I was listening to the Elevator Radio Show podcast, elevatorradioshow.com, an article was mentioned form the Gothamist.com about “Should New York Elevator Mechanics be Licensed?”
Right now it appears [from the article] that anyone can work on an elevator in the State of New York. I do not believe that is a good thing to give anyone the ability to work on a piece of equipment that has the potential of causing immediate catastrophic injury or damage with out proper training.
The Elevator Company who was involved with the building that recently had the accident in Williamsburg, Brooklyn also had an elevator death in August 2014. The article also states that in May an Air Force veteran fell down 24 stories in the elevator shaft in a half built luxury hotel. He was working on the elevator and did not have any formal elevator education. On Christmas day 2010 an elevator accident occurred at SUNY Medical Center and the mechanic was untrained which led to the first conviction of an elevator mechanic in US History.
In Illinois we have a process to become elevator personnel. In Illinois we have licenses for anyone who maintains, constructs, modernizes, services or inspects elevators. To maintain these licenses we need continuing education. As elevator professionals we are responsible for the safety of the riding public. Our mistakes due to judgment failure or lack of knowledge can immediately harm a person.
I hope the State of New York takes a look at licensing elevator professionals long and hard to prevent unnecessary accidents from occurring. No one should be working on an elevator system without the proper training; an untrained person can kill themselves or someone else. While special interest groups may play a part in the licensing decision I give the advice to those who may be in a deposition or a part of an accident investigation in the future. What will you say when you are asked “why didn’t you have a process for education, safety, training and removing unsafe equipment in place for conveyance systems.”. An answer we heard in Illinois when a mandate occurred was “The mandated work is too expensive”. The next question will be “how much is a life worth?”. The answer that was given during this State of Illinois meeting was wrong.
For building owners that have the decision on their elevator vendors, choose a vendor that has competent personnel and has a continuing education program. Do not use a company that hasn’t been around, that doesn’t have qualified people, that does not have a continuing education program. If you choose the wrong company to work on your elevator system you could have terrible consequences.
To put New York elevator personnel licensing in perspective in 2012 New City tried to restrict selling of “big gulp” sodas. While large sugary drinks may be detrimental to our health over time, I believe having a qualified person working on the elevator system presents an immediate danger to anyone using that specific conveyance system. Let’s take that soda energy and put it to some practical use, start with licensing elevator personnel.
Link to article