Urgent need to elevate lift safety measures

  Tuesday’s mishap has once again kicked up a debate over lift and elevator safety.
The use of elevators and lifts has gone up considerably with the rapid increase in number of high-rise buildings in the City.

According to an estimate, there are at least 25,000 lifts and elevators in the City. The builders have to obtain licence from the Karnataka State Electrical Inspectorate (KSEI) to install and operate lifts.

Hampagol, technical director, Fire and Emergency Services, said: “Earlier, some of the high-rise buildings used to install collapsible elevators as they were cheap. But chances of mishaps in such elevators are more and the government has banned them. Now, only automatic solid electro-magnetic shutter-door elevators are allowed.”

These lifts and elevators come with sophisticated technology equipped with sensors that can even prevent the lift from crashing, he added. “I am not aware of the incident in SJR Park. Whichever technology you opt for, maintenance matters most. Prima facie, it seems that Tuesday’s accident could have definitely been avoided if proper maintenance was in place,” Hampagol said.

Recognising the need for updating the safety measures and rules for lifts and elevators, the State government has mooted amendments to the Karnataka Lift Act, 1974. The State Cabinet approved several of these amendments in May 2012. The Cabinet also decided to enact a new legislation-- Karnataka Lift, Escalator and Passenger Conveyors Act-- to replace the Karnataka Lift Act, 1974.

New legislation

The new legislation makes it mandatory that only registered elevator companies should install elevators, escalators and maintain them, and ensure that safety norms are strictly adhered to.

One of the senior officials with the Fire and Emergency Department told Deccan Herald that the new Act also emphasises on the quality control of the governors of the lifts, the most crucial part that holds the lift.

He said that a quality lapse in the governor would lead to a cable lapse which caused most of the lift accidents.

According to Hampagol, response of the people involved in accidents and the reaction of the lift operators also are important.
“Many of the educated people too fail to understand the way to handle an elevator. In most cases, people overload the lift, causing accidents. They need to be educated on emergency response also,” he said.
DH News Service

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