Hospitals are places where mobility and human trafficking are very important elements, so lifts must serve to manage them safely and efficiently. In this type of place, it is usual to install lifts and mounts, specially designed to provide safe, reliable and comfortable transportation to patients, visitors, medical personnel and medical equipment. Due to the special conditions that exist in these types of centers, the elevators have to have specific characteristics that meet their needs and that comply with the European regulations reflected in standards EN 81-20 and EN 81-50.
Nominal load, working surface and number of persons
The measurements and capacity of a hospital elevator will depend on the specific characteristics of the building. There is no standard, but the European regulations do publish some tables that must be met to ensure the efficiency and safety of these transport elements.
It has been established that the average weight of a person is at 75 kilos. However, the rule dictates that a lift for a person must withstand a nominal load of 100 kilos and have a maximum useful floor area of 0.37 square meters and a minimum of 0.28. For two people, the load would be 180 kilos and the maximum useful surface of 0.58 square meters, as well as the minimum of 0.49. So, successively.
In any case, it is normal for these types of buildings to install lifts that support a nominal load of at least 1000 kilos and have a capacity for 13 people, and from there can be installed this type of elements that support loads up to 6000 kilos.
The minimum cabin floor area for a lift with a capacity of 20 people is 3.13 meters, and above these 20 passengers are added 0.115 square meters more for each one. That is, the minimum useful floor space in an elevator for 30 people should be 4.28 square meters.
Electric elevators and hydraulic elevators
The main difference between these two types of lifts is their drive system. In any case, there is no rule that requires the installation of a specific elevator model in this type of buildings.
The hydraulics incorporate a pump connected to an electric motor that, through a block of valves, injects oil under pressure so that the rise of the cabin takes place. The descent occurs due to gravity, and it is the valve block which regulates the flow of oil that is returned to the tank. The electric ones have a suspension system with a counterweight. The drive pulley has an electric motor and an electromechanical brake that slide through fixed vertical rails.
Efficiency and Availability
The traffic of people that occurs in a hospital throughout the day and also at night is very high. Therefore, lifts must conform to the patterns of these buildings to ensure their efficiency and availability.
There is a preferential traffic whose attention must be a priority, such as the transfer of beds and beds to the operating rooms or rooms, transfer of patients with reduced mobility or movements of food trolleys at certain times. The waiting time of health workers should be minimal, so that lifts have to incorporate the latest advances in electronic maneuvers that allow their use without intermediate stops and also in signage and access rights.
In this type of buildings, it is convenient to separate the traffic of the hospital staff from the visitors, by installing multiple banks. Keep in mind that these centers produce very high traffic peaks at certain times such as visiting times, shift shifts or meal times.
Likewise, the elevator of a hospital must guarantee an efficient transfer, bearing in mind that in many cases they will be used to move patients with different ailments or diseases. In this sense, they should be little noisy and not produce sudden movements.
In a hospital, lifts must guarantee accessibility for all types of people and, in addition, it is necessary to take into account the difficulties that may present the transfer of patients in beds or stretchers. Therefore, it is essential that the leveling in plan is accurate, so that the entrance and exit of beds in a fast and comfortable. The doors must provide a reliable and fast operation, and must incorporate systems to detect obstacles and people.
The heavy use to which these elevators are subjected every day forces the extreme security measures. In this sense, the cabins must be of durable and resistant materials and be specifically designed for the transport of sanitary material. They must comply with the safety standards for fire evacuation and protection systems, and their revision and maintenance must be completed at least annually.
Elevators must be able to be connected to remote monitoring systems so that they can be controlled in real time. This allows for quick and efficient action in case of an emergency, and also allows the development of specific maintenance programs.
It is also mandatory that they incorporate safety elements such as immediate action parachute, emergency lights, alarm button and telephone inside the cabin, visual and acoustic signaling when the maximum load is exceeded, detection of loosening in suspension cables or mechanisms Rescue aids.
The energy efficiency of the lifts becomes a fundamental point according to the traffic patterns that appear in the hospitals. These elements must incorporate systems for direct energy saving and efficient management.
The lifts must incorporate a system of control of traction by variable frequency (VVVF), that provides a remarkable increase in the energy saving and, also, guarantees the maximum comfort in the trips and an excellent leveling. In addition, it allows reducing the power required in elevators with hydraulic traction system, which generally have always consumed more energy than electric.
Hospitals have certain areas in which a lower level of EMC emissions is required, because they have other electromagnetic equipment, to avoid coupling effects that generate interference or disturbances that affect the normal operation of this type of Apparatus or devices.
For this reason, lifts installed in a hospital must incorporate regenerative energy systems that allow drastically reducing these emissions. Elevators must be electromagnetically compatible with the environment in which they are located.
Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) ensures that devices or equipment work perfectly in the presence of other electromagnetic sources and do not affect other equipment or the environment that surrounds them (vegetation, animals and people).
Some medical equipment in a hospital is highly sensitive to electromagnetic contamination, so lifts must incorporate systems that prevent a situation from occurring that may even directly affect the health of patients and visitors.
Hospitals are places where high levels of hygiene are required. The elevators installed in this type of centers must guarantee that the requirements that are registered in the hospital hygiene guide handled by each center are met.
In this sense, not only maintenance, cleaning and disinfection are required to the parameters included in these manuals, but elevators must incorporate extras to ensure that these high demands are met.
It is important that the elevator pit is waterproofed to avoid dampness, which affects health directly, especially in patients with respiratory problems. Also, the cabin must be made of antibacterial and environmentally friendly materials, which cause the least possible environmental impact.
Ventilation is another aspect that must be taken into account when it comes to installing elevators in hospitals. To comply with current regulations, it is essential that these elements incorporate a mechanical ventilation system.
Emergency lifts in hospitals
The Technical Building Code requires the installation of emergency lifts in public buildings such as hospitals. In each floor, the access must be in the enclosure of a protected staircase and its load capacity must be at least 630 kilos. The dimensions of the floor of the cabin must be 1.20 meters by 2.10 meters, and must be able to complete its entire journey in less than 60 seconds.
These lifts must have their own power supply for their power supply with an autonomy of at least one hour, to guarantee their operation in case of failures in the general supply. The number of emergency lifts to be installed in a hospital will depend on the anticipation of occupants in the whole building, by reason of one emergency lift per thousand occupants or fraction.