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Outcry against coroner’s comments asking for residents to be precise in reporting lift faults

In a Straits Times report, “Coroner urges residents to be precise and prompt when reporting lift faults following Pasir Ris tragedy”, dated 29 December, it was said that Coroner Marvin Bay had urged residents to be “precise, prompt and thorough” in reporting lift faults in his findings into the death of an elderly man who died as a result from injuries sustained while exiting a malfunctioned lift.

The accident occurred in Lift A at Block 247, Pasir Ris Street 21 at around 10.30 am on 15 May 2016. Two other residents also took the lift with Mr Lim. He entered the lift on the 11th floor and sat with his back facing the lift doors. When the lift reached the ground floor, Mr Lim exited by reversing his motorised wheelchair out of the lift.

However, as the lift was 13 centimeters above the ground, Mr Lim fell backward as he reversed out of the lift, hitting his head on the ground. He was then brought to the hospital conscious by his daughter. Mr Lim was found to be bleeding inside the skull and his condition deteriorated while awaiting transfer to the Surgical High Dependency Unit. He died the following day.

Coroner Bay stated that in his findings, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) had uncovered six mislevelling incidents involving the lift between December 2015 and March 2016. Fortunately, no one was injured in these earlier incidents. The problem was either corrected with built-in recovery mechanisms or rectified after a technical repair.

The coroner also said that estate management and lift repair personnel should also play their part in presuming that the calls they get about lift faults are genuine and deserving of further investigation, even if the fault is not immediately evident when the lift is inspected.

Many people commented on the statement by Coroner Bay, saying that he should not put the blame on the residents.

Wilson Ong wrote, “Suddenly everything is public responsibility, lift spoil need resident report and not town council maintain. power la. Only when catching tailgaters got new technology and sensors but safety don’t have sensors.”

Richard Tan wrote, “It used to be train fault, signal fault, track fault, power fault, now it is also residents’ fault. Not bad.”

Leonard Low wrote, “The way the headline reads it is like it was due to residents not reporting correctly that caused the lift to mislevel and accident to occur. Like that also can ah?”

Patrick Tan wrote, “Oh ok!! It’s not the fault of the town council and the lift maintenance company. It’s the fault of the residents. I believe if it happened in the constituencies from the Workers Party. It definitely will be their fault. Got it!! Thanks a lot!!”

Andy Fong wrote, “We urge authorities to wake up their ideas. Sensors could be in place to detect a fault and raise alarm. Just because the technician did not detect the fault during their checks, it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. How can they dismissed it as a prank call? What if your own mother dies from a preventable accident because of irresponsible vendors are going thr motion on checks. When a fault is reported and non reproducible by them, they should realise their tools for diagnostic of technical issues are limited and implement processes to investigate on repeated reports on the same lift.”

Roy Low wrote, “Residents are not professionals . How to be “precise, prompt and thorough”? Bring vernier calipers to measure how bad is the “mislevelled” situation? Or Mr bay meant use a measuring tape , then check at eye level to prevent parallax error ar?”

Jaxon Lee wrote, “Clearly there is a lack of safety mechanism here. It’s not even that difficult. Just a simple sensor to detect the lift is level.”

Ian Tan wrote, ‘Resident’s fault then? 13 cm is pure negligence on the part of maintenance. Residents are not responsible for the mechanical maintenance of lifts!”

Anna Hand wrote, “”Coroner Marvin Bay has urged residents to be “precise, prompt and thorough” in reporting lift faults following an incident in which an elderly man died while riding a mobility scooter out of a lift.
Eerrhhh Bay should similarly have urged the TC and lift personnel etc to be  precise, prompt and thorough” in investigating, rectifying and monitoring and should also have recommended that mechanisms be put in place to ensure the lift doors do not open if the lifts are mislevelled outside of tolerance and safety limits or at least a warning alarm is sounded when such mislevelling occurs.”

Samsul wrote, “So sad. Resident’s fault. I’m a resident of another estate but I feel for the resident where this tragedy happen. Suck up our money for maintenance, still residents kena arrow. So sad.”

Edwin Tow Yang Heng wrote, “Very sad for the man and his family. Many of us have elderly folks at home, and we can feel the same anguish and worry, and indeed will warn our elderly parents and also look out for elderly folks around us, especially in our ageing society. Another thing, though, is the headline. Was that the coroner’s main focus, that the key thing is residents shd be more precise? From the article itself, seems that the coroner had emphasised quite a bit on the need of the maintenance side to up their vigilance and follow-up, even if the reported fault was not immediately obvious. Shdn’t that aspect be captured in the headline too?”

Chin Wei Liong wrote, “An elevator is supposed to function as a proper elevator. Period! If it fails to stop properly or “mislevelling” even for one time only, it is still a faulty elevator. It should be thoroughly investigated and all sensors must be checked and replaced immediately. How can it he dismissed as prank calls. Lives are at stake here.”

Darren Potter wrote, “Sorry Mr Bay I think you have got this one wrong. One report could be dismissed as a prank, but six? At the least there should have been proper diagnostics done. I’d be talking to a lawyer if I was this family.”

Yeng Peng Lim wrote, “Precise and prompt? You know your lifts here can get “chronic issues” too. It malfunction even after repair. No joke. Yes, Pasir Ris.”

Ah Kee Kee wrote, ‘HDB used to have estate inspectors. So now no more? Only residents to make prompt and accurate reports? So Town Councils and HDB just sit in their bums and play mutual cunts?”

Sharon Tay wrote, “This is just crap. If this incident took place in States, we would probably see headlines “Family of deceased sue Town Council for lift fault”.”

Maggie Qiqi wrote, “Best is to provide a mobile phone number so residents can take a picture and send via Whatsapp. Please, tell us what is the correct way of reporting? A picture speaks a thousand words.”