El­e­va­tor in­ci­dent re­ports re­veal litany of mis­ery; ac­ci­dents on rise

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - COLIN PERKEL

TORONTO — From bumps and bruises to am­pu­ta­tions and even death, data sug­gests el­e­va­tors in Canada are prov­ing in­creas­ingly dan­ger­ous.

In the past six years, six peo­ple have been killed and 1,225 peo­ple have been in­jured, in­clud­ing 69 per­ma­nently, in el­e­va­tor mishaps in On­tario — which ac­counts for close to half of Canada’s el­e­va­tors — ac­cord­ing to the Tech­ni­cal Stan­dards and Safety Au­thor­ity, which reg­u­lates the de­vices in the prov­ince.

The TSSA data shows the num­ber of in­ci­dents more than dou­bled be­tween 2011 and 2016, ris­ing at an av­er­age rate of about 14 per cent a year. Se­ri­ous in­juries have been in­creas­ing an­nu­ally by eight per cent.

To be sure, the thou­sands of res­i­den­tial and of­fice el­e­va­tors in ser­vice are gen­er­ally safe, and deaths and se­ri­ous in­juries re­lated to their use are rel­a­tively rare. Still, data ob­tained by The Cana­dian Press paints a dis­turb­ing pic­ture of what can go wrong when peo­ple use a de­vice most take for granted.

Many mishaps, data in­di­cates, re­late to lev­el­ling is­sues: when an el­e­va­tor fails to stop flush with the floor de­spite TSSA stip­u­la­tions that el­e­va­tors should dis­play “stop­ping ac­cu­racy.”

“Out of level: Lady cracked her toes when she tripped into el­e­va­tor,” one TSSA in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­port states. “Mem­ber of pub­lic watched four peo­ple within 15 min­utes trip,” states an­other. “Lady tripped go­ing in el­e­va­tor; bro­ken nose, bro­ken thumb,” ac­cord­ing to an­other.

The au­thor­ity iden­ti­fies nu­mer­ous causes for the prob­lems, in­clud­ing shoddy main­te­nance and fail­ure to fol­low the rules. How­ever, the bulk of in­ci­dents — 75 per cent — are blamed on “user be­hav­iour.”

“The most preva­lent oc­cur­rences are re­lated to doors, ei­ther by im­pact when en­ter­ing or ex­it­ing the el­e­va­tor or while try­ing to pre­vent el­e­va­tor doors from clos­ing,” the TSSA says in its an­nual re­port. “Fac­tors such as dis­tracted users are iden­ti­fied as pri­mary causes for such oc­cur­rences.”

What­ever the rea­sons, some in­ci­dents might be cat­e­go­rized as truly ter­ri­fy­ing. In March 2015, an 86year-old Ot­tawa man had his legs am­pu­tated af­ter an el­e­va­tor crushed them in a se­niors’ build­ing. He died later. “Man got legs pinned be­tween car and hall sill, am­pu­ta­tion of legs,” the re­port states. What caused the mishap was never clear, the TSSA said.

Other in­ci­dents range from tod­dlers get­ting fin­gers and hands trapped, and elec­tri­cal fires erupt­ing, to de­vices that drop and stop sud­denly and un­ex­plained losses of crit­i­cal hy­draulic oil.

Be­tween 2008 and 2016, TSSA in­spec­tors ex­am­ined 2,942 oc­cur­rences across On­tario. Given that some in­ci­dents go un­re­ported — po­ten­tially in vi­o­la­tion of reg­u­la­tions — the num­ber is likely higher.

Still, the odds of be­ing killed are 800 times higher in a car — 35 times higher in an air­plane — than in an el­e­va­tor, ac­cord­ing to the TSSA. That might come as cold com­fort to those hurt in el­e­va­tors or the thou­sands of Cana­di­ans trapped in one every year due to a mal­func­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.