Preventing Elevator Accidents–Things that You Can Do


Manhattan’s Borough President Scott Stringer has done a study showing that public housing has a poor record of passing elevator inspections.  Elevator malfunctions are a regular occurrence in New York City Housing Authority buildings.  The New York Times stories of September 26 and 27, 2008, are here and here.

   Arlene Williams, an NYCHA tenant testified that she was injured when she fell down stairs in April.  She took the stairs because the elevator was out of order.  This is a common complaint that we have heard from our clients who have been injured on staircase falls in NYCHA buildings.

In fiscal 2008 NYCHA has had an incredible 43,762 failures regarding its 3,337 elevators.

Here are some things that you can do to prevent an elevator accident:

  • Report a problem to your  building and “311.”  The building management should be told of the problem so that there is a record showing that it was placed on notice.  This is necessary for a lawsuit.  I would recommend a call to the City’s 311 number for NYCHA tenants as well as tenants with regular elevator malfunctions.  A 311 complaint will result in a Building Department complaint.
  • Be careful on either either entering or leaving an elevator.  The typical elevator accident is a tripping incident where the elevator mislevels with the floor.
  • If you must take the stairs, be careful.  Many of our clients have had falls on the stairs when the elevator was not working.  Be careful on the stairs which may have litter and foreign substances.  Be sure to use the handrails.

If you have had an elevator accident, please feel free to call us at 800-581-1434.

Mark E. Seitelman, 9/27/08, www.seitelman.com.

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3 Responses to Preventing Elevator Accidents–Things that You Can Do

  1. […] many tenants take a chance in taking an elevator which may or may not work.  See our prior posts, “Preventing Elevator Accidents–Things that You Can Do” and “Many NYCHA Elevator Staff Moonlight for Private […]

  2. Christie Fox says:

    If the elevator you’re in malfunctions and starts to drop you should:

    First – Quickly press all the different levels of buttons in the lift. When the emergency electricity supply is being activated, it will stop the lift from falling further.

    Second – Hold on tight to the handle (if there is any). It is to support your position and prevent you from falling or getting hurt when you lost your balance.

    Third – Lean your back and head against the wall forming a straight line. Leaning against the wall is to use it as a support for your back/spine as protection.

    Fourth – Bend your knees . Ligament is a flexible, connective tissue. Thus, the impact of fractured bones will be minimised during fall.

    • Thank you, Ms. Fox, for your excellent instructions.

      The most frequent elevator accidents involve tripping on getting in or getting out of the elevator due to a mislevelling.

      The second most common accident involves a door closing on a client.

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