An 85-year-old East Harlem resident suffered from severe injuries after his legs were crushed in an elevator accident in 2012. The man was rushed to Harlem Hospital where doctors said he suffered from fractured bones in his legs and was listed in critical condition. After neighbors called 911, firefighters who responded to the accident found the man lying in the elevator’s cab while his legs dangled between the first and second floors. Firefighters had to use airbags and other mechanical devices to free the elderly man. Investigators speculated that the elevator malfunctioned and began to move between floors with the doors still open, causing the 85-year-old man to fall between the gap.
The accident took place at the Wilson Houses on 105th Street, a public housing development run by the New York City Housing Authority. The housing agency is responsible for maintaining 3,300 elevators which serve approximately 400,000 residents. Tenants at the scene of the accident stated that the building’s elevators are constantly malfunctioning, causing them to climb as many as 20 flights of stairs to get to their apartments.
According to Consumerwatch, there are approximately 900,000 elevators in the United States. Each elevator serves 20,000 people on an annual basis. Every year, 27 people are killed in elevator accidents. In addition, 10,200 people are injured while riding elevators. There are several main causes of these accidents. First, many accidents are caused by pulley system malfunctions. When a pulley system fails, an elevator usually drops rapidly and suddenly, usually resulting in the elevator impacting the ground floor at a high rate of speed. Another common malfunction occurs when an elevator’s doors fail to close. As a result, people can fall down the elevator shaft or become crushed between the shaft walls and the elevator. In addition, faulty wiring can cause electrocutions. Moreover, when an elevator fails to properly align with the floor, people can suffer injuries associated with trips and falls. Many elevator accidents are often caused by lack of proper maintenance or repairs, which are sometimes made by unqualified personnel.
Over the past several years, several elevator manufacturers and maintenance companies have been responsible for various elevator accidents. For example, Abel Elevator made an elevator that contained faulty brakes which resulted in the death of a college student when the elevator crashed into the ground floor. Schindler Elevator manufactured an elevator that dropped suddenly and rapidly; the accident seriously hurt a woman who suffered from a long-term back injury. Otis Elevator manufactured a defective door detractor which causes elevator doors to open when they shouldn’t. Such a defect can lead to serious trips and falls when an elevator is misaligned with the floor. In addition, open elevator doors can lead to deadly falls down an elevator shaft.
Website Resource: Elevator Accident Blog