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What Causes an Elevator to Shut Down?


Elevators may be one of our safest forms of mechanical transportation today. Collectively, elevators take thousands of trips a day and almost always deliver their passengers safely to their floors. There are, of course, some instances of passengers getting stuck in elevators that have shut down. But even these instances are usually resolved with the passengers being safely rescued. Modern elevators have numerous safety devices in place to keep anyone stuck in an elevator safe. Still, it’s important to be aware of situations that may cause an elevator to shut down.

Operator Error

Simply said, any passenger inappropriately using the elevator could cause it to shut down. This could mean too many people cramming into a cab, or jumping up and down while the cab is traveling. Elevators have weight restrictions to keep passengers safe and to keep the mechanics of the machine working like they’re designed to do. When the elevator becomes either overloaded or experiences turbulence, it’s designed to shut down for the safety of the passengers. However, when passengers purposefully try to shut down an elevator, it can cause damage to an elevator, which may require repair from an experienced mechanic.

Mechanical Error

Elevators these days are smart—many are run by microprocessors. However, in some situations, mechanical components may fail or not act in the way in which they were designed. If a mechanical error occurs, the elevator senses it and shuts down. This happens as a safety precaution. Elevators are designed to keep the passengers inside the cab safe in the instance that something malfunctions. Regularly scheduled maintenance can help prevent mechanical errors from occurring.

What Happens If An Elevator Shuts Down?

There are a few things that a property manager or building owner should do if an elevator in their building gets stuck but the most important is to keep any passengers in the cab calm and to wait for the fire department or elevator maintenance company

Before attempting rescue, the fire department may wait for an elevator mechanic to get the elevator operating as normal. In some cases and emergencies, though, they may have to lever the doors open in order to save the passengers stuck inside.

Ultimately, the safest place to be when an elevator is stuck is inside the cab. The elevator has shut down in order to keep the passengers safe. Anything done to the elevator to unstick it may only cause further damage to the elevator or injury to the passengers.


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