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Subchapter 6. Elevator Safety Orders
Article 7. Hoistways, Hoistway Enclosures, and Related Construction for Power Cable-Driven Passenger and Freight Elevators
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§3016. Pits for Elevators.

(a) Where Required. A pit shall be provided at the bottom of the hoistway of every power-driven elevator. The pit shall extend the entire area of the hoistway.

(b) Design and Construction of Pits.

(1) See section 3010(c) for details of pit construction.

(2) The pit depth shall be not less than is required for the installation of the buffers, compensating sheaves, if any, and all other elevator equipment located therein, and to provide the minimum bottom clearance and runby required by section 3017.

(3) The floor of the pit shall be approximately level, but sufficient slope shall be allowed for drainage. No recess shall be allowed unless covered or guarded.

(4) Drains connected directly to sewers shall not be installed in elevator pits.

(5) Drains or sumps in elevator pits shall not be used as the normal means of drainage for liquids directed into the pit from other areas of the building.

(6) Pumping equipment provided to remove accidental water from the pit shall be located outside the hoistway where practicable or shall be of the type that can be readily removed from the hoistway for repairs. Authorized personnel shall be present when it is necessary to enter the pit to remove accidental water accumulations.

(7) The elevator pit may be provided with a water removal system that complies with section 3120.6(c).

(c) Guards Between Adjacent Pits. Enclosures not less than 6 ft (1.83m) high shall be provided between pits of adjacent hoistways. Where openings are provided in the enclosure, they shall not exceed 2 in. (51mm). Where a ladder is provided on the enclosure, the enclosure shall extend not less than 6 ft (1.83m) above the top rung and not less than 12 in. (305mm) each side of the side rails.

EXCEPTIONS to subsection 3016(c):

Enclosures between pits may be omitted if the clearance between the underside of the car sling, when resting on the fully compressed buffer, and the bottom of the pit is not less than 7 ft (2.13m); and provided that where counterweights are located between pits they shall be guarded on the side away from the elevator they serve, even though they may have compensating ropes or chains.

(d) Access to Pits. Safe and convenient access shall be provided to all pits. Access may be by means of the lowest hoistway door or by means of a separate pit access door. Each pit of multiple hoistways shall have a separate means of access except where a separate pit access door is provided and guards between pits are not required.

(1) Where access to the pit is by way of a separate pit door or gate, the door or gate shall be self-closing and self-locking and shall be arranged to be opened from inside the pit without a key. Separate pit access doors shall be kept locked.

EXCEPTIONS to subsection 3016(d)(1):

The lock on existing pit access doors may be omitted under any of the following:

1. The access door is equipped with a contact that prevents the elevator from running when the door is open.

2. The access to the pit is from an area secured against unauthorized access.

3. The clearance between the pit floor and the underside of the car sling is not less than 7 ft (2.13m) when the car is on the fully compressed buffer, the counterweight runway is guarded to a height of not less than 7 ft (2.13m) except on the side where compensating chains or ropes are attached, and all sheaves are guarded.

(2) Separate pit access doors or gates, where provided, shall be not less than 30 in. (762mm) wide nor less than 4 ft (1.22m) high.

(3) The separate pit access door shall be provided with a contact if the car apron, or the car platform, extends into the access opening when the car is level with the lowest hoistway landing.

(4) Access to pits over 3 ft (914mm) in depth below the sill of the pit access door shall be by means of a permanent ladder or stairway into the pit. The ladder or stairway shall be adequately guarded to prevent contact between a person on the ladder or stairway and any moving part of adjacent elevators or machinery. The ladder shall be located adjacent to the strike jamb of and accessible from the access door to the pit.

EXCEPTIONS to subsection 3016(d)(4);

1. Ladders or stairways are not required to be provided in pits of elevators installed before June 5, 1947 unless they have undergone a major alteration or have been required for cause.

2. Elevators installed between June 5, 1947 and December 1, 1988 are only required to have ladders or stairways if the pit is over 4 ft (1.22m) in depth.

(5) Access ladders or stairways shall comply with the requirements of Subchapter 7, Article 4, Title 8, Chapter 4 of the California Administrative Code, except that for vertical ladders the distance from the ladder rung to the wall shall be not less than 4 in. (102mm).

(e) Pit Maintenance. Pits shall be maintained in a clean and dry condition.

(f) Illumination of Pits. Lights and convenience outlets in elevator pits shall be installed to comply with the requirements of CCR, Title 24, Part 3, Article 620.

(g) Stop Switch in Pits. There shall be installed in the pit of every power elevator an enclosed type positive acting stop switch meeting the requirements of Section 3040(b)(5), except elevators installed before June 5, 1947.

(1) This switch shall be located so as to be accessible from the pit access door. Where access to the pits of elevators in a multiple hoistway is by means of a single separate access door, the stop switch for each elevator shall be located adjacent to the nearest point of access to its pit from the access door.

(2) In elevator pits, where the access is through the lowest landing hoistway door, the stop switch shall be located within 18 in. (457mm) above or 18 in. (457mm) below the floor level at the access landing. The stop switch shall be located not more than 78 in. (1,98m) above the pit floor. When the pit exceeds 8 ft (2.44m)in depth, another stop switch shall be provided adjacent to the pit ladder and approximately 4 ft (1.22m) above the pit floor.

(3) All pit stop switches shall be properly identified by a name plate or painted with red or orange color.

(h) Safe Access to Elevated Equipment in the Elevator Pit and on the Underside of the Car. Where the pit floor is more than 12 ft (3.66m) below the bottom hoistway landing, or where the means for checking the oil level in oil buffers is more than 7 ft (2.13m) above the pit floor, drawings that detail the means of access to elevated equipment shall be submitted to the division for approval.


Authority cited: Section 142.3, Labor Code. Reference: Section 142.3, Labor Code.


1. Amendment of subsection (d)(5) filed 6-23-77; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 77, No. 26).

2. Amendment filed 6-23-87; operative 6-23-87 (Register 87, No. 27).

3. Amendment of subsection (d)(4) filed 12-15-88; operative 1-14-89 (Register 88, No. 53).

4. Amendment of subsection (f) filed 6-29-94; operative 7-29-94 (Register 94, No. 26).

5. Editorial correction of subsections (d)(4) Exception 1 and (g)(2) (Register 95, No. 26).

6. Amendment of subsections (b)(1), (b)(2) and (b)(6), new subsection (b)(7) and repealer of last paragraph filed 7-28-2003; operative 8-27-2003 (Register 2003, No. 31).

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