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How Safe Is Your Lift?

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  1. #1

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    How Safe Is Your Lift?

    Those who have apartments in old Chinese walkup buildings might be forgiven for probably feeling a little safer this week than those living in some of the taller older buildings with lifts. Humping up to 5 sets of stairs is normally not so much fun.....

    Rust found on lift cables that snapped in North Point
    Services suspended on three more lifts, all maintained by the same company, as government engineers race to finish safety inspections
    Monday, 04 March, 2013, SCMP
    Johnny Tam and Phila Siu

    Rust was found on all four cables of a lift that plummeted to the ground on Saturday night, injuring seven people.

    It had been maintained by Shineford Engineering and government engineers are scrambling to conduct safety checks on 248 other lifts the firm serviced. So far they have found rust on three other lifts to the extent that services had to be suspended.

    The lift in a commercial building at 480 King's Road, North Point, fell to the ground when all four cables snapped after it had passed the first floor going up.

    The seven injured - aged 30 to 82 - were still in hospital last night. One of them, an 82-year-old man, was in critical condition. Another was in serious condition and five were stable.

    Alfred Sit Wing-hang, deputy director of regulatory services at the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, said the department had inspected 38 of the 248 lifts that are maintained by Shineford. The cables of three were about 10 per cent narrower because they had rusted.

    "They are not rusted to an extent that they would break, but they need to be replaced," he said. One was in the building where the accident occurred. The other two were in Kwun Tong.

    The department has sent 20 staff in four to five teams to inspect the lifts, and Sit hoped the checks would be completed in one or two days.

    Sit said there were signs of rust on the four cables of the lift that crashed on Saturday. He said the department would conduct a laboratory test on the cables and find out why they broke.

    He said Shineford had told the department that the four cables were replaced one or two years ago. "But we totally cannot accept the fact that cables that were replaced one or two years would break," Sit said.

    Patrons of a restaurant the lift served said it had not operated smoothly for years and many patrons dared not take it. The lift was boarded off yesterday.

    The department has no plans to inspect every lift across the city because the accident was a "very rare" one, Sit said.

    But after the department finishes the probe into the accident, the department would pass the report to all lift maintenance contractors. The department will then discuss with the contractors to see how maintenance can be improved, he added.

    According to the latest contractors' performance rating report issued by the department, Shineford scored only 69 out of 100, ranking 29th among 36 registered contractors.

    The department described the performance as disappointing. Two lifts maintained by Shineford were reported to have equipment failure last year.

    One incident in September occurred in the Kwun Tong Industrial Centre, when a defective electrical component caused a fire. The other was in June, when a mechanical problem caused passengers to lose their balance.


  2. #2

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    With the number of lifts in the territory, I'm surprised it doesn't happen more often. Also, I don't buy the "rare" comment -- we've only been here less than a year and its already happened once.

    dear giant likes this.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by chris_yang22:
    I don't buy the "rare" comment -- we've only been here less than a year and its already happened once.
    That isn't really how statistics are calculated. If you went for a swim on your first day in Hong Kong and got attacked by a shark would you say that shark attacks happen every day in Hong Kong as you've only been here one day and it has already happened?
    Mat, jgl, SiuMaiTaiTai and 1 others like this.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by chris_yang22:
    Also, I don't buy the "rare" comment -- we've only been here less than a year and its already happened once.
    Amazing logic there.
    Mat and HowardCoombs like this.

  5. #5

    Lifts falling due to cable failure, anywhere in the world, makes headlines in print. I can't say I have heard of this happening often anywhere and should be rightly highlighted and investigated.

    dear giant likes this.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by rathunt:
    That isn't really how statistics are calculated. If you went for a swim on your first day in Hong Kong and got attacked by a shark would you say that shark attacks happen every day in Hong Kong as you've only been here one day and it has already happened?
    I was going to say the same thing, but (surprisingly!) decided to refrain from taking the cheap shot...

    I'm sure Chris didn't mean to make a statistical argument based on a single occurrence--clearly he meant to include those incidents that had occurred prior to his arrival as well.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by walkup:

    It had been maintained by Shineford Engineering and government engineers are scrambling to conduct safety checks on 248 other lifts the firm serviced. So far they have found rust on three other lifts to the extent that services had to be suspended.

    Alfred Sit Wing-hang, deputy director of regulatory services at the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, said the department had inspected 38 of the 248 lifts that are maintained by Shineford. The cables of three were about 10 per cent narrower because they had rusted.

    "They are not rusted to an extent that they would break, but they need to be replaced," he said. One was in the building where the accident occurred. The other two were in Kwun Tong.

    According to the latest contractors' performance rating report issued by the department, Shineford scored only 69 out of 100, ranking 29th among 36 registered contractors.

    The department described the performance as disappointing. Two lifts maintained by Shineford were reported to have equipment failure last year.

    One incident in September occurred in the Kwun Tong Industrial Centre, when a defective electrical component caused a fire. The other was in June, when a mechanical problem caused passengers to lose their balance.
    [/I]
    Cheap shots should definitely be refrained from.
    If the sample of 38 lifts tested out of 248 are representative and out of that 38, 3 were found to be faulty, that is a near 8% problem rate and potentially ~20 dodgy lifts out of 248. For this company that is an unacceptable situation. On the other hand I suspect that incidents of this type are more liable now that we are in the Year of the Snake.
    dear giant likes this.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by walkup:
    Cheap shots should definitely be refrained from.
    If the sample of 38 lifts tested out of 248 are representative and out of that 38, 3 were found to be faulty, that is a near 8% problem rate and potentially ~20 dodgy lifts out of 248. For this company that is an unacceptable situation. On the other hand I suspect that incidents of this type are more liable now that we are in the Year of the Snake.
    Pretty sure you can't say that people should refrain from cheap shots and then go on to say that lifts cables are more likely to rust and snap now because we are in the year of the snake. I mean what if the lift inspector is a Sagittarius and he is checking the cable when the moon is in the fourth quadrant, would that heightened attention to detail counteract the Snakes hold on the rust?

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by rathunt:
    Pretty sure you can't say that people should refrain from cheap shots and then go on to say that lifts cables are more likely to rust and snap now because we are in the year of the snake. I mean what if the lift inspector is a Sagittarius and he is checking the cable when the moon is in the fourth quadrant, would that heightened attention to detail counteract the Snakes hold on the rust?

  10. #10

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    Ha!

    Sent from my HTC Wildfire S A510e using GeoClicks Mobile


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