Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has signed long-awaited legislation aimed at improving elevator safety in New York.
The new law requires anyone involved in the design, construction, inspection, maintenance and repair of elevators to be licensed by New York State.
And it creates a New York State Elevator Safety and Standards Advisory Board to help create recommendations for elevator inspections, examinations to satisfy licensing requirements, and enforcement to ensure compliance and promote public safety.
“Millions of New Yorkers rely on elevators to get safely to and from work, school and home, and for many disabled New Yorkers it is their only means of access,” Governor Cuomo said.
“For too long unsafe and defective elevators have led to unnecessary injuries and even deaths, and this new law will help ensure all individuals working with elevators have the proper training and credentials to make sure these machines meet the safety standards necessary to provide reliable service.”
The Elevator Safety Act comes following 22 confirmed deaths in elevator-related accidents in the state since 2010.
Joining 35 other US states with elevator licensing laws, the legislation sets a minimum education and training standard for elevator workers in New York State, where 10 percent of all the elevators in the US are located.
Assembly Member Marcos A. Crespo commented, “By creating a statewide license, a uniform standard, and increasing the accountability for the installation and repair of elevators across our state we will not only improve the safety conditions for this workforce but also ensure a safer and more reliable service for all New Yorkers who rely daily on elevators to go about their lives and work. ”
In accordance with the NYC Building Codes, elevators and escalators located within the five boroughs must be inspected and tested twice annually by inspectors contracted by the Department of Buildings (DOB) and building owners are required to have a maintenance contract with an approved elevator agency.
Following the most recent fatality in Kips Bay last August, the DOB increased its own audits of private contractors and increased penalties for failure to perform inspections.
The department also offered free inspections to owners of private homes with both registered and unregistered elevators after a woman became stuck in a private elevator on the Upper East Side for 72 hours.