Making lifts and escalators safer
Building and Construction Authority announces details on new standards
They were trapped in a lift for half an hour.
Mrs Bai Xiu Yu, her husband, maid and four-year-old grandson, found themselves stuck while taking the lift up to their ninth-storey flat in Block 654, Jalan Tenaga, off Bedok Reservoir Road, on Wednesdayat about 2.50pm.
Mrs Bai, 67, told Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao: "It was my first time being trapped in a lift. When I reflect on it, there is still a lingering fear."
Since 2013, there have been 12 reported lift incidents, including those that caused injuries, said a spokesman for the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).
Last month, the BCA announced a series of measures to minimise such situations.
They included new regulations to enhance lift reliability and safety, as well as specific maintenance standards and a new Permit-to-Operate (PTO) system.
Yesterday, it released new details on these maintenance standards. (See report below).
Lift contractors will have to adhere to these standards while carrying out the monthly lift maintenance, which is compulsory.
Those who do not meet the requirements may be prosecuted and, upon conviction, fined up to $5,000.
The new lift maintenance regime will take effect from July 25.
To ensure that lifts are kept in good working order, the BCA conducts about 50 random audits on passenger lifts each month.
It will ramp up its frequency of lift audits to ensure they meet the specific maintenance outcomes.
Each lift audit involves two BCA engineers and two technicians and the audit takes up to two hours.
The team first examines the interior of the lift car to check if the lift is aligned with the landing floor.
The door must also open, or remain open, when the "door open" button is pressed.
The lift doors should also open when they sense an object. And if the alarm button is pressed, the alarm should be audible outside the lift.
Next, the team heads to the lift motor room, where they ensure that mechanisms such as the automatic rescue device and emergency power supply are working.
They then head back to the lifts, where they use special tools to prise apart the doors.
Safety barriers are placed around the lift so passengers cannot pass through the lift doorway.
The engineers will also step on top of the lift car, where they check for wear and tear in the lift ropes, before conducting other checks.
Escalators here will have a new maintenance regime as well.
All escalator owners will need to engage an escalator contractor who is registered with the BCA.
The contractors will need to maintain the escalators every month based on specific maintenance areas.
Other than the new requirements, both the owner and contractor of lifts and escalators have to report incidents involving passenger deaths, injuries, or critical safety components malfunctioning, to the BCA.
BCA's chief executive director, Dr John Keung, said: "We hope that the overall maintenance standards of lifts and escalators will improve through the tightening of the maintenance regime."
The standards will apply to all 59,000 lifts and 6,000 escalators islandwide.
It was my first time being trapped in a lift. When I reflect on it, there is still a lingering fear.
- Mrs Bai Xiu Yu, 67, who was trapped in a lift for half an hour on Wednesday
Tighter lift and escalator regulations
Doors must be closed and locked before lifts can move.
During checks, engineers must ensure that the doors will spring open when they sense an object.
Gaps between the lift doors and the external doors cannot exceed a specified distance.
2. Stopping or level accuracy
The lift must align with the landing floor.
1. Handrail system
Handrails must move in the same direction and speed as the escalator steps.
There must be devices in place to prevent climbing and sliding along the escalator sides.
3. Emergency stop
When escalators start moving beyond the normal speed by 20 per cent, they must automatically stop.
Recent lift accidents
JUNE 11, 2016
Six people were taking a lift down in Block 299A, Compassvale Street, when it suddenly jerked and stopped for a few seconds between the third and fourth storeys. The lift then dropped two levels before landing hard on the first storey.
MAY 16, 2016
A 77-year-old man died after falling from his mobility scooter and hitting his head while reversing out of a lift at Block 247, Pasir Ris Street 21.
Reports said there was a 15cm height difference between the lift and the floor, which caused his scooter to topple.
MARCH 9, 2016
A 36-year-old maid fell and hit her back on the lift walls and floor when taking the lift at Block 317, Ang Mo Kio Street 31. The lift had reached the first storey, then went up and stopped at the third storey. It then shot up to the 20th storey.
OCT 10, 2015
An 86-year-old woman's hand was severed when doors of a lift at Block 322, Tah Ching Road, closed suddenly. The woman had stuck her hand out between the doors while waiting for her dog to enter the lift at the first storey. The lift doors trapped her hand before moving up, severing it.