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April 19, 2016

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Home » City specials » Hangzhou

New regulations aim to lift elevator safety

AN elevator accident that killed a cleaner in a Hangzhou shopping mall last week has revived public concern about what has come to be called “lifts eating people.”

The accident occurred while a cleaner was wiping the glass at the top of an elevator after closing time. The lift, which was supposed to be stationary during the after-hours, suddenly jerked into motion, throwing the cleaner to the floor.

The mishap recalled a tragedy last summer when a 21-year-old girl was killed as she stepped into an elevator in a residential complex. The doors closed, trapping her body, and then the elevator continued its descent. Residents in the building have since refused to take the elevator any more.

The Hangzhou government is now legislating new elevator safety regulations, expected to be implemented later this year.

The city had 82,552 elevators, about half in residential communities, at the end of last year. Of those, 5,100 have been in operation for more than 10 years.

The Hangzhou Special Equipment Emergency Center last year received 6,878 reports of serious elevator malfunctions and rescued 8,393 people. Residential lifts accounted for 53 percent of accidents.

Aging control systems and improper use are the two main causes of elevator malfunctions. Garbage collection often results in scraps of trash falling into elevator gaps. Elevators are often overloaded, and doors are manhandled.

Last month, the Special Equipment Industry Center revealed a blacklist of 10 residential communities with high rates of elevator malfunctioning.

They included Xie Tong Ya Yuan, He Xie Jia Yuan, Dong Gang Jia Yuan, Lan Qiao Ming Yuan and Bei Hai Gong Yuan. At least two of the sites have been on the list for more than three years.

“Some of them are new residential communities, where elevators are still under testing,” said Li Zhong of the center.

“In addition, tons of scraps of interior decorating waste materials have piled up in many elevators. Man-made causes accounted for about a third of malfunctions last year.”

The center is also reviewing the procedures of elevator maintenance companies. Of the 40 companies surveyed, the Hangzhou branches of Xizi Otis, Kone, Hitachi, Shanghai Mitsubishi Elevator and Xio Lift were rated with five stars, while 15 companies received only two stars.

Although the safety awareness among the maintenance companies has been improved, some companies don’t employ maintenance crews that are sufficiently trained.

Safety officials frequently use the media to give advice to the public on elevator use.

First of all, people should stay calm if trapped in an elevator and immediately press the emergency button or alarm bell to call rescuers. If a cellphone signal is available, then 119 or the elevator maintenance company’s rescue number should be dialed. Don’t try to prise open the doors manually.

Jumping inside elevators is banned, and it’s not wise to let children press control buttons at random. Elevators should not be overloaded. If heavy merchandise is being carried, the weight in the elevator should be as evenly distributed as possible.


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