All escalator contractors to register with BCA; new rules for lift contractors

Shoppers taking the escalators at Beauty World Shopping Centre. The BCA has unveiled a new monthly maintenance regime for public passenger lifts and escalators in the wake of a recent spate of accidents.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has unveiled a new monthly maintenance regime for public passenger lifts and escalators in the wake of a recent spate of accidents.

Starting from July 25, any incidents involving death or injuries to passengers, or malfunction of safety critical components must be reported to BCA as soon as possible.

BCA's Chief Executive Officer, Dr John Keung emphasised that "lifts and escalators are widely used in Singapore and it is therefore imperative that we continue to review the regulatory requirements of lifts and escalators to enhance their safety."

While 18 out of 20 maintenance requirements for lifts are already legislated, the two new measures will ensure that lifts only move when the doors are closed, and that lifts stop within 10mm of the ground.

Existing measures include checking for oil or grease contamination on lift parts such as brakes, and the proper tension for ropes with no sign of excessive wear and tear, BCA said in a statement today.

Read also: Elderly man dies after toppling over lift gap in Pasir Ris

Escalators will also be regulated under a regime similar to public lifts, with permits required to operate them, and a monthly maintenance requirement.

The 10 specified maintenance outcomes for escalators include checks on safety switches and sensors, handrails, and the emergency stop switch.

The existing certification system for lifts will be replaced by a Permit to Operate (PTO) system, with an annual renewal requirement after they pass safety inspections. This measure will also apply to escalators.

Read also: Boy's toes get caught in escalator near Toa Payoh HDB Hub

Existing certificates under the old regulations will be valid until their expiry date, BCA added, after which a permit is required.

The new lift maintenance regime takes effect from July 25, while the final deadline for all escalators to get a permit is Jan 31, 2018.

Escalator contractors will be given a grace period until Nov 1 to register with BCA. Thereafter, escalator owners can only hire registered escalator contractors for their monthly maintenance.

Read also: Ang Mo Kio lift shot up 17 floors, trapping a maid

Lift operators must display the permit conspicuously within each lift from Sept 1, 2017, while escalator permits must be displayed prominently from March 1, 2018.

Those who flout the lift requirements may be prosecuted and fined up to $5,000.

Emphasising that lift and escalator safety is a shared responsibility, BCA reminded the public to be vigilant and practice safe habits when using them.

Lift and escalator owners, which include Town Councils, should take public feedback seriously and rectify any issues promptly, said BCA.

Read also: Lift accidents

"BCA will not stop here. For the next phase of review, we will continue to work with international experts and the industry, to roll out more measures and ensure a more robust system for lift and escalator safety in Singapore," Dr Keung said.

"We hope that the overall maintenance standards of lifts and escalators will improve through the tightening of the maintenance regime."

grongloh@sph.com.sg

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