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CPSC Urgent Warning: Stop Using Waupaca Residential Elevators Due to Fatal Entrapment and Serious Fall Hazards

Release Date: January 11, 2022
  • The distance between the hoistway door and elevator car door. A child can become entrapped in that space if the distance is greater than 4 inches.
    The distance between the hoistway door and elevator car door. A child can become entrapped in that space if the distance is greater than 4 inches.
  • Typical scenario depicting a child trapped between an exterior landing (hoistway) door and an interior elevator car door. The closing of the exterior door locks the child in the space between the doors when the elevator is called to another floor, putting the child at risk of being crushed or pinned by the elevator car.
    Typical scenario depicting a child trapped between an exterior landing (hoistway) door and an interior elevator car door. The closing of the exterior door locks the child in the space between the doors when the elevator is called to another floor, putting the child at risk of being crushed or pinned by the elevator car.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning consumers about deadly hazards posed by Waupaca Elevator Company, Inc. residential elevators. These Waupaca elevators were manufactured and distributed beginning in 1979 through to the present and sold for between $18,000 and $30,000. Models include the 008, 010, 014, 015, 016, 018, 021, 022, 110, 114, 115, 116, 118, and 210 models.

Children can become entrapped in residential elevator gaps larger than four inches between the exterior landing (hoistway) door and the interior elevator car door or gate, and can die or suffer serious injuries when the elevator is called to another floor. During the summer of 2021, three children were entrapped in other manufacturers’ residential elevators; one of them, a 7-year-old, was fatally crushed by an elevator in a vacation home. 

This is an issue that affects residential elevators broadly. Children can fit into what may appear to be a small gap between the exterior landing (hoistway) door and the elevator door. Consumers should have a safety device, such as a space guard, installed to eliminate any hazardous gaps.

CPSC has been issuing warnings about the hazard posed by residential elevators since 2019, and today is announcing that three other companies have agreed to contact their customers and fix all elevators that have a hazardous gap as part of a recall: 

Bella Elevator LLC Recalls Residential Elevators Due to Child Entrapment Hazard; Risk of Serious Injury or Death to Young Children

Inclinator Company of America Recalls Residential Elevators Due to Child Entrapment Hazard; Risk of Serious Injury or Death to Young Children

Savaria Corporation Recalls Residential Elevators Due to Child Entrapment Hazard; Risk of Serious Injury or Death to Young Children

CPSC is aware of one incident from 2011 that involved a Waupaca residential elevator. A 4-year-old child became trapped between the hoistway door and the Waupaca model 014 elevator car door. The child was found dangling in the elevator shaft, upside down, with his foot lodged between the elevator car and the elevator shaft on the third floor. The child suffered physical scarring and permanent vision loss as a result of the incident. CPSC requested that Waupaca join the recall being announced today, but the company refused.

CPSC urges homeowners with Waupaca residential elevators to lock the elevator, or lock all exterior landing (hoistway) doors to the elevator, to prevent children from accessing the elevator until a local elevator service company or qualified inspector can examine the elevator to ensure that the space between the doors complies with the requirements of ASME A17.3-2017 Safety Code for Existing Elevator and Escalators. Consumers may visit https://naesai.org/search to find a qualified inspector in their area.

Waupaca, in cooperation with CPSC, previously recalled Waupaca residential elevators in October 2018 and issued a warning in July 2021 for a hazard associated with the elevators falling unexpectedly, including one resulting in a death. Since October 2018, Waupaca has been working with its dealers to install overspeed safety devices on recalled elevators. CPSC advises consumers to report any safety incident involving residential elevators at www.SaferProducts.gov.

Under section 6(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Act, CPSC is required to include with this press release any comments or other information provided by the company or a summary thereof.  Waupaca has stated to the Commission that it does not have the financial resources required to satisfy a recall to address elevator gaps.  Waupaca’s financial situation has resulted in the company obtaining a court order appointing a receivership over its assets and operations.  Waupaca has stated to the Commission its position that, in the 2011 incident, the Waupaca elevator was not installed pursuant to the applicable code. Waupaca further has stated that it joins the CPSC in urging owners of Waupaca elevators to make arrangements for the inspection and repair of residential elevators to address elevator gaps, and to install overspeed braking devices.

Release Number
22-049

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 40 years.

Federal law bars any person from selling products subject to a publicly-announced voluntary recall by a manufacturer or a mandatory recall ordered by the Commission.

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