Interior - Elevator

Elevator Injures Nanny

As we talked about in this article, elevator injuries are incredibly rare. However, the rarity of an event only serves to make a tragedy more upsetting if and when it does occur. Last week, a 62-year-old nanny was seriously injured when an ad hoc elevator, which was installed illegally in a Manhattan apartment building, malfunctioned. The nanny was inside the Sutton Place elevator when the cords which hoisted it and held it in place severed, sending the elevator car plummeting to the basement. Trapped inside, the nanny plummeted four floors down as well. Upon impact, her spine, along with some other bones, were fractured. These injuries were treated at New York Presbyterian Hospital. They were classified as non-life threatening.

According to reports: “a Buildings Department source said the elevator was illegally installed in the 1940s and never registered with the department.”

Obviously, the elevator was shut down in the immediate aftermath of the accident. If it’s ever going to be up and running again, it will have to be lawfully registered and regularly inspected and maintained. Residents and bystanders had no comment on the elevator, though two repair men who were contacted for report said that they’d never previously worked on the elevator- not a good sign.

While this story may perpetuate a fear of elevators in people, the truth is that more “pedestrian” modes of ascension and descent, stairs and ramps, are drastically more dangerous. In this article, we’ll take a look at some elevator facts and safety recommendations. However, we’ll also talk briefly about how to maintain safe stairways and other inclined planes.

Elevator Quick Facts

  • Elevators were invented in the 1850s by Elijah Otis.
  • There are almost 1 million residential, commercial and industrial elevators in the U.S.A.
  • Elevators are divided into two main categories: freight (which haul large quantities and handle high tonnages) and passenger, which are responsible for transporting people.
  • These two types of elevators are powered by one of two types of propulsion: traction-driven and hydraulic-driven.
  • Passenger elevators average about 5 people per trip.

OSHA Elevator Safety Requirements

  • “Elevator landing openings shall be provided with doors, gates or equivalent protection which shall be in place when the elevator is not at that landing, to prevent employees from falling into the shaft.”
  • “The elevator’s or escalator’s maximum load limits shall be posted and not exceeded. Elevator load limits shall be posted conspicuously both inside and outside of the car.”
  • “Elevators shall be operated only by designated persons except for automatic or door interlocking elevators which provide full shaft door closing and automatic car leveling.”

OSHA’s Rules for Stairways

Here’s a paraphrasing of some of OSHA’s most important rules on stairway safety and maintenance:

  • Stairways must be installed at a minimum of 30 degrees and a maximum of 50 degrees “from the horizontal.”
  • “Variations in riser height or stair tread depth must not exceed 1/4 inch in any stairway system, including any foundation structure used as one or more treads of the stairs.” Meaning: stairs shouldn’t be irregular. Most people pace themselves and take stairs at a certain rhythm. One irregular step could cause a person to make a mistake and trip and fall.
  • A no-brainer: No nails, screws or loose pieces should jut out at any point on the staircase. Anything that can snag a loose piece of clothing or catch on the end of a shoe should be removed entirely.
  • Likewise: “Stair rail systems and handrails must be surfaced to prevent injuries such as punctures or lacerations and to keep clothing from snagging.”
  • Wetness or slippery conditions of any sort should be addressed immediately. Even small amounts of moisture can lead to a slip, and slips that occur at the tops of staircases can cause devastating injuries to the fallen party.
  • Guardrails must be able to hold up to pressure. In fact: “handrails and top rails of the stair rail systems must be able to withstand, without failure, least 200 pounds (890 n) of weight applied within 2 inches (5 cm) of the top edge in any downward or outward direction, at any point along the top edge.”

Kaplan Lawyers PC

Elevators may be more complex and intimidating contraptions, but standard stairs and ramps are statistically more dangerous overall. If you or a loved one have been injured in any way, it may be within your rights to sue. If negligence or incompetence was in play, you may be entitled to compensation that will offset some of the costs of your expensive medical bills and set your mind at ease as you recover from your injuries. Accidents of this type happen every day, and the knowledgeable and compassionate attorneys at Kaplan Lawyers PC have experience in all types of premises accidents. If you are unsure where to turn or want to learn more about your rights, contact Kaplan Lawyers PC. Our free consultations are an easy way to get started. Don’t hesitate – contact Kaplan Lawyers PC today.