China / Society

Guangdong boosts elevator and escalator rules

By Li Wenfang in Guangzhou (China Daily) Updated: 2012-10-31 08:11

Reforms aimed at improving safety measures for elevators and escalators, covering maintenance levels, and providing for compensation to accident victims are bearing fruit in Guangdong.

The government of the southern province launched the measures in Dongguan and Guangzhou on a trial basis in May, said Ren Xiaotie, director of the Guangzhou Administration of Quality and Technology Supervision.

Ren said the reforms were spurred by the fact that Guangdong has the largest number of elevators and escalators among all provinces, and also by the provincial government's aim to transform its role.

There were 359,300 elevators and escalators in Guangdong at the end of 2011, and the number has been rising at the rate of about 20 percent annually.

A key area of the reforms is to identify the party with the right to operate the equipment as the one to take initial responsibility for safety.

This was not clear previously, when the operation of an elevator or escalator involved the owner, the users, property management and technical management parties, who may evade their responsibilities after an accident.

Ren said: "It is like (the situation) after a plane accident, where the affected passengers claim compensation from the airline company, not the plane manufacturer or the maintenance company."

By mid-September, contracts had been signed authorizing the use and management of 20,896 elevators and escalators in Guangzhou and Dongguan.

With a clear level of responsibility, operators of elevators and escalators are looking for better-qualified maintenance companies, instead of inferior ones offering low charges.

Under the reform measures, elevator maintenance is included in after-sales service by the manufacturers, who are encouraged to undertake maintenance work or authorize other companies to do so.

Manufacturers account for only 20 percent of the maintenance market in China, while in some Western countries they comprise 80 percent.

By mid-September, about 70 percent of newly registered elevators and escalators in Guangzhou and Dongguan were being maintained by manufacturers or their agents.

When a related regulation is passed by the provincial people's congress, the reforms will be expanded into the rest of Guangdong, Ren said.

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