House to discuss lift maintenance and safety

A repair notice pasted on the lift in Ang Mo Kio Street 31 which had suddenly shot up 17 floors and trapped an Indonesian maid on March 7. Lift safety has been in the spotlight after a recent series of lift incidents at HDB blocks, some of which have
A repair notice pasted on the lift in Ang Mo Kio Street 31 which had suddenly shot up 17 floors and trapped an Indonesian maid on March 7. Lift safety has been in the spotlight after a recent series of lift incidents at HDB blocks, some of which have injured passengers.ST PHOTO: BENJAMIN TAN

Lift maintenance and safety is one of the issues that will be discussed in Parliament next week.

MP Pritam Singh (Aljunied GRC) has filed a question to the National Development Minister about the Selective Lift Replacement Programme.

This Housing Board scheme, introduced in 2014, replaces old lifts with modern ones. The newer lifts include energy-efficient motors, vision panels and doors with infrared motion sensors.

Mr Singh will ask if more lifts are eligible for the programme, which is currently applicable only to 750 lifts built between 1987 and 1997. These lifts are primarily in Choa Chu Kang and Pasir Ris, in blocks that do not need upgrading under the Lift Upgrading Programme.

 

Mr Singh will also ask if HDB plans to replace lifts which have "prematurely become obsolete" - before their stipulated lifespan of 28 years is up.

"Some lifts have parts that are obsolete - the original manufacturer is no longer around," said Mr Singh.

"I want to get a better idea of how our lifts can be kept safe. Everybody wants to be confident of the lifts that they use," he added.

Lift safety has been in the spotlight after a recent series of lift incidents at HDB blocks, some of which have injured passengers.

This prompted the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) yesterday to announce that it will be stepping up its lift audits and completing a review of lift regulations by this year.

Last October, an 85-year-old Jurong resident had her hand severed by the doors of the lift she was in. The elderly woman also fell and broke her leg in the lift. Investigations eventually revealed that there was nothing wrong with the lift.

Most recently in Ang Mo Kio, a 36-year-old Indonesian maid fell and hit her back in a lift, after it suddenly shot up 17 floors and stalled.

She was trapped in the lift for over an hour before she was rescued. Investigations are ongoing.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 12, 2016, with the headline 'House to discuss lift maintenance and safety'. Print Edition | Subscribe