Lift-maintenance companies with below-standard performance will be publicly named every three months as part of efforts by the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department to improve safety. The department also wants tougher penalties for lift-safety breaches, including an increase in the maximum penalty from a fine of HK$5,000 to HK$200,000. This follows a spate of accidents last year and the Ombudsman's criticism last week of the department's lax enforcement of safety rules. Since June, contractors' performance has been rated, with poor performers having points deducted from a starting mark of 10. In the quarterly results published yesterday on the department's website, Amanti (HK) Lift & Escalator Engineering had the lowest score, of 5.2, among 36 companies rated. Full marks were awarded to 19 firms. Under the new system, contractors that have consistently scored six points or fewer in a year or that seriously contravene safety provisions will receive a warning letter. Any with three or more letters within a year could be fined or have licences revoked after investigation by an independent disciplinary committee. Department deputy director Frank Chan Fan said the performance records would give the lift owners a useful reference when hiring a maintenance contractor and help the department in its pursuit of disciplinary action. The department will also ask the Legislative Council after it reconvenes next month to amend lift-safety laws. Apart from increased penalties for breaches, such as failure to install safety equipment or make required checks, the major changes include introduction of a registration system for lift and escalator workers. Chan said few amendments had been made to the law since it was drafted in 1960. The department also announced that owners of 363 lifts had failed to deliver examination certificates on time in the first eight months of this year, and it had issued 329 orders urging them to undergo checks. The Ombudsman had criticised the department for lax enforcement because only two orders had been issued between 2005 and last year in nearly 70,000 cases of late checks.