After a series of lift accidents between 2015 to 2016, over 17,000 lifts in public housing estates run by People’s Action Party (PAP) town councils will receive new safety features.
Work will begin on 1,6000 lifts across PAP-run housing estates in the next 15 months, said 15 PAP town councils in a statement on Monday. These new safety features will be rolled out to all the other lifts over the course of 10 years.
Some of these features include interlocking switches for door panels to ensure that lifts stop moving immediately if door open, and a speed-monitoring and –reducing devices.
“This is part of the PAP town councils’ long-term plan to improve on system efficiency, ensure compliance with codes and standards, and safety enhancements,” the press release said.
Back in 2016, the Building Construction Authority (BCA) recommended eight safety features to be added to existing lifts in Singapore to ‘modernise’ them. This came after a series of accidents caused by lift malfunctions.
In October 2015, an elderly woman’s hand was severed by lift doors, while in March 2016 different lift shot up 17 storeys, leaving a domestic worker trapped inside.
In May 2016, a lift stopped above ground level causing an elderly man in a motorised wheelchair to topple over, killing him. And just a month later, a 59-year old woman injured her spine when the lift she was in shot repeatedly between the ground floor and 12th floor.
Following these incidents, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) launched a Lift Enhancement Programme to help fund the cost of modernising older lifts in public housing estates. The programme covers lifts which have operated for them than 18 years from the start of programme and does not have all of BCA’s recommended safety features.
The S$450 million scheme will fund about 90% of the town councils’ cost of installing the safety features.
Since June 2017 and 2018, the PAP-held town councils increased their Service and Conservancy Charges (S&CC) at a total sum of $1 to $17. The town council spokesperson said that the increase is to keep up with rising maintenance costs, including cleaning and pest and vector control.
It is unknown if the opposition held wards are making similar moves.