Safety Inspectors Shut Down 107 Elevators in Oklahoma

January 6, 2009

Citing safety hazards, Oklahoma Labor Department officials report that more than 100 elevators in the state have been shut down.

Safety Standards division director Tom Monroe says 107 elevators were closed in the last fiscal year. And he says some of the elevators were so dangerous that only “by the grace of God” no one had been killed.

He says inspectors found one case of a forklift rigged to work like an elevator.

Monroe says the problem is so large because until 2006 there was no law requiring elevators be licensed and inspected – although Oklahoma City and Tulsa have their own inspection programs.

So far, the state has inspected more than 1,000 elevators and similar devices such as escalators and wheelchair lifts, but Monroe said inspectors believe that number may be just half the elevators and other devices in the state.

The division also licenses elevator contractors, mechanics and inspectors. Seven accidents were reported to the safety standards division in 2007-08.

The Oklahoma City inspection program oversees about 3,000 elevators and other lifts, and shut down between 10 and 15 of them in the last year, inspector Jim Burrell said.

Inspection fees are set up so the city division covers its own costs. The Labor Department’s elevator fund also is supposed to be self-sufficient, but the gap between the program’s costs and revenue for the 2008 fiscal year was more than $275,000.

Information from: The Oklahoman,

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