SINGAPORE: More than 17,000 lifts in public housing estates run by People’s Action Party (PAP) town councils will get new safety features, more than two years after a spate of lift accidents.
The safety features will be added over 10 years, but work will begin on 1,600 lifts across the PAP-run housing estates in the next 15 months, the 15 PAP town councils said in a press release on Monday (Jan 28).
New safety features include adding interlocking switches for door panels to ensure that lifts stop moving immediately if doors are open, and speed-monitoring and speed-reducing devices.
Other features range from intercom systems to “light curtains” as door protective devices.
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“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.
In 2016, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) recommended that existing lifts in Singapore be “modernised" by adding eight safety features.
The guidelines came after a spate of accidents involving lift malfunctions.
In October 2015, an elderly woman’s hand was severed by lift doors in a freak accident. In March 2016, another lift shot up 17 storeys, leaving a domestic helper trapped.
In May, an elderly man using a motorised wheelchair died from a fall when a lift stopped above ground level, causing his wheelchair to topple. 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.
READ: Lift owners encouraged to ‘modernise’ lifts after spate of accidents
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The Housing and Development Board (HDB) subsequently launched the Lift Enhancement Programme to help fund the costs of modernising older lifts in public housing estates. It covers lifts which do not have all of BCA’s recommended safety features and have operated for less than 18 years from the start of the Lift Enhancement Programme.
Under the S$450 million scheme, HDB will fund about 90 per cent of town councils' costs to install the recommended safety features.
The remaining town council, the Workers’ Party-run Aljunied-Hougang town council, said about 1,500 lifts in its estates will undergo the same lift enhancement programme over 10 years.
Work on the first batch of 180 lifts will begin over the next 15 months. "AHTC is also adopting BCA’s list of eight recommended safety features under this programme," the town council added.