Government wants all lift workers licensed

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 September, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 September, 2010, 12:00am

All frontline workers repairing elevators should be licensed, the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department said yesterday.

Concerns about elevator safety have again been raised after a lift in a Sheung Shui estate block plunged 10 floors - from the 24th to 14th - on Saturday night. A man in the lift was unhurt.

Alfred Sit Wing-hang, assistant director of the department, yesterday said only contractors and engineers were required to register for licences at present.

'But there is no licensing system for elevator workers,' he said. 'Workers play an important role in maintenance, repair and operation of lifts. We hope to reflect this important role through legislation of a licensing system. We have also conducted a thorough review of the lifts and escalators (safety) ordinance. We are working on some amendments and expect to submit it to the Legco in the next legislative year.'

Sit said Saturday's accident was caused by the fracture of a frame that held a lift-balancing weight - an occurrence that was 'very rare'. Previous incidents had usually involved loosened ropes in the lift system.

He said the department had reminded all 48 registered lift contractors to pay attention to lift frames when inspections were done.

He said the contractor involved in Saturday's accident was Sigma Elevator. The department had thoroughlychecked the lift.

The last annual inspection of the lift concerned was in May this year.

There were at least two similar incidents this year. In May, at lift in Heng Yuet House at Heng On Estate in Ma On Shan plunged six floors. No one was hurt.

A similar incident in January at Glorious Garden in Tuen Mun saw a lift fall two floors. Again, no one was hurt.