There are approximately 41,000 elevators in Massachusetts and more than 8,500 of them have not had an annual safety inspection. These inspections are required by law to protect people from serious injury and death. And with good reason. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the CPSC, an average of 27 people are killed and over 10,000 are injured in elevator accidents every year.
Several state officials, including State Auditor Suzanne Bump, think that the 8,500 figure is actually quite low. In a recent audit of elevator inspections, it was revealed that over 14,200 elevators had expired safety certifications. In a statement to the Herald, Bump said,“Our audit found that, in addition to backlogs in inspections, DPS’s record keeping database was inaccurate.” Apparently, in more than half of the elevators her team checked out, the inspection certificates had information that was different from that of the public safety department’s main database. If the 8,500 figure is accurate, it actually shows an improvement. However, Bump doesn’t seem too sure,““While we certainly hope their inspection rate is improving, we don’t know if these recent reports are accurate.”
Elevator Accident in Fenway Park Resulted in Serious Injuries
In response to the significant amount of uninspected elevators, state officials are in the process of hiring more inspectors. However, as of last week, there were only 55. That is just one more than they had in May, 2014 when a woman fell down an elevator shaft at Fenway Park. Elisabeth Scotland brushed up against the closed elevator door while waiting on the fourth floor of the ballpark. The door swung open, and she plummeted two stories, landing on top of the ascending elevator. She sustained serious spinal cord and brain injuries, dental injuries, and facial fractures.
Work Backlogs Holding Up Inspections
The 2015 budget allows state officials to increase their number of inspectors to 70. This additional hire will cost upwards of $2.8 million and will be funded through the inspection fees themselves. Elevator companies pay a $400 fee to the state of Massachusetts for every elevator that is inspected. They are also supposed to pay a daily fine when an inspection certificate is allowed to lapse. While this sounds like the makings of a working system, one Boston elevator company owner expressed concern over the backlog of inspections. Speaking anonymously, the owner said, “All I can tell you, it hasn’t changed much. There’s a lot of little things that are broken in the system. And you have no recourse. You start calling in, you’re yelling and screaming, ‘I need this elevator inspected.’ Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn’t.”Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston Law Firm
The MA Law Firm of Altman & Altman, LLP has been fighting for the rights of Massachusetts residents for almost 50 years. With extensive personal injury and accident experience, we can help you determine the best way to move forward if you’ve been injured due to the negligence of another. Our dedicated legal team will work tirelessly to protect your rights and help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Accidents and injuries can cause more than physical pain. You may be entitled to compensation for emotional distress, lost wages, and other associated costs. Contact the Greater Boston Law Firm of Altman & Altman LLP for a free consultation about your case.