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Elevator Death Brings Call for Licensing of Mechanics

Kips Bay, Manhattan

Elevator Regs

The Manhattan Promenade in Kips Bay, where a man was killed by a balky elevator (image via Google Maps).

Aug. 27, 2019

Many co-op and condo boards are scrambling to meet the deadline to install electronic door-lock monitors in their elevators by the end of the year. They will also have to install an emergency brake by January 1, 2027. 

But a tragic accident last week has brought urgent calls for even more safety regulations on the city’s 84,000 elevators, the New York Post reports. Sam Waisbren, 30, was crushed to death after the elevator dropped as he was exiting into the lobby of his apartment building, the 23-story Manhattan Promenade, at 344 Third Avenue in Kips Bay. 

In the aftermath of the gruesome accident, state legislators are urging Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign a bill passed in June that would require elevator mechanics to prove their qualifications before obtaining a first-ever elevator mechanic’s license

“It’s critically important that this gets signed into law,” says state Senator Diane Savino, who sponsored the bill in her chamber. “It’s important for the people who work on the elevators and the safety of [those] who ride on them.” 

“It won’t, unfortunately, change anything in terms of this recent tragedy,” bill co-sponsor state Senator Brad Hoylman says of the legislation. “But I think it shines a light on how something as commonplace as getting into an elevator can be a roll of the dice in some buildings.” 

An industry source tells the Post: “Most of the employers make sure their guys are trained, educated and experienced. But it makes sense if you need a license to hunt, to fish, to drive a car, to do somebody’s nails, you’d need one” to do something that affects the safety of millions of people every day. 

The New York Times reports the Manhattan Promenade was fined $1,300 in May after inspectors found a safety feature on one of its two elevators had been disabled or tampered with.

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