BCA suspends use of faulty lift in Punggol

A faulty lift which continued to move even when one of its inner doors remained open has been suspended from operation by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).

The authority made the move last Saturday after residents of Block 114 Edgefield Plains complained about the two-door lift the previous day.

Businessman Ben Tng, 42, told The Straits Times he noticed the lift was faulty when he entered it while taking his son to school last Friday morning.

"I held on to my son tightly with one hand while I took a video with the other hand," said Mr Tng, who posted the video of his downward journey on Facebook.

He wrote that it took two hours for a team from the town council to arrive after he called the 24-hour hotline at 7.25am, adding: "Residents were worried about young children."

Last Saturday morning, BCA engineers examined the lift with representatives from Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council and the lift contractor, and stopped it from operating.

In a statement yesterday, the BCA said the lift will not be running until further investigation is carried out in the interest of public safety.

As a safety precaution, it will also conduct checks on the lifts at other blocks within the vicinity.

A spokesman said: "The (Pasir Ris-Punggol) town council is required to appoint an independent authorised examiner (AE) to inspect, test and certify that the lift is safe for use. The lift will be allowed to resume operation only when BCA receives the AE report and is satisfied with the findings."

Lift safety in Housing Board blocks came under scrutiny last October when Madam Khoo Bee Hua, 85, had her left hand severed by the doors of a lift in Block 322 Tah Ching Road.

An investigation report on the incident found that there was nothing wrong with the lift. The BCA said the dog leash that was looped around Madam Khoo's left wrist was too narrow for sensors to detect and reopen the doors. 

As the lift went up, the leash could have pulled her hand through a gap in the doors, and the hand was severed before the lift could come to a halt.

Regarding the lift in Edgefield Plains, Mr Tng said he is especially concerned because there are many young families in the estate and many students go to school on their own.

"I hope they take preventive measures to stop this from happening again," said Mr Tng.


Additional reporting by Chew Hui Min

This article was first published on Jan 25, 2016.
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