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Wednesday, July 29, 2015, 14:18

Escalator safety becomes major issue in China

By Xinhua
Escalator safety becomes major issue in China

This sceenshot of a footage online shows that e mployees tries to haul a child to safety after his mother pushed him away from the gap at the top of a department store escalator in Jingzhou city, Hubei province. ( Photo / IC)

BEIJING - An increasing number of aging elevators and escalators with safety hazards need to be reviewed, a spokesperson of the Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) of China said.

Almost five out of a hundred elevators and escalators have been found unsafe, according to AQSIQ data. Of the problematic 111,000 elevators, 79,000 have been repaired and supervision will be reinforced in the second half of the year.

A great number of elevators built after 2003 are reaching the end of their service life, making safety a bigger issue, he said.

"What's most troubling is that it's not clear who are responsible for aging elevators in residential property," he said. "There's no money available to repair them."

With rapid urbanization, the number of elevators and escalators has been increasing by 20 percent every year and the trend will likely continue. While the accident rate has actually declined thanks to the rising amount of new equipment, casualties have remained stable since 2003.

Of the 49 accidents last year, 21 were caused by misuse of passengers and eight were due to equipment failure. Poor maintenance is a major issue caused partly by price competition in the maintenance business, which has lowered the quality of the service.

The AQSIQ has required a transparent competitive environment for elevator maintenance firms and asked manufactures to provide maintenance services after sales.

The AQSIQ will also revise the items on barriers of entry for companies in the elevator industry and promote platforms such as hotlines to deal with emergencies.

The spokesperson also suggested the elevator liability insurance be in place to compensate victims.

A chain of elevator and escalator accidents have raised public concern in recent days. In Jingzhou, Hubei Province, a woman was killed after falling through a gap in an escalator. Footage on the tragic scene went viral online.

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