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To minimise accidents: Do away with vision panel on lifts, say experts

Propose smaller panels among 16 recommendations.

Written by Rohit Alok | Mumbai | Updated: May 12, 2017 2:14:02 am
maharashtra, mumbai, bandra, vision panel, lifts, elevators, accidents, maharashtra lifts act, maharashtra government, energy department, government officials, officials, india news, indian express news The new draft includes escalators and moving walks, provisions related to overloading and automatic rescue device that has to be installed across all elevators. (Representational Image)

A COMMITTEE that was formed to analyse accidents in elevators has decided to do away with the existing vision panel on swing-door elevators following several cases of injuries reported by passengers, officials said. Over the last weekend, in a similar case, a 12-year-old girl died when she peeped into an elevator shaft through the vision panel of a Bandra building and the lift car that was on its way down hit her head.

“There are so many instances where elevator users put their hands and even their heads through these vision panels. These panels are usually more than nine by six inches in size, but now we have proposed to have them smaller than the size of a tennis ball, so that not even a finger of any user is injured,” said a government official on condition of anonymity.

According to government officials, a committee comprising several officials from the state energy department’s lift inspection division, elevator manufacturers, contractors and other stakeholders were roped in to finalise strategies that would eliminate or reduce elevator-related accidents.

The committee was formed to carry out a comprehensive study on the subject of making elevators safer for its users. According to senior officials, the committee met six times after being formed in December 2016. Its recommendations were submitted to the Maharashtra government as the draft of the Maharashtra Lifts Act on Wednesday.

As opposed to the current nine-page Maharashtra Lifts Act (2014), the new draft includes 26 points, 12 more than the current Act.

The new draft even includes escalators and moving walks, provisions related to overloading and an automatic rescue device that has to be installed across all elevators in the state.

“Most of the accidents were recorded while entering or exiting the elevator, rarely ever while the passenger was moving in the elevator,” a committee member said, adding that the latest count of elevators in the state as of March 17 this year was 1.23 lakh.

The committee has recommended that the new vision holes be made of safety glass that is not less than 6 mm in thickness and if there is no glass, a net be installed.

“Specifics related to these new additions to the vision hole have been mentioned in the draft,” an official added. The government is also considering whether to install foldable gates at all elevators in the state, officials said.

“One Sion resident, claiming to be an electric engineer and an expert in elevators, had in September last year submitted to various state government authorities the suggestion that they should replace closed door elevators with sliding doors with crossbars as the foldable doors, which would provide ventilation to those trapped and even food, water, and medicine to those stuck in the elevator as opposed to the close door lifts.”said a senior official.

“Senior officials from the Energy department in December 21, 2106 had officially asked the lift inspection division if they recommended this change. The division dismissed the proposal on grounds of several safety reasons,” the official added.

Meanwhile, a lift inspection team that visited the site where the 12-year-old girl died due to the building elevator has found nothing wrong with the lift.

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