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Wednesday, Jun 23, 2021

Ombudsman calls for tighter inspection of city’s lifts and escalators

Ombudsman calls for tighter inspection of city’s lifts and escalators

An investigation conducted by the Ombudsman has found the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) failed to make adequate supervision in the regulation of safe operation of lifts and escalators.
Ombudsman Winnie Chiu Wai-yin released and announced the findings of the independent probe into the EMSD’s regulatory regime for lifts and escalators on Thursday.

The report found inadequacies in the department’s practice, including not being able to target monitor the quality of routine maintenance of lifts and escalators in its inspection strategy, and have only carried out few site inspections examining aged lifts and escalators.

The report also pointed out the effectiveness of the guidelines for modernizing lifts and escalators issued by the EMSD is less than satisfactory.

“As at the end of 2020, only about 18 percent of aged lifts and 7.5 percent of aged escalators had undergone modernization works,” it wrote.

Chiu said Hong Kong has seen three serious accidents involving lifts and escalators in 2017 and 2018, with the relevant machines aged between 14 to 27 years, which shows they are improperly maintained.

The Ombudsman suggested that the EMSD increase the ratio of surprise inspections for a stronger deterrent effect.

The department is also suggested to review and improve the existing checklist for site inspections to set out items and tests to be covered in various inspections, establish specific and clear guidelines for inspection procedures.

Chiu also said the department should step up monitoring of periodic examinations of lifts and escalators including conducting more random checks on examination reports and examining more items during inspections, and to further promote modernization of aged lifts and escalators in Hong Kong.
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