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  • Writer's pictureJacqueline Tremblay

Can a Freight Elevator be Used for Passengers?

Elevators have become an essential part of modern vertical transportation, catering to various needs, including the movement of goods and people.

Freight elevators, specifically designed for heavy-duty transportation of goods and cargo, often raise the question of whether they can be utilized for passengers in certain circumstances.

In this blog post, we delve into the nuances of freight elevators, debunk common misconceptions, explore safety concerns, and discuss exceptional situations where passenger usage might be considered.

The Functionality of Freight Elevators

Freight elevators are purpose-built to handle substantial loads, featuring larger capacities, robust construction, and specialized controls to facilitate efficient goods transportation.

They are equipped with safety mechanisms to protect cargo and prevent damage during transit, but their design differs significantly from passenger elevators.

Passenger Elevators vs. Freight Elevators

It is essential to comprehend the fundamental distinctions between passenger and freight elevators.

Passenger elevators are engineered to prioritize passenger safety and comfort, adhering to strict regulations concerning load capacity and operational standards. On the other hand, freight elevators prioritize cargo transportation, accommodating heavier loads with fewer safety features for passengers.

Misconceptions about Using Freight Elevators for Passengers

One of the common misconceptions is that freight elevators can be used interchangeably with passenger elevators.

This is risky and potentially illegal in many jurisdictions due to safety concerns and non-compliance with regulations. Some may wrongly assume that occasional passenger usage is acceptable, but this exposes occupants to significant risks.

Is it Ever Acceptable to Transport Passengers in Freight Elevators?

In certain exceptional circumstances, there might be a need to allow passengers in freight elevators temporarily.

Emergency situations, accessibility concerns, or special events could warrant such actions. However, such usage must be strictly authorized, supervised, and conducted following rigorous safety protocols to minimize risks.

Retrofitting Freight Elevators for Dual Use

Retrofitting freight elevators for dual use requires careful consideration and professional evaluation. It involves substantial modifications to meet passenger elevator standards and compliance.

Elevator consultants play a vital role in assessing the feasibility and executing the retrofitting process, ensuring adherence to safety standards.


Freight elevators are indispensable for efficient goods transportation, but they are not suitable for passenger use by default. Adhering to regulations and prioritizing safety is crucial in elevating the vertical transportation experience.

isWhen considering passenger usage in freight elevators, building owners and operators must approach it cautiously, prioritize safety measures, and ensure compliance with applicable codes and standards.

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