintenance visits from Sheridan as your lift service provider to guarantee that your lifts are always in compliance with the law and that any problems may be identified early and resolved quickly. Interested? Chat to the team today.