Greater accountability needed in lift maintenance

I am shocked to read of yet another incident of an elderly woman getting injured in a lift ("Woman hurt after Boon Lay lift drops, shakes and rises"; Nov 23).

Lifts were first introduced to high-rise Housing Board blocks in the 1960s.

I recall that in those days, there was only one lift serving an entire block and it was subject to heavy usage and abuse. It was not uncommon to find buttons missing or lifts reeking of urine.

Yet for 50 years, I have never heard of a single incident of a lift plunging down several floors.

Given the advances in technology, we should be seeing safer and more reliable lifts.

The issue lies with its maintenance. We saw the damage created when SMRT neglected its engineering and maintenance programme. I fear we are seeing a repeat of the same scenario in the town councils.

With lift maintenance coming under the purview of town councils, I question if they have sufficient qualified personnel to manage a robust lift maintenance programme.

I wonder if our town councils have been so efficient and prudent in managing their finances and in beautifying the estates that they have neglected the safety aspects of lift maintenance.

I can accept that accidents happen. But when it is a series of incidents, it is no longer an accident. It is a dereliction of duty.

Town councils should be held to a higher standard of accountability to ensure that such incidents do not happen again.

Patrick Tan Siong Kuan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 28, 2016, with the headline 'Greater accountability needed in lift maintenance'. Print Edition | Subscribe