Incident Lessons Learned: Elevator Incidents

Several incidents involving elevators highlight the need to report malfunctioning equipment immediately.

27 October 2023


Over the past few months there have been three separate incidents involving elevators and injuries at the U of A. The incidents occurred when an individual went to hold the door or open the door and inserted their arm into the elevator when it was closing. 

These incidents were not reported immediately and so there was a delay in getting the issue corrected, putting other staff and students at risk.


Elevators are equipped with controls to prevent incidents, such as object impact detection or light curtains. However, these systems can malfunction, which can cause potential injury from the force of the closing doors.

When a report of a malfunction is received the elevator is taken out of service until it can be inspected/fixed. When there is a delay in reporting, this can delay the elevator from being taken out of  service risking additional malfunctions and injuries.

Elevators are also inspected on a regular basis and in one case, the inspection found one of the deficiencies three days after the incident occurred even though the incident was yet to be reported to the U of A. Inspections are also an important method to ensure equipment is functioning properly.

Culture of Care

The Culture of Care calls for all employees to take responsibility for one’s own safety and that of others. One approach to this is to raise awareness of a hazard and ensure employees know what to do and what not to do. Another method is to ensure that malfunctioning equipment is properly reported so it can be corrected before another employee experiences the same issue.

Call to Action

Elevators are common on campus and so all employees should take the following steps to ensure their safety:

  1. Never put your arm or anything else in between the closing doors of an elevator. Use the “hold door” button or wait for the next elevator.
  2. If you notice a malfunction, a near miss occurs, or an incident occurs, please note the elevator number and report it immediately to Facilities and Operations using

If a near miss or incident occurs, report it to HSE using the incident reporting portal.

The University of Alberta is committed to the safety, health and well-being of our faculty, staff and students. Every day, we advance this commitment to safety through the Culture of Care.