Wash. Elevator Mechanics Now Require Licensing

August 6, 2004

A new Washington law requires that people who install and maintain the more than 13,000 elevators statewide meet minimum training and experience requirements.

On July 1, the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) implemented the new law that sets specific training and experience requirements for mechanics who work on elevators, escalators, wheelchair lifts and other lift devices for people and cargo. Licensing requirements also have been set for contractors who sell elevator-installation, repair and maintenance services.

“While licensing mechanics and contractors provides an extra measure of protection for people who ride elevators, the greatest benefit of this law will be for people who work on them,” said Dotty Stanlaske, the state’s chief elevator inspector. She noted two people have been killed and three seriously hurt in Washington while working on elevators in the past four years.

By contrast, no passenger has been killed or seriously hurt by a public elevator in Washington in many years, although an eight-year-old boy was killed last month while riding alone in an unregistered elevator in his home in Skamania County.

Elevator mechanic and contractor licenses are already required in 15 states. Washington’s new licensing requirements were approved by the Legislature in 2003 and 2004, with support from L&I and the elevator industry.

The new law requires elevator contractors and mechanics to take a state exam unless they meet certain training and experience requirements.

Because licensing is new, mechanics and contractors can continue to work on elevators and other conveyances without a license until Oct. 1, 2004, as long as they qualify for a license and have submitted an application to L&I.

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