Public safety

Paul Chan

New committee set up to look into lift safety

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 March, 2013, 4:44am


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A new advisory body will be set up to look into improving lift safety, the Secretary for Development has announced.

Paul Chan Mo-po, on his official blog yesterday, wrote that the lift and escalator safety advisory committee would be represented by the lift trade and "outside-sector parties" such as property management firms, property owners and consumers.

The government would review the existing lift company appraisal system, and the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department would also increase its number of lift inspections city-wide, he wrote.

The moves follow an accident in North Point earlier this month in which seven people were injured when the elevator they were in plunged to the ground after all four of its cables broke and its emergency brake failed.

Critics have blamed lift companies' poor maintenance services resulting from cut-throat competition for the accident.

"Hong Kong's urban development is characterised by the abundance of high-density skyscrapers. There are about 1,300 buildings that are taller than 100 metres, and nearly 8,000 blocks that are between 35 metres and 100 metres tall," wrote Chan on his blog,

"There are more than 57,500 lifts ... with an estimated daily flow of more than 28 million passengers every day. That is almost five times more than the daily passenger volume of MTR. Therefore, the safety of lifts … is of utmost importance."

Government figures showed that the number of lift incidents rose to 257 in 2011 from 246 in 2009. For the first 11 months of last year, there were already 254 lift incidents.

The Audit Commission had criticised the department for lax monitoring in a 2009 report.