With more than 70,000 elevators and escalators in New York City, this equipment is a standard part of our lives. Decades of improved technology have minimized the risks so much that few people know it’s dangerous to use these machines the wrong way. The Elevator Unit ensures the operational safety, reliable service and lawful use of vertical transportation devices throughout our City, that include: Elevators, Escalators, Amusement Rides, Personnel Hoists, Dumbwaiters, Material Lifts, Wheelchair lifts, Conveyors, and other related devices

The Unit responds to complaints, conducts re-inspections of private and DOB hazardous violations, conducts audits and training, responds to and investigates accident/incidents, conducts acceptance testing, surveys, and special assignments. Additionally, the Elevator Unit processes new elevator applications, conducts plan examinations, issues permits for modernizations, removals, and dismantles, as well as handles Construction Code inquiries and clarifications by mail and over the phone.

Industry Notice

Industry Meeting Recaps

Elevator Safety

  • Look down and make sure the elevator is level with the floor while entering and exiting.
  • Do not exit the elevator if it stops more than 9 inches from the landing.
  • Press the door open button to hold closing elevator doors instead of using any part of your body.
  • Never lean on elevator doors.
  • Keep clothing items like ties and scarves clear of closing elevator doors.
  • Be patient and don’t crowd the elevator. Too many people crowded into elevators can cause it to get stuck.
  • Avoid jumping which can make an elevator uneven with the floor. You can also get stuck.

Three rules if you get stuck in an elevator:

  1. Ring the alarm.
  2. Relax because help is on the way.
  3. Wait without prying open the doors.


Escalator Safety

  • Step on and off carefully
  • Hold the handrail
  • Help young children and seniors
  • Always face forward
  • Don’t touch the sides below the handrail
  • Never ride with an open stroller
  • Make sure your shoelaces are tied

In an Emergency

  • Never use an elevator in the event of a fire
  • If elevator gets stuck, remain calm and wait for help
  • Never attempt to pry the elevator doors open
  • Use the emergency call button
  • Follow the instructions from the building management
  • Never attempt to exit a stalled elevator without the help of the building management or emergency responder (e.g. Police, Fire Rescue)
  • Move to the rear center of the elevator and face the doors while waiting for help

Visit 311 Online if you are concerned about the operation of an elevator or escalator. Dial 911 for life-threatening emergencies.


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