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Solucore Inc. | A Professional Elevator and Escalator Consulting Firm

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Understanding and Managing Elevator Accidents

Accidents in elevators can result in painful and catastrophic injuries. Some of them involve someone falling off the elevator shaft, or a mechanic working in the shaft when the elevator mysteriously plunges to work. More common mistakes may occur when someone misses a step when getting into an elevator car, or when the door closes in on someone. The elevator car may also jerk off to a rise or a fall, causing an occupant to experience shock.

Immediate action

Once such an incident occurs, you need to determine the best way to go about it. Ensure your safety first and that of other people around you by switching off the elevator. This can be done by cutting off the power to the control equipment so that the elevator does not move. Make sure that the elevator car is at a stable position where it will not go down the shaft ‘miraculously’.

Allow an elevator accident investigation to be carried out into the whole matter. This should be done by the insurance company of the building or the police. Identifying the liable party is a complicated process that requires detailed information and observation.

It is very unfortunate, however, that in most incidents, investigations are done hurriedly or rarely conducted at all. The property owners are usually in too much of a hurry to continue with their operations without fulfilling their duty of care to the injured party. This may create a basis for civil liability on their part. In such cases, hiring an elevator expert is vital to finding out the best way forward.

Understand the elevator system

Elevators for passengers in a storey building are powered by electric motors which drive the cables upwards and downwards depending on the direction of the elevator car. The car travels in a shaft which adjusts its position in a manner that will enable it to make the necessary stops at every floor. This should be done in a smooth manner to reduce unnecessary jerking of the car which may cause panic and shock among the passengers.

Every floor has a door which must coordinate with the opening of the elevator door. And the elevator should be on the same level as the floor whose door is opening. Otherwise, a passenger may step into an empty space and fall into hollow gap where the lift passes.

A lot of the lift’s operations are determined by the initial installation and regular maintenance techniques. Therefore, they are quite instrumental in ensuring the effective coordination of all the mechanical, technical and electrical components involved. As you can see, there are more parties involved in such an accident than is always assumed.

Identify the legally responsible party

Most suits arising from such accidents are usually negligence suits. They may claim that either the owner of the building, the installer, the maintenance service or the manufacturer of the elevator did not exercise their burden of care in making the machine safe enough for the injured party.

It is the work of the owner to ensure that the elevator is operating in a safe condition. The machine should be evaluated and maintained as regularly as provided for in the law, and with trained and qualified experts. A record of the breakdowns should also be kept to indicate the frequency with which issues occur. This could mean that the elevator is dated and it needs modernization.

The installer should ensure utmost safety during installation, and the maintenance service should keep a record of the problems they have solved. As for the manufacturer, well, he should sell merchantable and defect-free products.

All in all, solving an elevator accident can be done successfully and fairly if the right experts are hired for the job.

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