Equip lifts with emergency stop buttons

I commiserate with the elderly woman whose hand was severed when she was riding the lift ("Woman's hand severed in lift accident at HDB block"; last Saturday).

Her hand was reportedly holding on to her dog's leash just when the lift doors closed on it.

I gather that the in-built motion sensors at the lift doors were unable to detect the presence of the leash, as these sensors, which operate on infrared technology, are designed to detect only body heat.

To prevent similar mishaps from recurring, I suggest that all lifts in HDB estates, as well as private condominiums, be equipped with emergency stop buttons.

In the event of an emergency, the resident can press the button to cause the lift to stop moving altogether.

He can then press the buzzer bell or intercom button to seek external assistance.

The stop button should be painted bright red and be installed at an appropriate height for ease of access.

Since lifts are installed with closed-circuit television cameras, we need not be unduly concerned that children or others may abuse this safety feature, as the culprits can be identified and apprehended.

Mandatory fines can be imposed on those who mischievously tamper with the emergency stop buttons.

Our escalators and MRT trains are already equipped with emergency stop buttons.

This very important safety feature should be extended to our lifts as well and be made mandatory in passenger lifts islandwide.

Teo Kok Seah

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2015, with the headline 'Equip lifts with emergency stop buttons'. Print Edition | Subscribe