Elevators turn death traps

Lack of maintenance blamed

Ahamed Ullah

9 April, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Many elevators in high-rise commercial buildings and residential apartments have turned into death traps for urban inhabitants due to lack of regular maintenance.

Some fatal accidents    in recent times caused by elevator collapse have raised concern about the safety of people.

Experts said lift collapse often occurs due to lack of routine maintenance and safety inspection.

Besides, thousands of lifts are being installed without proper supervision due to lack of qualified technical personnel, they said.

Nila, a resident of a high rise building in Dhanmondi area, said: “Regular safety check and maintenance are essential for ensuring proper operation of our lifts. But most of the building owners do not care about it for lack of awareness.”

On March 7, at least 14 people, including lawyers and judges, were injured as an elevator of the old building of Dhaka District and Sessions Judge Court collapsed. The lift was at least 40 years old.

On March 30 last year, a 9-year-old girl Alvira died when a lift at a high-rise apartment building in Dhaka started moving up uncontrollably with the girl pinned inside the doors at Shantinagar in the capital.

The accident occurred as the elevator sensor did not work properly.

These two events came to light. But lifts are often stuck in both private and government  buildings. Sometimes, incidents of elevator collapse are not reported.

According to the rules, there will be a lift operator for managing each elevator, but most of the buildings do not have it.

How does a lift work: Every elevator has sensor. This sensor controls the lift. After entering the elevator, the door is closed. The sensor on the elevator door can understand whether someone is standing in the door.

Khursid Anwar, Senior Station Officer of Fire Service and Civil Defence, said “If you get stuck inside the lift, do not panic, work with intelligence. Each elevator has a call button, which is attached to the reception or security room.”

“If there is no problem with the internal system, you will get help very quickly,” he added.

He also said, “If you fail, try to draw the attention of nearby people by making sounding from the elevator door. If it does not work, call 999 and get help.”

Fire Service has the latest equipment that can be used to rescue the trapped people by opening the elevator, he added.

Experts said there should be monthly maintenance and thorough inspection every six months to see if there are any faults with the pulling cable, malfunction of the control system, sensors and motor of the lift.

Debashish Bardhan, Deputy Director of Fire Service and Civil Defence, said every fire service station has a master key to rescue the person trapped in the elevator. The modern spreader machine is also used if the master key does not work.

He said integrated servicing system is essential by the building owners, flat owners, elevator company and developer organization to make the lifts risk-free.

On June 24 in 2016, at least 4 people were killed and 20 others injured as the multi-storied Tropical Alauddin Tower in Uttara caught fire after the building’s elevator fell from the top floor after having its cable torn.