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May 22, 2013

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City highlights problems in elevator maintenance

NEGLIGENCE, lack of funds and an unclear role about responsibility were identified as the major causes for residential elevator scare in Shanghai, and authorities were tackling the issue head-on after several recent reports of elevator accidents in the city, a senior official said yesterday.

Authorities are drafting safety regulations to clarify the responsibility of elevator safety management and strengthen the oversight of elevators in service for 10 years or more, said Huang Xiaolu, director of the Shanghai Quality and Technical Supervision Bureau.

A standard on the replacement of escalator components will also be issued in the second half of the year, Huang said.

Officials will also upgrade elevators already in service for more than 15 years, improve the skills of maintenance workers, and scrutinize key components of elevators as part of the measures.

They are also planning to introduce commercial insurance into public elevator service to ensure accident victims are compensated.

Disputes related to elevator management were reported from 101 local residential complexes so far this year, involving about 1,800 elevators, Huang said. "Most accidents happened during their installation, upgrade, repair and maintenance, and poor safety management," Huang said.

The city has 160,000 elevators in use, with around 14,000 that have been in service for more than 15 years. There are only 287 companies with 4,000 repair workers qualified to do maintenance work.

It was recommended that a repair and maintenance worker should be responsible for, at most, 30 elevators per year, but workers at many small companies oversee at least 40 to 50 to earn more money, said Peng Li, deputy director with the special equipment inspection division of the bureau.

He said negligence of elevator maintenance, a severe shortage of repair workers, poor technical abilities and vicious competition between companies were the main reason for accidents.

An elevator should have a routine check and maintenance done every 15 days, which costs about 250 yuan (US$40) every time, experts said.


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