Spate of lift accidents

The lift at Block 317, Ang Mo Kio Street 31, which suddenly shot up 17 storeys to the top floor.
The lift at Block 317, Ang Mo Kio Street 31, which suddenly shot up 17 storeys to the top floor.ST PHOTO: MARCUS TAN

The accident involving Madam Khoo Bee Hua last October at Block 322, Tah Ching Road, was the first in a spate of high-profile lift incidents that prompted the authorities to ramp up checks.

In January, a lift at Block 114, Edgefield Plains in Punggol, was suspended from operation after an inner door remained open as the lift moved.

Most recently in March, a lift at Block 317, Ang Mo Kio Street 31, suddenly shot up 17 storeys to the top floor, causing a domestic worker, Ms Evi Lisnawati, to fall and hurt her back.

The lift subsequently stalled, trapping the 36-year-old Indonesian inside for 11/2 hours before she was rescued.

As in previous incidents, this lift was suspended from use while the town council, which manages the lifts in the Housing Board estate, appointed an authorised examiner to investigate.

The probe revealed that the brakes of the lift were likely not functioning well because of "jammed mechanical parts of the brakes, oily brake drum and worn-off brake liners".

In March, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) announced that it would step up its audit of lifts island-wide, especially those in HDB blocks. It added that there would be changes to the law when it completes its ongoing review of lift regulations this year.

The BCA has also increased public education on lift safety and maintenance, through posters, circulars and seminars.

Last month in Parliament, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said town councils may be required to ring-fence a stipulated portion of their sinking fund to replace old lifts.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 17, 2016, with the headline 'Spate of lift accidents'. Print Edition | Subscribe