MANILA, Philippines – There are no statistics to show it, but regular news items on accidents due to faulty elevators and escalators—in malls, train stations, and construction sites—suggest that it is a growing public safety concern.
In February 2012, a 7-year-old boy figured in an escalator accident at the Puregold mall in Caloocan City. Felix Aparehado was playing near the escalator when he tripped and his arm got caught in the escalator belt. The mall owners paid for the surgery that saved his arm.
“For the past recent years, accidents which caused death, physical injuries and mental trauma to elevator and escalator passengers have increased,” said Lanao Del Sur Rep Mohammed Hussein Pangandaman, author of House Resolution 2228 calling for a congressional inquiry to make way for standards in installing, maintaining and operating elevators and escalators. (Congress resumes session in May.)
The death of “elevator boy” Jorex Jacob in October 2008 is the most sensational. According to reports, he was caught in the roll-up door of the 3rd floor elevator of Manila’s King Plaza condominium.
In January 2011, the escalator accident at the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) also raised public safety concerns. Two MRT commuters were seriously hurt and 10 others sustained minor injuries when one of MRT’s escalators suddenly stopped, causing people to tumble forward.
In October 2010, 3 people were also injured in an elevator accident at the Lansbergh Place condominium along Tomas Morato in Quezon City. From the 9th floor, the elevator fell to the ground floor.
Similar accidents in construction sites tend to be more fatal.
In January 2011, 10 people died in the notoriously called “Makati Elevator Tragedy” due to overloading. According to reports, a make-shift elevator was carrying 3 construction workers from the 27th floor when it stopped at the 17th floor to accommodate 8 more passengers.
“The resulting excess weight has caused the cable to snap and the lift to fall from the 10th floor,” said Pangandaman. The elevator was only meant to carry 3 people at a time.
In May 2010, four workers also died at the construction site in West Insular building in West Avenue, Quezon City. The building’s elevator fell on the workers.
Pangandaman hopes that a congressional inquiry would compel companies to set higher safety standards. – Rappler.com