Directive: Buried Hydraulic Systems


Directive: Buried Hydraulic Systems

February 12, 2020

Elevating Devices

Reference Number:

D-L2 060309 2

This Directive is being issued by a provincial safety manager pursuant to section 30 of the Safety Standards Act.

This Directive supersedes D-L2 0603071 issued on March 7, 2006.

General Details

In response to the failure of a number of hydraulic systems in BC and other jurisdictions, this directive is being issued to licensed elevating device contractors to clarify requirements in respect of buried hydraulic systems. The Canadian Standards association B44 Safety Code for Elevators (CAN/CSA-B44) contains several sections that provide requirements for buried hydraulic systems. Those requirements are located in different parts of CAN/CSA-B44. This Directive brings those requirements together and specifies additional requirements with respect to buried hydraulic systems. This directive replaces and updates Technical Bulletin 99-001 issued under the former Elevating Devices Safety Act.

Specific Details

Pursuant to section 19 (a) of the Safety Standards General Regulation, as terms and conditions of all permits issued with respect to elevating devices of the affected type, it is hereby directed that the requirements specified below are in effect.


  1. Contractor Responsibility and Testing

    The licensed elevating device contractor is responsible for monitoring and testing the hydraulic system.
  2. Test Procedures
    1. Buried hydraulic systems must be tested for leakage at the acceptance inspection for new elevators, following system alteration or replacement and annually in the case of existing elevators.
    2. Codes & Standards
      • New or Altered Elevators; CAN/CSA-B44 (m), (n), (o), (q) & (r). Cylinders and remainder of hydraulic system: Minimum 15 minutes under leakage test. Change in car position that cannot be accounted for indicates a leak in the unexposed portion of the cylinder or piping.
      • Relief Valves; CAN/CSA-B44 The relief valve setting must be tested to determine that it will bypass the full output of the pump before the pressure exceeds 150% of the working pressure and that the system will withstand this pressure without leakage. The relief valve must be sealed if there is no seal, or re-sealed if the setting is altered or if the seal is broken.
      • Existing Elevators (Annual Test); CAN/CSA-B44 J.2.8. & J.2.9 & Table J1. The licensed elevating device contractor must determine the appropriate annual test procedure based on manufacturer’s procedure, CAN/CSA-B44 and/or the licensed elevating device contractor’s procedure to test the hydraulic system as required by Apendix J – J2.8 & J2.9 (as referenced in “Every twelve months” column of Table J1 – Minimum Maintenance Frequencies: Items and Cross-References).
  3. Leakage Indication
    1. Where a change in car position cannot be accounted for by visible oil leakage, valve leakage or temperature change which indicates a leak in the unexposed portion of the cylinder or the piping, the licensed elevating device contractor must shut down the elevator and notify the British Columbia Safety Authority as soon as possible.
    2. An elevator shut down under (A) must remain shut down until the leakage origin has been located and the situation has been fully resolved.
  4. Hydraulic System Inspection

    The inspection for the presence of oil and water due to leakage must be completed at the acceptance inspection for new elevators and annually for all other elevators. This applies to those units that are subject to CAN/CSA-B44 & 3.19.5.
  5. Cathodic and Alternative Protection

    Where cathodic or any other alternative protection is provided (see CAN/CSA-B44 & other alternatives), there must be a method to test the operation of the protective system and that test must be performed annually. This annual test must verify the performance of the means provided for checking on-going compliance with CAN/CSA B44 &
  6. Oil Log Book

    An Oil Log Book must be maintained and kept in the elevator machine room. The Oil Log Book must record all oil addition, the date of addition and the amount of oil collected from the oil reservoir. Additionally, all records of inspections and tests must be maintained in the Oil Log Book. This requirement is in addition to, and not in derivation of, any other log book requirements with respect to elevating devices.


Irvine Jay
Provincial Safety Manager – Elevating Devices


Relevant Legislation

From the Safety Standards General Regulation

Responsibilities of operating permit holder

19 The holder of an operating permit must do all of the following:

(a) if required under the permit, maintain a log of work performed under the permit;

Hydraulic elevating devices

54 (1) In this section, "relief valve set pressure" means set-to-open pressure, set-to-start-to-open pressure or the static pressure increasingly applied in the inlet of a relief valve installed in the hydraulic system of a hydraulic elevating device, and is the pressure

(a) at which the relief valve is set to start to open and allows only drops of hydraulic fluid to pass, and

(b) that must be exceeded in order for the relief valve to pass hydraulic fluid back to the hydraulic fluid storage tank of the hydraulic system.

(2) In respect of a hydraulic elevating device, the following requirements apply to relief valve systems:

(a) the relief valve set pressure must be the set pressure that is required to meet the maximum flow capacity and maximum relieving pressure requirements in paragraph (b);

(b) the size of the relief valve and bypass must be sufficient to pass the maximum flow capacity rated for the hydraulic pump and at the same time raise the pressure above the working pressure by no more than 50% at that pump.

(3) Two or more relief valves may be used for the purposes of subsection (2) and must be

(a) designed with a means for sealing, and

(b) sealed after being set in accordance with subsection (2) (a).

(4) When flexible hose is used, a line rupture valve or overspeed valve, as applicable, must be installed in every hydraulic elevating device and, in the event that the flexible hose or fitting fails, the valve must be adequate to

(a) reduce and then stop the flow of hydraulic fluid in order to prevent a sudden drop in pressure, and

(b) immediately stop and sustain a hydraulic elevating device that is moving downward.