New York City's Department of Buildings (DOB) estimates that there are as many as 84,000 elevators being operated across the city's five boroughs. While it would be difficult to most to navigate getting to some of the upper floors of New York's highest skyscrapers without them, they can be remarkably unsafe.
A report released by the New York State Comptroller's office just last month shows that an alarming number of elevators inspected in the city are performed carelessly.
The DOB's recent audits of 12 elevator inspection reports spanning nine buildings are alarming.
At least one-quarter of the lifts re-inspected were found to have had door restrictors that were defective. This is what can keep an elevator's doors from opening in between floors. A Brooklyn infant and mom fell to their deaths in 2016 when the doors of the elevator that they had been riding on had this happen to it.
In at least two cases, auditors found that inspectors signed certificates claiming that the elevators were indeed safe even though they'd never gone to look at them.
Also, in another instance, an inspector didn't measure the cables used to hoist the car up to make sure that they were strong enough to continue to do so. In at least two instances, cables that showed abrasions or roughing weren't reported, even though that's one of the early signs that it may give way.
Other alarming situations auditors uncovered included poor or nonexistent maintenance records, expired fire extinguishers and nonoperational phones aboard the elevator cars.
The DOB's reaction to the findings is simply that they're much more stringent when inspecting elevators than third parties are. The department's spokesperson notes that fines and penalties for violations are generally steep. He notes that they're that way to keep all parties honest and the city's buildings safe.
One of perhaps the scariest and most fatal instances that can occur aboard an elevator is for its cables to break and for the car to fall quickly from a high floor all the way down a shaft. This would undoubtedly result in crippling injuries or death. A Queens personal injury attorney can explain what course of action you may want to take if you have been injured in a poorly functioning elevator or lost a family member in one.