Lift-related injuries must be reported to BCA under new rules

In the latest lift incident on June 9, Madam Lai suffered wrist fractures and bruising in her left eye when she tripped while exiting a lift in her Bukit Batok block. The lift was not level with the first floor when the doors opened, she said.
In the latest lift incident on June 9, Madam Lai suffered wrist fractures and bruising in her left eye when she tripped while exiting a lift in her Bukit Batok block. The lift was not level with the first floor when the doors opened, she said.ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO

From next month, lift owners and contractors will have to inform the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) of any injury or malfunction of safety-critical components such as brakes, as soon as possible.

This is part of stricter regulations to take effect from next month, a BCA spokesman said yesterday in response to a Straits Times query about the latest lift incident involving a 68-year-old woman.

Retired factory worker Lai Hsiu-Lan was going to the market on June 9 when she tripped while exiting the lift.

The car of Lift A at Block 285, Bukit Batok East Avenue 3 was not level with the first floor when the doors opened, she said. She fell forward, fracturing both her wrists and bruising her left eye.

"The lift jerked midway when coming down. But I didn't think there would be a problem when walking out," she said.

She later hailed a taxi to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, where she was given outpatient treatment.

After the accident, she could not open her left eye for two days, and both her hands are still in casts.

Jurong-Clementi Town Council, which manages the lifts in the estate, said it was informed of the incident only last Saturday, when Madam Lai's son e-mailed it.

Its general manager, Mr Ho Thian Poh, said a lift engineer from Otis Elevator Company was called to inspect the lift on Monday, once it found Madam Lai's address, which was not in the e-mail.

The manufacturer of the 22-year-old lift, Express Lift Company, had been acquired by Otis.

Mr Ho said: "The engineer found nothing wrong with the lift. We also haven't received any other complaints from residents."

A BCA spokesman said preliminary inspections by its engineers "did not show any anomalies" with the lift. But she added that as a precaution, the lift was suspended from use at around 8.30pm last night for further investigations.

Mr Ho said town council representatives had visited Madam Lai, and that the council's insurer will reimburse her medical fees.

Madam Lai's neighbours said they have experienced problems with both lifts at their block.

"For Lift A especially, the doors always open and close repeatedly when we get in," said childcare school principal Samniah Buang, 44, who lives on the eighth floor.

Undergraduate Joanna Ng, 19, said Lift A suddenly shot up to the 13th floor when she was taking it down earlier this year. "It was scary," said the ninth-floor resident.

Stressing that the town council's priority is to run regular checks on lifts under its charge, Mr Ho said: "Ever since the Taman Jurong case, we have been very careful. We don't want anyone else to get injured."

He was referring to the first in a spate of lift accidents since last October, in which a woman, 85, had her hand severed. Investigations found nothing wrong with the lift in that case.

BCA said it was not told of the latest incident when it happened on June 9, and it is not a requirement currently for the lift owner or contractor to report such incidents.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 18, 2016, with the headline 'Lift-related injuries must be reported to BCA under new rules'. Print Edition | Subscribe