The government will set up a performance rating system to monitor lift maintenance contractors after a series of lift accidents in recent months raised concerns about service regulations. The system will start in June, with results released to the public. Contractors will start off on a certain number of points, and have points deducted if their performance is unsatisfactory. This will provide the public with more information about selecting contractors, the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department said in a paper submitted to the Legislative Council yesterday. The paper also outlined other new measures to strengthen the regulation of maintenance contractors. Against a background of recent accidents involving defective or broken cables, the number of tasks required to be performed by contractors during routine inspections will be increased from two to 10. New tasks including maintenance of lifts' counterweight assemblies, checking parts in the lift pit, and lubricating suspension ropes. The department will also review the Lifts and Escalators (Safety) Ordinance, which regulates lifts in private buildings. It will consider raising the penalty, a maximum fine of HK$10,000 and 12 months' jail, to ensure that there are 'adequate deterrent effects' against offences. The regulations governing workers' qualifications will be reviewed. Under the current policy, workers are endorsed by contractors but not licensed by the government, meaning there is no industry-wide standard. The department proposed enabling workers to qualify on their own. General Union of Lift and Escalator Employees committee member Lai Chi-keung said the changes would protect workers' employment security and encourage them to study for higher qualifications. Lawmaker Wong Kwok-hing agreed on a stricter penalty for contractors who failed to comply with regulations, along with a performance rating system. Nineteen reports were received between 2.15pm and 4pm yesterday of people trapped in lifts on Hong Kong Island after an underground power cable broke and caused a minor explosion at a construction site in North Point. No one was injured.