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Massachusetts is Still Behind in Elevator Inspections

According to a report by Massachusetts auditor Suzanne Bump, the state’s Department of Public Safety is running behind on elevator inspections, which are supposed to be conducted on registered elevators every year. As of October 2012, over 14,200 of the approximately 39,000 registered elevators are running despite an expired inspection certificate. Over 1,700 have certificates that expired more than four years ago. Bump says elevators that go uninspected are a safety risk. This is especially true when there is an elevator defect or malfunction that goes unchecked and is not repaired.

Also according to the report, most elevator owners applied to have their elevators inspected on time but got stuck in the backlog. A Public Safety Department spokesperson noted that since the audit, the agency has been taking “significant’ steps to catch up with inspections and compliance is now beyond 80%. The report, however, claims that the department’s database isn’t accurate, which makes it hard to get a sense of how much progress has really been made in getting caught up on inspections.

The report comes more than ten years after another state audit reported similar issues with elevators undergoing timely inspections. Back then, elevator owners were identified as part of the problem for the delays because of their failure to apply for inspections.

Since then, the DPS has hired more inspectors. It blamed some of the delays on the growth in the number of elevators as well as an increase in the number of re-inspections. Elevators that don’t pass inspection have to undergo another one within 90 days. This can delays other scheduled inspections.

At Altman & Altman LLP, our Boston elevator injury lawyers represent clients that sustained serious injuries in a Massachusetts elevator accident. Common elevator accidents and their causes include:

• Elevator collapse • A falling elevator caused by defective brakes, strained cables, or another malfunction • Slip and fall accidents • Elevator misalignment • Elevator door malfunction • An elevator getting stuck between floors
• Abrupt acceleration or deceleration • Defective governors • Mis-leveling • Door entrapment • Circuit malfunction • People falling into shafts • Wiring malfunctions, which can cause electric shock accidents
• Failure to repair defects and malfunctions

Elevator accidents can lead to catastrophic injuries, including amputation, paralysis, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, broken bones, limb loss, and death.

Property owners must make sure elevators on the premise are working properly and are safe for use. Meantime, elevator manufacturers are supposed to make sure their elevators are free from design defects or other flaws that could prevent them from working properly.

Contact our Massachusetts personal injury law firm. Depending on what caused the Boston elevator injury accident, you could have grounds for a premises liability case, a wrongful death claim, or a products liability lawsuit. If you are an elevator worker who got injured on the job, you could be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. You also may be able to file an injury case against liable parties other than your employer.

Audit: Massachusetts lags in elevator inspections, AP/MassLive.com, November 19, 2014

Massachusetts’s Elevator Inspection Problem Goes Back Decades, Boston.com, November 1, 2014

Massachusetts Department of Public Safety

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Woman Falls Down Elevator Shaft at Fenway, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, May 19, 2014

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